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Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. Message Board

  • blue_devil_ninetynine blue_devil_ninetynine Aug 10, 2012 10:39 AM Flag

    Resignation or Termination?

    PacSun announced that their SVP of Mens Merchandising "resigned" and that he will be getting severance. I've worked in corporate America at senior levels for quite a while, and those two words just don't go together. Why would someone get severance if they are leaving to go take a different job? The only time someone gets a package for voluntarily resigning is if the company is trying to downsize and instead of doing layoffs, they offer incentives for people to leave, or perhaps retire early. However, that package is generally not called "severance"; it may be called an "early retirement incentive" or something of the sort. Also, those programs are generally not offered to senior execs, they are used to downsize at lower levels. I've seen the word "severance" used far more often to indicate the payment someone gets when they've just been let go. Occasionally, the individual is allowed to call it a resignation if they've had long tenure and it'll save them face, but it's still a termination.

    So in a nutshell, I don't think the SVP is leaving entirely of his own accord. The only way severance gets paid is if it's at PacSun's instigation. So either PacSun is trying to "rightsize" it's G&A by shedding an expensive exec and promoting a junior person only to VP, or they're terminating him based on business results (i.e. men's comps not doing as well as women's). I'd say the odds are slightly higher for the former (G&A right-sizing), just because it makes sense when combined with PSUN's store closings and their desire to be profitable at a smaller scale than they were before. It could certainly be the latter as well though.

    On a related note, it looks like PacSun timed the departure in such a way that the severance doesn't impact Q2 financials at all, but is early enough to be included in guidance for Q3 as a one-time non-operating item. Wise move.

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