THIS RETENTION AGREEMENT (the “Agreement”) by and between NitroMed, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), and Kenneth M. Bate (the “Employee”) is made as of the date set forth below (the “Effective Date”).
WHEREAS, the Company recognizes that, as is the case with many publicly-held corporations, the possibility of a change in control of the Company exists and that such possibility, and the uncertainty and questions which it may raise among key personnel, may result in the departure or distraction of key personnel to the detriment of the Company and its stockholders, and
WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”) has determined that appropriate steps should be taken to reinforce and encourage the continued employment and dedication of the Company’s key personnel without distraction from the possibility of a change in control of the Company and related events and circumstances.
NOW, THEREFORE, as an inducement for and in consideration of the Employee remaining in its employ, the Company agrees that the Employee shall receive the severance benefits set forth in this Agreement in the event the Employee’s employment with the Company is terminated under the circumstances described below subsequent to a Change in Control (as defined in Section 1.1).
1. Key Definitions .
As used herein, the following terms shall have the following respective meanings:
1.1 “ Change in Control ” means an event or occurrence set forth in any one or more of subsections (a) through (d) below (including an event or occurrence that constitutes a Change in Control under one of such subsections but is specifically exempted from another such subsection):
(a) the acquisition by an individual, entity or group (within the meaning of Section 13(d)(3) or 14(d)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”)) (a “Person”) of beneficial ownership of any capital stock of the Company if, after such acquisition, such Person beneficially owns (within the meaning of Rule 13d-3 promulgated under the Exchange Act) 50% or more of either (x) the then-outstanding shares of common stock of the Company (the “Outstanding Company Common Stock”) or (y) the combined voting power of the then-outstanding securities of the Company entitled to vote generally in the election of directors (the “Outstanding Company Voting Securities”); provided , however, that for purposes of this subsection (a), the following acquisitions shall not constitute a Change in Control: (i) any acquisition directly from the Company (excluding an acquisition pursuant to the exercise, conversion or exchange of any security exercisable for, convertible into or exchangeable for common stock or voting securities of the Company, unless the Person
exercising, converting or exchanging such security acquired such security directly from the Company or an underwriter or agent of the Company), (ii) any acquisition by the Company, (iii) any acquisition by any employee benefit plan (or related trust) sponsored or maintained by the Company or any corporation controlled by the Company, or (iv) any acquisition by any corporation pursuant to a transaction which complies with clauses (i) and (ii) of subsection (c) of this Section 1.1; or
(b) such time as the Continuing Directors (as defined below) do not constitute a majority of the Board (or, if applicable, the Board of Directors of a successor corporation to the Company), where the term “Continuing Director” means at any date a member of the Board (i) who was a member of the Board on the date of the execution of this Agreement or (ii) who was nominated or elected subsequent to such date by at least a majority of the directors who were Continuing Directors at the time of such nomination or election or whose election to the Board was recommended or endorsed by at least a majority of the directors who were Continuing Directors at the time of such nomination or election; provided , however , that there shall be excluded from this clause (ii) any individual whose initial assumption of office occurred as a result of an actual or threatened election contest with respect to the election or removal of directors or other actual or threatened solicitation of proxies or consents, by or on behalf of a person other than the Board; or
(c) the consummation of a merger, consolidation, reorganization, recapitalization or statutory share exchange involving the Company or a sale or other disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the Company in one or a series of transactions (a “Business Combination”), unless, immediately following such Business Combination, each of the following two conditions is satisfied: (i) all or substantially all of the individuals and entities who were the beneficial owners of the Outstanding Company Common Stock and Outstanding Company Voting Securities immediately prior to such Business Combination beneficially own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of the then-outstanding shares of common stock and the combined voting power of the then-outstanding securities entitled to vote generally in the election of directors, respectively, of the resulting or acquiring corporation in such Business Combination (which shall include, without limitation, a corporation which as a result of such transaction owns the Company or substantially all of the Company’s assets either directly or through one or more subsidiaries) (such resulting or acquiring corporation is referred to herein as the “Acquiring Corporation”) in substantially the same proportions as their ownership, immediately prior to such Business Combination, of the Outstanding Company Common Stock and Outstanding Company Voting Securities, respectively; and (ii) no Person (excluding any employee benefit plan (or related trust) maintained or sponsored by the Company or by the Acquiring Corporation) beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, 50% or more of the then outstanding shares of common stock of the Acquiring Corporation, or of the combined voting power of the then-outstanding securities of such corporation entitled to vote generally in the election of directors (except to the extent that such ownership existed prior to the Business Combination); or
(d) approval by the stockholders of the Company of a complete liquidation or dissolution of the Company.
1.2 “ Change in Control Date ” means the first date during the Term (as defined in Section 2) on which a Change in Control occurs. Anything in this Agreement to the contrary notwithstanding, if (a) a Change in Control occurs, (b) the Employee’s employment with the Company is terminated prior to the date on which the Change in Control occurs, and (c) it is reasonably demonstrated by the Employee that such termination of employment (i) was at the request of a third party who has taken steps reasonably calculated to effect a Change in Control or (ii) otherwise arose in connection with or in anticipation of a Change in Control, then for all purposes of this Agreement the “Change in Control Date” shall mean the date immediately prior to the date of such termination of employment.
1.3 “ Cause ” means:
(a) the Employee’s continued failure to substantially perform his reasonable assigned duties (other than any such failure resulting from incapacity due to physical or mental illness or any failure after the Employee gives written notice of termination for Good Reason), which failure is not cured within 30 days after a written demand for substantial performance is received by the Employee from the Board of Directors of the Company which specifically identifies the manner in which the Board of Directors believes the Employee has not substantially performed the Employee’s duties; or
(b) the Employee’s willful engagement in illegal conduct or gross misconduct which is materially injurious to the Company.
1.4 “ Good Reason ” means the occurrence, without the Employee’s written consent, of any of the events or circumstances set forth in clauses (a) through (f) below. Notwithstanding the occurrence of any such event or circumstance, such occurrence shall not be deemed to constitute Good Reason if, prior to the Date of Termination specified in the Notice of Termination (each as defined in Section 3.2(a)) given by the Employee in respect thereof, such event or circumstance has been fully corrected and the Employee has been reasonably compensated for any losses or damages resulting therefrom (provided that such right of correction by the Company shall only apply to the first Notice of Termination for Good Reason given by the Employee).
(a) the assignment to the Employee of duties which result in a material diminution of the Employee’s position (including status, offices, titles and reporting requirements), authority or responsibilities in effect immediately prior to the earliest to occur of (i) the Change in Control Date, (ii) the date of the execution by the Company of the initial written agreement or instrument providing for the Change in Control or (iii) the date of the adoption by the Board of Directors of a resolution providing for the Change in Control (with the earliest to occur of such dates referred to herein as the “Measurement Date”);
(b) a material reduction in the Employee’s annual base salary as in effect on the Measurement Date or as the same was or may be increased thereafter from time to time;
(c) the failure by the Company to (i) continue in effect any material compensation or benefit plan or program (including without limitation any life insurance,
medical, health and accident or disability plan and any vacation or automobile program or policy) (a “Benefit Plan”) in which the Employee participates or which is applicable to the Employee immediately prior to the Measurement Date, unless an equitable arrangement (embodied in an ongoing substitute or alternative plan) has been made with respect to such plan or program or (ii) continue the Employee’s participation therein (or in such substitute or alternative plan) on a basis not materially less favorable, both in terms of the amount of benefits provided and the level of the Employee’s participation relative to other participants, than the basis existing immediately prior to the Measurement Date;
(d) a change by the Company in the location at which the Employee performs his principal duties for the Company to a new location that is more than 50 miles from the location at which the Employee performed his principal duties for the Company immediately prior to the Measurement Date; or a requirement by the Company that the Employee travel on Company business to a substantially greater extent than required immediately prior to the Measurement Date;
(e) the failure of the Company to obtain the agreement from any successor to the Company to assume and agree to perform this Agreement, as required by Section 5.1; or
(f) any material breach by the Company of this Agreement with the Employee.
The Employee’s right to terminate his employment for Good Reason shall not be affected by his incapacity due to physical or mental illness.
1.5 “ Disability ” means the Employee’s absence from the full-time performance of the Employee’s duties with the Company for 180 consecutive calendar days as a result of incapacity due to mental or physical illness which is determined to be total and permanent by a physician selected by the Company or its insurers and acceptable to the Employee or the Employee’s legal representative.
1.6 “ Code ” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
2. Term of Agreement . This Agreement, and all rights and obligations of the parties hereunder, shall take effect upon the Effective Date and shall expire upon the first to occur of (a) the expiration of the Term (as defined below) if a Change in Control has n