Big raises for Idaho CEOs in 2014

There are 570 chief executive officers in Idaho, and the middle-range salary is about $107,000 a year. But that’s much less than Idaho’s publicly traded companies pay their top executives.

Men and women who run companies whose shares trade publicly on major stock exchanges are required to disclose their pay. Last year brought change to Idaho’s corporate landscape, with two of the highest-paid CEOs J. LaMont Keen of IdaCorp and Thomas E. Carlile of Boise Cascade — retiring or getting ready to retire and succeeded by lower-paid chief executives.

Compensation generally was much higher than in 2013, with several high-performing CEOs receiving double-digit raises. The median raise was 37 percent. The median Idahoan made $14.93 an hour last year, up 25 cents from a year earlier — a raise of 1.7 percent.

While CEOs of the biggest companies generally earned more than CEOs of small ones, there were exceptions. Hecla Mining’s Phillips Baker made more than twice as much as IdaCorp’s Darrel Anderson, whose company is more than twice as large. U.S. Geothermal’s Dennis Gilles made more than U.S. Ecology’s Jeffrey Feeler, even though U.S. Ecology’s revenue is nearly 15 times bigger.

Idaho has seven companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and their small-company sidekicks, the NYSE MKT (formerly the American Stock Exchange) and the Nasdaq Capital Market. That’s a steep reduction from a few years ago, as several have moved, been sold or gone bankrupt.

Intermountain Community Bancorp, of Sandpoint, merged with the Columbia Banking System of Tacoma, Wash., in November. MWI Veterinary Supply became a Boise-based subsidiary of Pennsylvania pharmaceutical company AmerisourceBergen in February.

Since 2012, Idaho has also lost paper maker Boise Inc. and Home Federal Bancorp to out-of-state buyers. Women’s clothing retailer Coldwater Creek has closed, and Coeur Mining has moved to Chicago.

Here are the seven CEOs, ranked by pay:

1 Mark Durcan, Micron Technology Inc.

Durcan’s pay in fiscal 2014 soared 66 percent to $11.4 million following a record-breaking year for the memory chip manufacturer.

Micron reported the highest net revenue, net income and operating cash flow in company history, spokesman Dan Francisco said. Revenue in the year that ended Aug. 28 was $16.36 billion, profits were $3.05 billion and cash flow from operations was $5.7 billion. Micron also reported earnings per share of $2.54, the highest since 2000.

The company continued to benefit from its 2013 purchase of bankrupt Japanese memory chip maker Elpida Memory Inc.

Three factors made up Durcan’s pay boost. His salary was increased $100,000 to $1 million. He received a $2.44 million cash bonus for meeting company objectives that included profitability. His long-term term incentives increased to $8 million from $6 million.

2 Thomas Carlile, Boise Cascade Co.

Carlile retired in March after 42 years, having returned Boise Cascade to public ownership in 2013. Carlile received nearly $5.7 million in 2014, up 67 percent from the year before.

Carlile’s biggest gain was in “other compensation,” which increased from $153,000 in 2013 to nearly $1.8 million because of a retention agreement that Carlile satisfied by remaining with the company for three years after signing. His stock awards doubled to more than $1 million.

Boise Cascade’s profits fell from $117 million in 2013 to $80 million in 2014, but that was due in part to accounting: The company had received a $68.7 million tax benefit in 2013 associated with converting into a public corporation.

Sales increased 9 percent to $3.6 billion, which the company attributed to an increase in single-family and multifamily housing starts.

3 Phillips S. Baker Jr., Hecla Mining Co.

Hecla returned to profitability in 2014, with $501 million in sales and $17.3 million in net income.

The company bore heavy expenses both years. In 2013, Hecla spent $28 million on resuming operations at a top silver-producing mine — the Lucky Friday in North Idaho — and on buying the company that previously owned what is now Hecla’s best gold producer, Casa Barardi in Quebec, Canada. In 2014, Hecla made a $55 million payment on its $263 million settlement to help clean up the Bunker Hill superfund site in Kellogg, which for decades produced silver and other metals.

Silver production rose last year to a record 11.1 million ounces, a 24 percent increase from 2013. Gold production increased 56 percent to 186,997 ounces.

Baker, who is also president, received $4.5 million in 2014. That was a 43 percent increase from 2013, when his compensation was docked for poor stock performance.

His pay raises came as stock and cash incentives based on a formula of performance measurements, including stock price and metals production.

4 Darrel T. Anderson, IdaCorp

Last year was Anderson’s first as CEO of IdaCorp, following the retirement of J. LaMont Keen in April 2014. The promotion drove Anderson’s 37 percent pay increase. But because of his lack of experience in the new role, Anderson’s total compensation for 2014 still was significantly below that of his peers, according to Idaho Power stock filings.

The company fared well in 2014. More customers needing to heat and cool buildings generated enough demand to offset lulls caused by 2014’s relatively mild temperatures. At year end, Idaho Power made $189 million, almost all of IdaCorp’s $193 million net income, continuing its slow-and-steady pace of income growth since at least 2012. Revenue rose, too, to $1.28 billion.

5 Dennis Gilles, U.S. Geothermal

It was a good year for U.S. Geothermal, which reported $11.6 million in profit in 2014. That was up from $1.9 million the year before, which was the first time the company made money.

Revenues increased 13 percent to $30.6 million in 2014 from the year before, a small gain compared with the previous two years, when the company completed its most productive energy plant — Neal Hot Springs in Oregon — and jumped from $2.3 million to nearly $27 million.

Since Gilles joined the company in 2013, the company has added to its portfolio of geothermal projects by buying low on sites with proven access to energy but where owners ran out of resources to finish projects. The company continued that strategy by buying Ram Power Corp.’s holdings in Northern California for $6.7 million. U.S. Geothermal also bought Earth Power Resources — which owned three potential projects in Nevada — and paid EPR’s shareholders in U.S. Geothermal stock.

U.S. Geothermal now owns and operates plants in Raft River, Idaho, Oregon and San Emidio, Nevada. It owns potential geothermal plant sites in the Republic of Guatemala, Oregon, Nevada and California.

Gilles saw his base salary increase from $375,000 to $410,000 in 2014, as was stipulated when he joined the company. His contract caps his salary there. His options awarded fell from about $443,000 in 2013, when he received stock options as part of a signing bonus, to $167,000, accounting for his overall compensation dropping 6 percent.

6 Jeffrey R. Feeler, U.S. Ecology

The haz-mat company grew by leaps in 2014. It had waste centers in Nevada, Washington, Texas, Idaho, Michigan and Quebec. Then in June, it bought EQ Holdings for $461 million, mostly financed through a loan.

Last year was the first full year in which Feeler was at the helm as CEO. He was promoted to that job in May 2013, after holding top positions with U.S. Ecology since 2006.

U.S. Ecology ended its year having more than doubled its revenues — from $201 million in 2013 to $447 million in 2014. Most of that growth came from the EQ acquisition.

Feeler and other top executives got base-salary raises and bonuses, largely because of the EQ acquisition and because the company is growing, U.S. Ecology told investors.

Despite that growth, just one executive — recently appointed to a top executive job — was awarded stocks or options. Those perks were based on factors including company performance, individual performance and compensation surveys, the company said. The lack of stocks and options led to a decrease in total compensation from 2013, when Feeler made more than $1.35 million overall and other executives made between $675,000 and $820,000.

7 Paul Dircksen, Timberline Resources

How does a company’s stock price fall from $756 a share in 2007 to 59 cents a share at the end of 2014? And how can its shares continue to trade on the stock market? Timberline Resources is an example of how to lose money while meeting all the technical requirements of a public company and while keeping 780 registered shareholders happy enough to hold stock.

Timberline Chief Financial Officer Randal Hardy told the Statesman last year that the company isn’t yet making money because it’s in the business of searching for gold, not yet tapping any veins.

“Exploration companies, much like bio-tech companies, generally rely upon equity financing for funding until a source of revenue is generated,” he said. Hardy confirmed this month that the company still has no revenues, is exploring, and remains listed on stock markets in the U.S. and Canada.

Timberline has sustained losses of $2.8 million to $7.2 million during the past three years. Its accumulated deficit was $45 million as of September.

Timberline was warned in April 2013 that its low share price threatened its ability to stay listed on the NYSE MKT (formerly the American Stock Exchange). The company did a stockholder-approved reverse stock split, which boosted its share price, putting its listing status on more steady ground for a while.

In February 2014, NYSE MKT officials again told Timberline that the company’s losses or its overall financial condition made Timberline noncompliant. But six months later, Timberline once again got on the right side of the exchange by acquiring Wolfpack Gold (Nevada) Corp. along with its cash and gold-exploration projects in Nevada.

Dircksen received a 31 percent pay increase in 2014, with his and other executives’ salary based in part on a report from a compensation consulting firm.

Other executives at the seven companies: