Toro Co. extended by 2 years the deadline for its goal to elect a new chief executive, according to the company's proxy filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Current CEO Kendrick Melrose isn't ready to retire, said a spokesman for Toro, which sells landscaping and outdoor maintenance equipment.
"He wants to continue to work and the board is more than satisfied," Stephen Keating, director of investor relations, told Dow Jones Newswires.
The deadline extension to Oct. 31, 2005, marks the second extension to the succession plan Toro announced nearly 8 years ago. The company originally planned to name a new CEO in 2000 and had extended the date to this year.
In 1995, Toro approved a plan to encourage Mr. Melrose to remain as chairman and CEO until he turned 60 years old, while assuring the timely development and election of his successor as CEO.
Mr. Melrose, 62 years old, has been a Toro employee since 1970, a board member since 1981, and chairman and CEO since 1987.
Mr. Keating said the company has had some great candidates as the succession plan progressed and promoted two of them to senior positions.
Timothy Ford and Michael Hoffman, group vice presidents, are "viable candidates" for CEO, Mr. Keating said. He added that aside from extending the vesting date, the extension of the succession deadline didn't change Mr. Melrose's incentives under the plan.
As part of the plan, Toro asked shareholders to approve a one-time grant to Melrose of U.S. $500,000 of restricted stock - but no more than 23,960 shares - and $500,000 of stock performance units. The awards vest based on progress made in achieving the succession plan and are fully vested when he retires.
Toro's board approved the extension near the close of fiscal 2002, which ended Oct. 31, Mr. Keating said.
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