Barrett shareholder takes aim at executive compensation

Her efforts to shake up management continue

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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Kimberly Sherertz, the largest shareholder in Vancouver-based Barrett Business Services Inc., isn’t letting up on her move to shake up the firm’s management.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Sherertz said Barrett’s rules spelling out how executives will be compensated in case the company is taken over need to be changed “to conform with industry standards and best practices for the mutual benefit of BBSI’s management, its board and shareholders.”

Sherertz, who, along with other shareholders, launched a proxy battle on Nov. 21, also took aim at Barrett’s golden parachutes — lucrative payouts given to senior executives when a company is acquired by another firm, resulting in the loss of those executives’ jobs.

If control of Barrett changed hands, then its executives would be eligible for such a payout for three years after the deal closed, Sherertz said. That needs to change to reflect “industry norms,” Sherertz said.

Sherertz also said shareholders should be given a “say on pay” vote on executive salaries, which refers to a corporate rule that grants shareholders influence over executive compensation. If Barrett doesn’t make those and other revisions to its “Change in Control Agreements,” Sherertz said, then her shareholder group’s “anticipated slate of directors, if elected, would plan to review the existing agreements and consider all of its alternatives with respect to them.”

Sherertz is the widow of former Barrett CEO William Sherertz, 64, who died unexpectedly in January. She was appointed sole representative of the estate of her late husband. The estate owns roughly 25 percent of Barrett’s stock. Barrett provides human resource outsourcing and professional management consulting services. The company’s CEO is Michael Elich.

Barrett stock, which trades as BBSI, closed up 2.54 percent Wednesday, at $18.95 per share.