Following a Dallas, Texas arbitration hearing, Hanley Wood Business Media has been ordered to pay a pair of former executives $2.9 million in unpaid bonuses, salary adjustments and severance pay.
The breach of contract suit was brought against the Washington, D.C.-based trade publisher by former Exhibitions division president Galen Poss and vice president Michael Green, who left the company last summer. The suit claimed that Hanley Wood failed to pay the men performance-based bonuses and salary raises that were agreed to as part of their employment contracts. It said Hanley Wood argued that the bonuses and raises were “discretionary.”
In his ruling, the arbitrator said the payments were mandatory and called for Hanley Wood to also pay Poss and Green 12 months of severance.
When contacted by FOLIO:, Hanley Wood CEO Frank Anton confirmed the ruling but declined to comment further. A spokesperson for the legal team that represented Poss and Green did not immediately return requests for comment.
UPDATE: "Obviously we’re pleased with decision," says Poss. "The last thing we wanted to do was leave Hanley Wood. It’s a company we have a lot of respect for and helped build a terrific business. But when the company refused to honor the terms of our contract, the only option we had to get paid was to leave."
Hanley Wood’s Exhibitions division reported a record year in 2008, generating more than $60 million in revenues and EBITDA of more than $40 million. But the economic recession had a significant impact on the division’s revenues last year. Through the first half, earnings and revenue declined by more than 10 percent.