Office Depot. 

High-paid general counsel at major Florida companies were coming off a chancy year for personal compensation before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A year-over-year look at corporate filings completed this year with the Securities and Exchange Commission covered 10 top legal officers at companies based in the state, and they took an average 12% pay cut counting salary, bonuses and incentive pay.

The overall picture was pretty bleak for the GCs before COVID-19 ended the longest economic expansion on record.

The highest achievers were John Stipancich of Roper Technologies and David Bleisch of Office Depot, who walked home with 15% raises. Alberto de Cardenas of MasTec eked out a 2% bump. David Billing of asset manager Affiliated Managers Group and David Vetter of Tech Data saw no change in 2019 pay over the previous year.

The other five on the list were in negative territory, led by Michael Kneller of Landstar System, third-party logistics company based in Jacksonville. He took a 70% hit when he collected no bonus on his $300,000 salary compared with a $989,000 bonus the year before and $1.22 million the previous year.

This is a year-over-year guide to Florida general counsel pay based on corporate filings with the SEC.

This package comes with a bunch of caveats. Only 10 of 18 Florida general counsel have year-over-year comparisons because the list varies each year.

To start with, general counsel have to be considered key executives to be listed in compensation reports in annual proxy statements, and that varies year by year.

For instance, NextEra Energy’s Charles Sieving topped the latest annual compensation list for Florida GCs with the highest salary and highest bonus but wasn’t on the proxy statement two years running and has been on the job since 2008.

Companies absorbed by mergers drop off the list each year. Corporate officers move on and off a company list each year based of executive pay changes beyond the GC’s office, retirements and new hires, again eliminating comparisons. For Florida, the one-year dropout rate was 44%.

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