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Coal CEOs receive sizable compensation increases in 2013


Average compensation for CEOs of the major public coal companies increased to $4.3 million in 2013, according to an SNL Energy analysis of proxy and annual report data filed by 11 coal producers and coal-landholding companies, up from less than $4.2 million among the same companies in 2012. In another challenging year for coal markets, Seven of the 11 CEOs received a double-digit percentage increase in option-adjusted compensation in 2013 compared to 2012. James River Coal Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection April 7, did not file a proxy statement and was not included in the analysis.

At nearly $13.4 million in 2013, CONSOL Energy Chairman and CEO Brett Harvey remained the highest-paid coal company executive in 2013, receiving much of his compensation in the form of restricted stock awards.

“In April 1999, we went public and our size, in terms of market cap, is about 10 times what it was then,” Harvey said. “That’s good news for our shareholders, especially those who have been with us for a long time, and it’s good news going forward because these assets are timeless in terms of demand for energy, and they’re red, white and blue energy as well.”

Harvey received almost $1.8 million in benefits under the company’s retirement plans and about $2.4 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation, which includes cash incentives for meeting relevant performance measures during the year.

CONSOL’s stock price increased 18.5% from year-end 2012 to year-end 2013, one of just three coal companies in the analysis to boast an increase, joining Alliance Resource Partners and Natural Resource Partners. CONSOL’s net income grew 69.8% over the same period.

Stock price appreciation is among the factors companies typically link to executive compensation. Coal companies also typically consider the company’s adjusted EBITDA, safety record during the year and personal performance of a given executive in setting pay targets.

Peabody Energy Corp. Chairman and CEO Greg Boyce received the second-highest compensation, getting paid nearly $10.8 million in 2013, up 13.7% from the $9.5 million he was paid in 2012. The company said in a proxy statement March 25 that while the global coal sector faced significant challenges in 2013 with lower coal pricing and demand, its management team successfully completed owner-operator conversions at operations on time and on budget, improved productivity, maintained dividends to shareholders, and reduced debt. Peabody achieved total cost savings of $340 million in 2013.

Alpha Natural Resources Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield rounded out the top three, receiving the largest percentage increase among the CEOs. He received nearly $8 million in 2013, up 28.4% from the $6.2 million he received in 2012. The company said in a proxy statement April 7 that it surpassed its safety target and strategic objectives, which involved overhead cost reductions, operations improvement and environmental compliance. Alpha’s cost-cutting measures in 2013 paid off in the first quarter of 2014, when the coal producer soundly beat Wall Street expectations.

Rounding out the top five highest-paid coal executives were Arch Coal President and CEO John Eaves and Cloud Peak Energy President and CEO Colin Marshall.

Two of the four CEOs to receive pay cuts in 2013, Rhino Resource Partners LP’s David Zatezalo and Hallador Energy Co.’s Victor Stabio, are no longer CEOs of the companies.