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CEO Didn't Think He Earned His Million-Dollar Bonus, So Here's What He Did With It

"I told them I wasn’t asking for their approval."

Image source: Plum Creek

'Tis the season for holiday bonuses — unless you decide to return it.

Image source: Plum Creek Image source: Plum Creek

That's what Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber CEO Rick Holley did when he decided to return 44,445 restricted stock units — worth a cool $1.85 million — because he just wasn't convinced he'd earned it. The amount of Holley's would-be bonus is based on the company's $41.80 per share stock value Thursday, according to Fortune.

"This has been a year where total shareholder returns are down 10 percent or more. It just wasn’t the right thing to do, Holley said.

Plum Creek Timber's shares hit an all-time low of just $39 in October. Meanwhile, revenue has remained about the same for about two years and the company is projected to report lower net earnings in fiscal year 2014 than in fiscal year 2013.

Even so, the company's board of directors was "surprised" by the CEO's decision, Holley said, but he told Fortune: "I told them I wasn’t asking for their approval. They had given these to me and I appreciated their confidence in me, but I didn’t feel comfortable taking them."

In the Securities and Exchange Commission filing reporting what had happened, the company said the bonus was meant as an incentive for Holley to remain in his current position, despite less-than-ideal economic conditions.

Mr. Holley elected to return the restricted stock units [on Dec. 12] because he does not believe that he should receive such an award unless Plum Creek’s stockholders see an increase in their investment return. Nonetheless, Mr. Holley remains fully committed to Plum Creek and intends to lead the company through this challenging and prolonged economic cycle," the statement said.

While the rare occurrence for a CEO to give up a bonus of any amount, he still took home more than $8 million in 2013 and currently owns about $11.8 million worth of stock in the company he runs. The Daily Mail reported that Holley also owns 1.9 million shares in Barclays bank, valued at approximately $6 million.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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