Reverse allowances…

March 31, 2004

Usually, it’s dad who helps out Junior at most companies, steering business, signing a key contract or just providing a job. But at Stewart (STC) , the large title company, it’s the other way around, according to the recent proxy. The two co-chief executives, Stewart Morris Jr. and Malcolm Morris, who are first cousins, gave their respective fathers, Stewart Morris and Carloss Morris, hefty raises last year. The older Morrises, who are brothers, ran the company for years, before turning it over to their sons at the beginning of 2000. They’re listed as advisory directors, which means they attend board meetings, and provide advice, but aren’t able to vote. It’s not clear from the proxy how much time they devote to the company, which they took over when their father died in 1950. Last year, Stewart Morris received $471,001, a 53% increase over 2002. Carloss Morris received $443,440, a 45% increase over 2002. The really odd thing, though, is that while their dads got big raises, the two sons’ base salaries remained the same at $150,000. Even their variable bonuses only increased 28%, which is actually pretty modest, given that the stock nearly doubled last year.

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