Employment Letter, dated July 22, 2015, between Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. and Kanuj Malhotra

Contract Categories: Human Resources - Employment Agreements
EX-10.2 2 bned-ex102_kmalhotraletter.htm EXHIBIT 10.2 EMPLOYMENT LETTER - K.MALHORTRA Exhibit

July 22, 2015

Kanuj Malhotra

Dear Kanuj,

It’s my pleasure to confirm our offer of employment with Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. The following represents the key elements of our offer:
Chief Strategy and Development Officer    

Reports to:
Michael Huseby, Executive Chairman and Max Roberts, Chief Executive Officer

Transfer Date:
Upon the effectiveness of the spin-off of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. from Barnes & Noble, Inc.         

Base Salary:
$515,000 annually
Incentive Compensation:
Eligible to participate in our FY16 Incentive Compensation Plan. The target level annual bonus for your position is 70% of your base salary. Payments under the plan are based upon achievement of measurable objectives as defined by the Company each fiscal year. The fiscal year period is defined as May 1st to April 30th.

Subject to approval by the Compensation Committee, you will be eligible to participate in our annual long-term incentive program. Given your role and responsibilities, your target long-term incentive grant value is expected to be $200,000 - $300,000, subject to a 3-year vesting schedule. Additional details will be shared after approval.

Eligible to participate in the Company’s health and welfare programs.

Liability Insurance:
Shall be indemnified and advanced expenses for third party claims and covered under D&O insurance policies on the same terms and conditions as are provided to other executive officers.

Severance Benefits:
Should your employment terminate for any reason including “Good Reason” as defined below, but excluding your voluntary termination, death or disability or termination for “Cause” as defined below, you will receive a severance package that will be equal to one (1) times the sum of (a) one year’s salary; (b) the average of the last three year’s bonus payments and; (c) aggregate benefit costs, payable in a lump sum, less applicable taxes and withholdings.

The severance payment will be made no later than the 60th day following your termination of employment, subject to your prior execution and non-revocation of the release described below.

You understand and agree that any severance benefits provided by the Company are contingent on your executing a General Release in exchange for severance benefits at the time the severance benefits are offered.

Change of Control:
If at any time during your employment there is (i) a Change of Control and (ii) your employment is terminated by the Company without Cause or you voluntarily terminate your employment for Good Reason, in either case, within two years following the Change of Control, then the Company shall pay you an amount equal to two-times the sum of (a) your then annual base salary, (b) the average of the annual bonuses actually paid to you with respect to the three completed years preceding the date of your termination of employment and (c) the aggregate annual dollar amount of the payments made or to be made by the Company for purposes of providing you with the Benefits (set forth above), less all applicable withholding and other applicable taxes and deductions (“Change of Control Amount”). The Change of Control Amount shall be paid to you in cash in a single lump sum within 30 days after the date your employment terminates. In the event that it is determined that the aggregate amount of the payments and benefits that could be considered “parachute payments” within the meaning of Section 280G of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (collectively, with the regulations and other guidance promulgated thereunder, the “Code”; and such payments and benefits, (the “Parachute Payments”) that, but for this section would be payable to you under this letter or any other plan, policy or arrangement of the Company, exceeds the greatest amount of Parachute Payments that could be paid to you without giving rise to any liability for any excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code (the “Excise Tax”), then the aggregate amount of Parachute Payments payable to you shall not exceed the amount that produces the greatest after-tax benefit to you after taking into account any Excise Tax to be payable by you. Any reduction in Parachute Payments pursuant to the immediately preceding sentence shall be made in the following order: (1) cash payments that do not constitute deferred compensation within the meaning of Section 409A of the Code, (2) welfare or in-kind benefits, (3) equity compensation awards and (4) cash payments that do constitute deferred compensation, in each case, such reductions shall be made in the manner that maximizes the present value to you of all such payments. The amounts payable to you under the event specified above shall be in lieu of any Severance Benefits payable to you above.
For purposes of this letter, “Change of Control” shall mean the occurrence of one or more of the following events after the distribution by Barnes & Noble, Inc. to its stockholders of all shares of common stock of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc., and the indirect ownership of all membership interests in the Company

(the “Separation”): (i) any person, entity or “group” as identified in Section 13(d)(3) or 14(d)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “1934 Act”), other than you becomes a beneficial owner (as such term is defined in Rule 13d-3 under the 1934 Act), directly or indirectly, of securities of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. representing 40% or more of the total number of votes that may be cast for the election of directors of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc.; (ii) within two years after a merger, consolidation, liquidation or sale of assets involving Barnes & Noble Education, Inc., or a contested election of a Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. director, or any combination of the foregoing, the individuals who were directors of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. immediately prior thereto shall cease to constitute a majority of the board of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc.; or (iii) within two years after a tender offer or exchange offer for voting securities of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc., the individuals who were directors of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. immediately prior thereto shall cease to constitute a majority of the board of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc.
For purposes of this letter, "Cause" means (A) your engaging in misconduct or gross negligence which is injurious to Company; (B) your indictment or conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction with respect to any felony or other crime or violation of law involving fraud or dishonesty (with the exception of misconduct based in good faith on the advice of professional consultants, such as attorneys and accountants), or your entry of a plea of nolo contendere with respect to any felony involving fraud or dishonesty (with the exception of misconduct based in good faith on the advice of professional consultants, such as attorneys and accountants); (C) any gross negligence, intentional acts or intentional omissions by you, as determined by the Company in connection with the performance of the duties and responsibilities of your employment hereunder; (D) engaging in any act of misconduct or moral turpitude, as determined by the Company; (E) abuse of or dependency on alcohol or drugs (illicit or otherwise) which adversely affects job performance; (F) failure or refusal by you to properly perform (as determined by the Company in its reasonable discretion and judgment) the duties, responsibilities or obligations of your employment for reasons other than Disability or authorized leave, or to properly perform or follow (as determined by the Company in its reasonable discretion and judgment) any lawful direction by the Company; or (G) breach of this Agreement or of any other duty to, written policy of, or agreement with the Company. For purposes of this letter, "Good Reason" shall mean the occurrence of one or more of the following events: (A) there shall have been a material diminution of your duties; (B) there shall have been a material diminution in the authority, duties or responsibilities of the supervisor to whom you are required to report; (C) there shall have been a material reduction in the annual base salary you receive from the Company; or (D) the principal executive offices of the Company shall be relocated to a location more than 50 miles from both Basking Ridge, NJ and New York, NY. For purposes of this letter, the term "Disability" means you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

You have represented, and hereby confirm, that you are not subject to any currently effective employment contract, or any other contractual or other binding obligations pursuant to which your employment or employment activities with or on behalf of the Company may be subject to any restrictions, including without limitation, any agreements or other obligations or documents relating to non-competition, confidentiality, trade secrets, proprietary information or works for hire.

If you wish to accept this offer of employment as set forth in this document, please sign and return the enclosed agreement along with an original signed copy of your offer letter to JoAnn Magill at Barnes & Noble College – 120 Mountain View Boulevard Basking Ridge, NJ 07920 or scan a copy to ***@*** by July 24, 2015. If this offer is not received by this date, the Company’s offer of employment shall be deemed to be rescinded and without effect. If you have any questions, please call me at your convenience at ###-###-####.

I look forward to hearing from you after you have had a chance to review this offer.


/s/ Michael P. Huseby

Michael Huseby
Executive Chairman

Agreed and Accepted:    
/s/Kanuj Malhotra
Kanuj Malhotra



1. Kanuj Malhotra (“Employee”) hereby acknowledges and agrees Employee’s employment with Barnes and Noble Education, LLC, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. (the “Company”) terminated on __________, 20__ (the “Termination Date”).
2.     Employee acknowledges and agrees that Employee’s executing this General Release and Waiver (“Release”) is a condition precedent to the Company’s obligation to pay (and the Employee’s right to retain) the Severance Amount as defined in the offer letter dated as of XXXX, including the attached Agreement, between Employee and the Company (such agreement referred to collectively herein as the “Employment Agreement” and such payments and benefits collectively referred to herein as the “Separation Benefit”), that the Separation Benefit is adequate consideration for this Release, and that any monetary or other benefits that, prior to the execution of this Release, Employee may have earned or accrued, or to which Employee may have been entitled, have been paid or such payments or benefits have been released, waived or settled by Releasor (as defined below) except as expressly provided in this Release.
(b) In consideration of Employee’s receipt and acceptance of the Separation Benefit from the Company, and on behalf of the Company and each Releasee (as defined below), Employee, on Employee’s behalf and on behalf of Employee’s heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns (collectively, “Releasor”), hereby irrevocably, unconditionally and generally releases the Company, its current and former officers, directors, shareholders, trustees, parents, members, managers, affiliates, subsidiaries, branches, divisions, benefit plans, agents, attorneys, advisors, counselors and employees, and the current and former officers, directors, shareholders, agents, attorneys, advisors, counselors and employees of any such parent, affiliate, subsidiary, branch or division of the Company and the heirs, executors, administrators, receivers, successors and assigns of all of the foregoing (each, a “Releasee”), from or in connection with, and hereby waives and/or settles, except as provided in Section 3(c) herein, any and all actions, causes of action, suits, debts, dues, sums of money, accounts, controversies, agreements, promises, damages, judgments, executions, or any liability, claims or demands, known or unknown and of any nature whatsoever, whether or not related to employment, and which Releasor ever had, now has or hereafter can, shall or may have as of the date of this Release, including, without limitation, (i) any rights and/or claims arising under any contract, express or implied, written or oral, including, without limitation, the Employment Agreement; (ii) any rights and/or claims arising under any applicable foreign, federal, state, local or other statutes, orders, laws, ordinances, regulations or the like, or case law, that relate to employment or employment practices, including, without limitation, family and medical, and/or, specifically, that prohibit discrimination based upon age, race, religion, sex, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, veteran status or any other unlawful bases, including, without limitation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, as amended, the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871, as amended, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Drug-Free Workplace Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”), the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988, as amended, and any similar applicable statutes, orders, laws, ordinances, regulations or the like, or case law, of the State of New Jersey and the State of New York and any state in which any Releasee is subject to jurisdiction, or any political subdivision thereof, including, without limitation, the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York State Labor Law, the New York City Human Rights Law, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, and

the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law, and all applicable rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to or concerning any of the foregoing statutes, orders, laws, ordinances, regulations or the like; (iii) any waivable rights and/or claims relating to wages and hours, including under state or local labor or wage payment laws; (iv) any rights and/or claims to benefits that Employee may have or become entitled to receive under any severance, termination, change of control, bonus or similar policy, plan, program, agreement or similar or related arrangements, including, without limitation, any offer letter, letter agreement or employment agreement between Employee and the Company; (v) any rights and/or claims that Employee may have to receive any equity in the Company (whether restricted or unrestricted) in the future; and (vi) and any rights and/or claims for attorneys’ fees. Employee agrees not to challenge or contest the reasonableness, validity, or enforceability of this Release.
(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, Employee does not release any Releasee from any of the following rights and/or claims: (i) any rights and/or claims Employee may have that arise after the date Employee signs this Release; (ii) any rights and/or claims that by law cannot be waived by private agreement; (iii) Employee’s right to file a charge or report with, or participate in, any investigation or proceeding conducted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or other government agency; provided that even though Employee can file a charge or report or participate in an investigation or proceeding conducted by the EEOC or other government agency, by executing this Release, Employee is waiving his/her ability to obtain relief of any kind from any Releasee to the extent permitted by law (but Employee does not waive the right to any recovery authorized under Section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934); (iv) Employee’s non-forfeitable rights to accrued benefits (within the meaning of Sections 203 and 204 of ERISA); or (v) any rights and/or claims to insurance coverage under any directors’ and officers’ personal liability insurance or fiduciary insurance policy.
4. Nothing in or about this Release is intended to, and shall not, prohibit Employee from engaging in the following activities, and the limitations in Section 3 of the Agreement shall not apply to the disclosure of Confidential Information under the following circumstances: (i) filing and, as provided for under Section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, maintaining the confidentiality of a claim with a government agency that is responsible for enforcing a law; (ii) providing Confidential Information (as defined in Section 3 of the Agreement) to the extent required by law or legal process or permitted by Section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; or (iii) cooperating with or participating or assisting in any government or regulatory entity investigation or proceeding. With respect to each of these three scenarios, however, Employee agrees to take all reasonable steps to prevent the disclosure of Confidential Information beyond the allowable parameters described in this Section 4.
5.     Employee represents and warrants that Employee has not filed or commenced any complaints, claims, actions, or proceedings of any kind against any Releasee with any federal, state, or local court or any administrative, regulatory or arbitration agency or body except those that Employee has listed with specificity next to Employee’s name in the signature block below; provided, however, that Employee is not required to disclose any complaint or other disclosures that are required or protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 18 U.S.C. §1513(e), or any other law, rule, or regulation that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Employee hereby waives any right to, and agrees not to, seek reinstatement or employment of any kind with any Releasee and, without waiver by any Releasee of the foregoing, the existence of this Release shall be a valid, nondiscriminatory basis for rejecting any such application or, in the event Employee obtains such employment, for terminating such employment. This Release and the Separation Benefit are not intended to be, shall not be construed as, and are not an admission or concession by any Releasee of any wrongdoing or illegal or actionable acts or omissions.
6. (a).Employee hereby represents and agrees that, except as shall be required by law or as permitted under Section 3(c)(iii) or Section 4 of this Release, Employee shall (i) keep confidential and not disclose orally or in writing, to any person, except as may be required by law, any and all information concerning the existence or terms of this Release and the amount of any payments made hereunder and (ii) keep confidential and not disclose orally or in writing, directly or indirectly, to any person (except Employee’s immediate family, attorneys and accountant), any and all information concerning any potential claims or causes of action that are being released in this Release, or allegations or facts that would support such claims or causes of action.

(b) If Employee is requested or required (by oral questions, interrogatories, requests for information, or documents, subpoena, civil investigative demand or similar process) to disclose any information covered by Section 6(a) herein, Employee shall promptly notify the Company of such request or requirement so that the Company may seek to avoid or minimize the required disclosure and/or to obtain an appropriate protective order or other appropriate relief to ensure that any information so disclosed is maintained in confidence to the maximum extent possible by the agency or other person receiving the disclosure, or, in the discretion of the Company, to waive compliance with the provisions of this Release. Employee shall use reasonable efforts, in cooperation with the Company or otherwise, to avoid or minimize the required disclosure and/or to obtain such protective order or other relief. If, in the absence of a protective order or the receipt of a waiver hereunder, Employee is compelled to disclose such information or else stand liable for contempt or suffer other sanction, censure, or penalty, Employee shall disclose only so much of such information to the party compelling disclosure as he/she believes in good faith on the basis of advice of counsel is required by law, and Employee shall give the Company prior notice of such information he believes he is required to disclose.
7. (a) Except as shall be required by law or as permitted under Section 3(c)(iii) or Section 4 of this Release, Employee shall not make, either directly or by or through another person, any oral or written negative, disparaging or adverse statements or representations of or concerning any Releasee.
(b) Without limitation to the survival of any other terms of the Employment Agreement subsequent to the end of Employee’s employment, the expiration or termination of the Employment Agreement, and/or the execution and effectiveness of this Release, Employee and the Company expressly acknowledge that the terms of Sections 3 through 6 of the Agreement survive and shall be in full force and effect as provided in the Agreement.
8. The covenants, representations, and acknowledgments made by Employee in this Release shall continue to have full force and effect after the execution and effectiveness of this Release and the delivery of the Separation Benefit, and this Release shall inure to the benefit of each Releasee, and the successors and assigns of each of them, to the extent necessary to preserve the intended benefits of such provisions. If any section of this Release is determined to be void, voidable, or unenforceable, it shall have no effect on the remainder of this Release, which shall remain in full force and effect, and the provisions so held invalid or unenforceable shall be deemed modified as to give such provisions the maximum effect permitted by applicable law. The Company shall be excused and released from any obligation to make payment of the Separation Benefit, and Employee shall be obligated to return to the Company the Separation Benefit, in the event that Employee is found to have (a) made a material misstatement in any term, condition, covenant, representation, or acknowledgment in this Release, or (b) Employee is found to have committed or commits a material breach of any term, condition, or covenant in this Release.
9. This Release and the Employment Agreement constitute the sole and complete agreement between the parties with respect to the matters set forth therein and supersedes all prior agreements, understandings, and arrangements, oral or written, between Employee and the Company with respect to the subject matter thereof. This Release may not be amended or modified except by an instrument or instruments in writing signed by the party against whom enforcement of any such modification or amendment is sought. Either party may, by an instrument in writing, waive compliance by the other party with any term or provision of this Release to be performed or complied with by such other party.
10. With respect to any claims or disputes under or in connection with this Release or any claims released under Section 3 of this Release, Employee and the Company hereby acknowledge and agree that Section 9 of the Agreement shall govern. Employee acknowledges that a breach or threatened breach of the provisions of this Release may give rise to losses or damages for which the Company cannot be reasonably or adequately compensated in an action at law, and that such violation may result in irreparable and continuing harm to the Company. Accordingly, Employee agrees that, in addition to any other remedy that the Company may have at law or in equity, the Company shall be entitled to seek equitable relief, including, without limitation, injunction and specific performance and Employee hereby waives any requirements for security or posting of any bond in connection with such relief. No specification in this Release of any particular remedy shall be construed as a waiver or prohibition of any other remedies (including claims for damages) in the event of a breach or threatened breach of this Release.

11. Employee agrees and acknowledges that (a) Employee has had an adequate opportunity to review this Release and all of its terms, (b) Employee understands all of the terms of this Release, which are fair, reasonable, and are not the result of any fraud, duress, coercion, pressure, or undue influence exercised by or on behalf of any Releasee, and (c) Employee has agreed to and/or entered into this Release and all of the terms hereof, knowingly, freely, and voluntarily.
12. By executing this Release, Releasor acknowledges that (a) Employee has been advised by the Company to consult with an attorney before executing this Release; (b) Employee was provided and has adequate time (that is, 21 days) to review this Release and to consider whether to sign this Release, (c) Employee has been advised that Employee has 7 days following execution to revoke this Release (“Revocation Period”), (d) the Release is written in a manner calculated to be understood by Employee, (e) the Release represents Employee’s knowing and voluntary release of any and all claims that he/she might have up through the date this Release is signed, including, but not limited to, any claims arising under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, (f) Employee has not been asked to release, nor has he/she released, any claim that may arise after the date of this Release, and (g) the consideration that Employee will receive in exchange for signing this Release (that is, the Separation Benefit) is something of value to which he/she was not already entitled. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein or in the Employment Agreement, this Release shall not be effective or enforceable, and the Separation Benefit is not payable and shall not be delivered or paid by the Company, until the Revocation Period has expired (that is, the 8th day after the Employee signs the Release) and provided that Employee has not revoked this Release. Employee agrees that any revocation shall be made in writing and delivered to JoAnn Magill, VP, Chief Human Resources Officer, 120 Mountain View Boulevard, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920 in a manner such that it is delivered before the expiration of the Revocation Period. Employee acknowledges that revocation of this Release shall result in the Company’s not having an obligation to pay the Separation Benefit.

Signature: ___________________________________________ Date: __________________________________