Home Depot Is Still Really Sorry That You Hate Them

It’s shareholder’s meeting time and Home Depot’s new CEO Frank Blake is running things a little differently this year. Last year’s shareholders meeting was something of a spectacle of oppression, NPR’s Joe Nocera describes last years meeting:

“He [Former CEO Robert "Big Bob" Nardelli] refused to answer a single question from shareholders, and had a timer count down from a minute, after which burly bouncers would walk towards them to drag them off the stage. I’d never seen anything like it in my life.”

This year’s meeting was, by Joe’s account, much more pleasant.

“The first thing Mr. Blake did when he got up on the stage was he apologized for last years meeting and he said it wouldn’t happen again.”

Home Depot is turning into JetBlue when it comes to constant apologizing. —MEGHANN MARCO

At Home Depot Meeting, a Tale of Two CEOs [NPR]
(Photo: cmorran123)

Comments

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  1. eldergias says:

    Mr. Blake, thank you for your apology.

    In return, I would like to apologize for your company sucking.

  2. timmus says:

    From Wikipedia: “Nardelli abruptly resigned on January 3, 2007 by mutual agreement with the company. His severance package was estimated at $210 million.”

    Holy fricking crap. How did this company agree to let him rob it?

  3. Brendoon says:

    I know its slightly off-topic, but I am curious who makes these severance package decisions? I mean I can’t believe the shareholders would give so much money away to a crappy CEO and I would think some board has to approve this stuff.

    I mean didn’t it occur to anyone that your CEO is leaving, and you want him gone, why suck up to him by giving him a truckload of money?

  4. B says:

    @Brendoon: The board members give CEO’s generous severance packages because 1) It’s not their money, and 2) he’s a friend of yours and 3) When he gets a job as CEO at some other company, they want him to put them on that board too.

  5. Buran says:

    @Brendoon: Oh, you mean the board that’s full of CEOs from other companies?

  6. mikyrok says:

    @Brendoon: @B: @timmus: A lot of that money was money that he had not recieved yet, but was promised to him when he left HP to go to Home Depot. It is not like oh well you sucked at your job here is $210mm to go away. Most of the $210mm was money he was supposed to get, and would get no matter what.

  7. Hawk07 says:

    Funny this gets posted today.

    I just got off the phone with my dad yesterday and he was venting his frustration with Home Depot and how you can never find anybody on the weekends to help you out. When and if you do find someone, they always have the same line, “I don’t know anything about the part, I’m not from that department”.

    I went into Lowe’s on Sunday morning around 9ish and the ratio of employees to customers was probably about 2:1. There were people in the blue vests everywhere plus they were a lot friendlier than HD people. Every single one of them said good morning and asked how I was doing.

  8. mopar_man says:

    The wife and I went to Home Depot here on Sunday to kill some time looking at home renovation stuff. We were there for probably an hour and a half. In that time, one person offered to help us. We were just looking around with no intent to buy anything at that time but they didn’t know that. The local hardware/lumber place is going to get my business (they were closed on Sunday) when it comes time to buy whatever it is I need. I’ve never had a problem at that place.

  9. iMike says:

    @Brendoon: The board decides. Board oversight of public companies is largely a sham.

  10. Shouldn’t the board members have been apologizing to the shareholders instead of the new CEO?

  11. foghat81 says:

    @mikeyrock: Exactly. The vast majority of this was agreed upon when he signed up in the first place. People at that level are similar to pro athletes. You sign a contract up front which may have some performance metrics in it, but there’s a large amount guaranteed no matter what.

  12. @mikeyrock, @foghat81: Right. The pro athlete comparison is apt. Where executives use the term “severance” is where an athlete would use the term “buy-out”. Boards of directors can’t just fire an executive when the executive has negotiated that kind of protection into their contract, and no high powered executive would work under a contract that didn’t have that protection. To return to the athlete comparison, it’s like an athlete saying, “You’re hiring me for my willingness to put my body on the line, but I can’t guarantee I won’t get hurt. I want money guaranteed if I do get hurt”; similar to a CEO’s saying, “You’re hiring me for my take-no-prisoners style, but I can’t guarantee that won’t get the company in hot water. I want money guaranteed if you feel you have to force me out.”

  13. axiomatic says:

    I have refurbished a few homes in my lifetime and I can tell you with the utmost certainty that both Lowe’s and Home Depot totally suck. Search the internet for instructions how to do things. You will be surprised how well a Google search succeeds in finding instructions for your task. Then buy the things where ever you get the best price. Under no circumstances should you ever let Home Depot or Lowe’s do contracting for you.

    Trust me on this one.

  14. Dibbler says:

    I like the Ryobi power tools at Home Depot. They work well for the weekend warriors without the hight price tag. The paint is better than other stores too. I would never buy lumber or building supplies from them though. They are more like a discount store than a lumber yard and the quality of the building supplies proves it.