updated 1/24/2007 11:05:18 AM ET 2007-01-24T16:05:18

The Home Depot Inc.’s new chief executive could earn as much as $8.9 million in total compensation this year, the world’s largest home improvement store chain said in a regulatory filing Wednesday.

Frank Blake’s compensation is smaller than the roughly $24 million a year on average that former Chief Executive Bob Nardelli was earning excluding stock options.

Nardelli resigned earlier this month after six years at the helm of the Atlanta-based company amid a furor over his hefty pay and Home Depot’s lagging stock price. He was replaced by Blake, who was Home Depot’s vice chairman.

Nardelli left with a severance package worth about $210 million. Home Depot said Wednesday that Blake’s compensation arrangement does not provide for payment of severance upon termination.

According to Wednesday’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Blake will earn a base salary this year of $975,000.

He also could be entitled to a management incentive plan award equal to double his base salary and a long-term incentive award equal to his base salary. Blake and the company must meet certain performance targets for Blake to get those awards.

The filing says Blake’s compensation for 2007 also includes up to $5 million in equity in the company based on how Home Depot’s share price performs and the amount of total shareholder return.

A Superior Court judge on Monday denied a request by a group of shareholders of Home Depot to temporarily block the company from paying Nardelli any more of his severance package.

Judge Craig Schwall denied the request for a restraining order but did rule that several current and former senior officers and directors of the company, including Nardelli, will be subject to depositions.

The request for a temporary restraining order was made in Fulton County Superior Court by the shareholders as part of a previously filed lawsuit alleging that Home Depot overpaid senior executives and backdated stock options in violation of their fiduciary duties.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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