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NATICK, Mass. -- Herb Zarkin, the chairman and c.e.o. of BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. here received $4.44 million in compensation in 2006, including $524,034 for private jet flights to the company's headquarters and other BJ's locations, according to an SEC filing.
Zarkin, who came out of retirement to fill the top spot at BJ's, lives in Boca Raton, Fla.
"According to the company's strict policy, noncommercial air travel is authorized for the chairman of BJ's board of directors and c.e.o., as well as certain other key BJ's executives," the company said in a statement released to the Associated Press. "BJ's travel policies also require that on a quarterly basis, a full accounting of executive noncommercial travel expenses is presented to the board of directors of BJ's Wholesale Club for their review and approval."
The SEC filing said that in March the company's board adopted a policy "requiring, to the extent practical, that Mr. Zarkin travel by private aircraft for security, efficiency and productivity purposes."
Zarkin's travel expenses were accrued, since he spent nearly all of 2006 as BJ's nonexecutive chairman, a position requiring frequent trips to BJ's clubs and business events. Zarkin remained chairman after officially becoming c.e.o. in March. He had held the position of interim c.e.o. since November 2006, when former c.e.o. Mike Wedge resigned in the wake of sagging sales.
Zarkin's 2006 compensation also included a $625,961 salary and $612,071 in other compensation, most of it from the commuting expenses, according to the filing. Other items were $12,576 for an automobile allowance, and stock and option awards worth $3.2 million.
BJ's, with more than 20,000 employees, operates 173 warehouse clubs in 16 states, stretching from Maine to Florida, with the heaviest concentration in the Northeast.