Home Depot has always been a “fun” kind of place, with merry, productive ‘orange-blooded’ workers busy making sales under the watchful eye of their extravagantly-paid CEO Robert Nardelli. So what if the company’s stock price was stagnant, and its same store sales lagging? So what if the company seemed fixated on beating out its blue rival, Lowe’s? Life was still “fun” at Home Depot. After all, the company had put behind it a gender discrimination settlement back in the 1990s that cost it over $104 million. But the high-roller, big-salary image of its CEO, Robert Nardelli, was creating a black-stain on the orange logo. With Nardelli’s recent ouster from the company, some things are changing internally. According to the New York Times, Home Depot’s new CEO, Frank Blake, “cut” his annual salary to a mere $9 million (25% of what Nardelli was being paid), and, the Times says, “to cheer up store employees… has distributed $3,000 to each store, called the fun fund and ordered employees to spend it within a year at their own discretion, on, for example, a holiday party or spontaneous outing.” If Blake gives all 2,042 Home Depot stores in North America a “fun fund,” the company will spend $6,126,000 on “spontaneous outings.” One Wall Street analyst called Blake, “politically astute.” One thing is certain: he knows how to spread “fun” throughout the company.
Local activists: Watch your area Home Depot closely for any signs of this “spontaneous outing.” It could happen anytime, anywhere — because it’s “spontaneous.” It could come in the form of a grant from your local store to help revitalize the downtown. It could be used to throw a party for all the neighbors who have to live near, and suffer through, the noisy, over-lit operations of the Home Depot store in their community. There may have been better things Mr. Blake could have spent the shareholder’s money on — like improved health care insurance for his workforce — but we’re sure Home Depot “associates” are going to throw one heck of a holiday party in your community. They’ll be painting the town orange, thanks to their fun-loving new CEO.