Ex-GT Solar CEO gets $750k severance deal


Former GT Solar chief executive Thomas M. Zarrella will receive an almost $750,000 cash severance, according to a separation agreement disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Zarrella – who since 2004 had been chief executive of the Merrimack, N.H.-based supplier of equipment and materials to make solar cells – stepped down from the job on Oct. 28, to be replaced Tom Gutierrez. Zarrella signed the separation deal on Nov. 13.

The severance includes his annual salary of $425,000, paid out every two weeks throughout the year, plus a special payment of $350,000 and some $20,000 to reimburse his lawyers in connection with the departure and separation agreement. He also will be able to charge $400 an hour after the first 100 hours of consulting.

Although Zarrella’s leaving was “not a result of any disagreement with the company,” Zarrella agreed not to sue the firm, according to the disclosure.

Zarrella also will have to forfeit unvested options and restricted stock units, but he will be able to cash in vested options in the next 60 days. He will still be able to hold on to his common stock as well as his holdings in GT Solar Holdings, the LLC that controls most of GT Solar’s stock.

According to the last proxy statement filed in July by GT Solar, Zerrella had 160,000 of unexercised options and 400,000 in stock awards that were not vested. He had about 615,000 shares of common stock.

GT Solar went public in July 2008. While the company’s stock price has struggled in the midst of the recession, it has made money every quarter. Last quarter, which ended Sept. 26, the company earned $9.4 million, or 6 cents a share, down from $27.9 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier.

The company reported revenues of $104.2 million for the quarter.GT Solar shares closed at $4.82, up 14 cents, at the close of trading on Thursday. -- BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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