This week, magazine publisher and TV station owner Meredith Corp. elevated Tom Harty from president of the company's National Media Group to president and chief operating officer, taking on oversight of the Local Media Group as well. That promotion seemed to put Mr. Harty in line to succeed Steve Lacy, 62, who must step down as CEO at the age of 65, per company policy. (Mr. Lacy, before taking the top job, also served as president and COO.)
According to Mr. Harty's new employment contract, filed Friday with the SEC, Meredith has set a "determination date" of Sept. 1, 2017, for his ascension to president and CEO:
If Harty is not promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company by September 1, 2017 (the "Determination Date"), Harty shall have the right to terminate his employment with the Company by giving written notice within ninety (90) days after the Determination Date, and such termination shall be deemed to be Termination Without Cause by the Company and treated in accordance of Section 8.2.
The "determination date" can be extended by up to 2 years if Meredith gives Mr. Harty written notice between 60 and 90 days before the date.
If Mr. Harty is not promoted to president and CEO, decides to leave the company, and is deemed terminated without cause, "Harty will receive a lump sum payment on or before the sixty-day anniversary of his termination equal to his Base Salary and Annual Management Incentive Plan target bonus for a period of twenty-four (24 months), minus applicable withholding and deductions," according to the contract.
A Meredith spokesman could not provide comment by deadline Friday evening.
In his new role, Mr. Harty, who joined Meredith in 2004, will have a minimum base salary of $800,000. He'll be eligible for a merit-based raise in July 2017. Jon Werther, who was tapped to replace him as president of the National Media Group, will have a minimum base salary of $600,000.
Mr. Harty's new contract sets strict guidelines on his relocation to Des Moines, Iowa, where Meredith is based. His house "in the Greenwich, CT area" must be listed for sale by Jan. 1, 2017, and an attempt to sell the house must be made "on or prior" to June 1, 2017. "Harty agrees to negotiate a sale in good faith and accept any objectively reasonable offer," according to his contract.