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2011 NEWSMAKER: Simon collects big raise, takes on Amazon.com

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Newsmakers
Simon
                              takes on Amazon.com Melangton Daniels White in crosshairs as reformers target IPS

Simon Property Group Inc. took a big step in 2011 to lock down its well-respected CEO, already the state’s highest-paid chief executive.

The company signed an employment agreement with CEO David Simon that will keep him as head of the Indianapolis-based company the next eight years.

The deal gives Simon, 49, a one-time award of 1 million long-term-incentive performance units—worth $120 million at the current share price—that begin vesting in six years as part of the agreement.

“David Simon is widely recognized as the leading CEO in our industry and one of the top executives in corporate America,” Simon Property said in an e-mailed statement. “The board believes it is in the best interest of SPG shareholders to secure Mr. Simon’s continued service as CEO for at least the next eight years through this equity-based retention plan with long-term vesting.”

Simon has been CEO of the real estate investment trust since 1995.

Simon Simon

He received a pay package of cash, stock and perks valued at $24.6 million for 2010. About $13.3 million came in the form of stock awards that will pay out only if Simon achieves certain targets in the future.

Shortly after landing his long-term deal, Simon aimed his famous ire at Amazon and its sales-tax advantage. The company filed suit against the Indiana Department of Revenue in an attempt to force the state to collect sales taxes from Amazon.com Inc.

The mall powerhouse said it filed the suit not to collect “monetary damages,” but to level the playing field for Indiana’s brick-and-mortar retailers, including the tenants at its 27 Indiana shopping centers.

David Simon has made no secret of his annoyance at the tax advantage Amazon enjoys, summing up his position at an address to the Economic Club of Indiana in 2010.

“[The] Internet has a distinct advantage, which in my opinion is unfair,” he said at the time. “And hopefully we’re looking for fairness in our tax system. If you sell it in the physical world versus the virtual world, it ought to be the same. We need to level the playing field tax-wise.”•

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