Rockwell CEO getting almost 16% raise in January

Moret becoming chairman in 2018

Rockwell CEO Blake Moret greets Foxconn officials before signing a memorandum of understanding.

Rockwell Automation chief executive Blake Moret will receive a nearly 16 percent increase in his base salary when he becomes chairman of the company in January, according to the Milwaukee-based company’s annual securities filing.

Rockwell CEO Blake Moret greets Foxconn officials before signing a memorandum of understanding.

Moret’s base salary will be $1.1 million, up from $950,000 currently and $600,000 before he became CEO in July 2016. His total compensation for 2017 was almost $6.3 million, up from nearly $3.9 in 2016 and roughly $3 million in 2015.

Rockwell announced in September that Moret would become chairman of the company’s board on Jan. 1, replacing former CEO Keith Nosbusch.

The company pointed to the new role as one of the considerations for the raise. Other factors included Rockwell’s practice of moving executives to competitive salaries over a two to three year period following a promotion and the company’s performance under his leadership.

Rockwell reported a 13.2 percent increase in net income and a 7.3 percent increase in revenue in fiscal 2017, the first year entirely under Moret’s leadership.

Moret also had to navigate three takeover bids from St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co. this year. Rockwell’s board turned down all three offers, including the final $225 per share offer. In rejecting the bid, Moret pointed to his belief in Rockwell’s current strategy and said the deal would “dampen, not enhance, the ability to grow in the evolving industrial automation and information market,”

“Bigger is not always better for driving growth and value creation,” Moret said at the time.

In turning down the deal, Moret was also walking away from a potential payday of at least $17.4 million based on his change-of-control agreement with Rockwell. BizTimes reported in November the payment would have been at least $8.8 million based on the company’s 2016 proxy statement. The increased total comes from the company’s latest filing and would have applied to a termination on Sept. 30.

Moret has also become more visible in the Milwaukee community. He spoke out in favor of Foxconn coming to Wisconsin and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Taiwanese tech giant in July. He’s spoken to the UW Board of Regents and the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Future Wisconsin summit about challenges in workforce development.

He was also behind Rockwell’s decision to donate $1.7 million to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to help get the new Connected Systems Institute started. The institute will likely also have backing from Microsoft and a number of other companies. It has since received $900,000 from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. in the form of a grant similar to those received by other clusters around water and power and controls technologies.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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