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Aaron’s CEO gets $4.1 million; retired chairman gets $3.3 million.

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Aaron’s Chief Executive Ron Allen was paid $4.1 million last year in his first full year heading the Atlanta-based rent-to-own furniture chain.

It was a nearly eightfold increase over the 71-year-old CEO’s compensation in 2011 of $525,464. The longtime Aaron’s board member and former CEO at Delta Air Lines stepped in as Aaron’s CEO in late 2011 to replace Robin Loudermilk, who stepped down due to mental health concerns.

The look at Allen’s compensation is part of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s analysis of the pay of Georgia’s top executives over the coming weeks. Executive pay has gained increased attention from investors and lawmakers in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis and Great Recession. Congress passed legislation in 2010 to give shareholders more of a say on executive pay.

Ron Allen photo
Special

Allen’s 2012 pay, disclosed in a proxy filing Monday, included $1.6 million in salary and bonus, $2.5 million in company stock, and use of the company’s jet, valued at $3,833.

The company’s sales rose almost 10 percent last year, to $2.2 billion, and net income increased more than 50 percent, to $173 million.

Meanwhile, Aaron’s founder and former chairman, Charles Loudermilk Sr., who retired in September, received $3.3 million last year, including a $1 million bonus.

Charlie-Loudermilk photo
Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com

Under his retirement deal, Loudermilk will be paid $1.5 million a year for five years and get continued use of a company jet, car, office and staff, which the company valued at $561,491 for the last 2 1/2 months of 2012.

The company also agreed to let Loudermilk keep his unvested stocks and stock options when he retired. With the $6.7 million worth of stock options that he exercised and company stock that vested last year, Loudermilk’s stake in Aaron’s is now worth almost $53 million.

CONTINUING COVERAGE

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Russell Grantham is tracking what Georgia’s major public companies pay their top executives. Look for periodic news and trend stories in the weeks ahead, as well as up-to-date statistics, as Grantham pores through this year’s corporate proxy statements.