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Staples CEO turns down $31,000 raise

Ronald Sargent, Staples CEOPhotograph by Lisa Poole — AP

Staples CEO Ron Sargent has turned down a 2.5% salary increase that the company’s board of directors had previously approved, according to information filed with the SEC after market close Wednesday.

The move comes as Staples (SPLS) revenue and profits have steadily eroded, with the retailer responding by announcing plans to close around 170 stores. Staples also experienced a major data breach that may have affected 1.16 million customers.

Staples stock has been on a bit of run over the past month, closing today at $17.33 per share. That’s down a bit from the one-year high of $17.98 per share just before Christmas, but well above the year-ago closing price of $13.89 per share.

For Sargent, turning down the raise will cost him around $31,230. Big money for someone working a Staples retail register, although just a drop in the bucket when compared to Sargent’s $1.29 million base salary and $10.77 million in total compensation for fiscal 2013. According to today’s filing, Sargent also has eliminated a “tax-gross up provision” in his existing severance agreement.

Staples has not yet issued any sort of statement on why Sargent declined the raise, which only would have been half of the 5% salary bump he received one year earlier.