New Pennichuck CEO’s deal detailed

The new president and chief executive officer of Pennichuck Corporation will be offered additional stock options “under certain circumstances” following a “resolution” of Nashua’s attempt to take over the company’s area water system, according to a company filing made last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Duane C. Montopoli, who earlier this month took over the helm of the Nashua-based water company, will also receive a $250,000 annual salary with a bonus of up to 40 percent and a stock option award of 40,000 shares at an exercise price of $19 a share, the stock’s closing price on Aug. 18.

Montopoli was president and CEO of Hitchiner Manufacturing in Milford from 2002 to 2004. In January 2005, he started acting as a consultant to Pennichuck.

Montopoli will be the company’s fourth CEO in three years. He will replace acting CEO Hannah McCarthy, who was the interim president for five months before announcing on August 11 that she will leave take a job as an interim president at Newbury College in Brookline. McCarthy replaced Don Correll who served for two years after replacing Maurice Arel.

Arel stepped down in April 2004 just before he was caught up in an SEC investigation into conflict of interest involving the company’s real estate holdings. Arel eventually settled the matter by agreeing to pay $390,000 to the company.

Though that entire period, Pennichuck has been fighting an effort by the city of Nashua to take over the water system. The fight has taken its toll on the company in legal costs, substantially cutting into the company’s profits.

While Pennichuck’s recent SEC filing said that Montopoli would get the stock options upon a resolution of the eminent domain battle under “certain circumstance” but did not elaborate the circumstances. – BOB SANDERS

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