This excerpt taken from the GWW DEF 14A filed Mar 13, 2009.
The Company does not maintain any employment agreements with its executives.
All of the NEOs and certain other key executives have entered into Change in Control Agreements (CIC Agreements) with the Company. These agreements are intended to ensure that in the event of a pending or threatened change in control of the Company, the executives' full attention is focused on the best interests of the Company and its shareholders and not on their future employment prospects or uncertainty about their compensation and benefits under those circumstances. The CIC Agreements are "double-trigger" arrangements that require both a change in control of the Company and within the following two-year period: (a) the executive's employment is terminated other than for cause, or (b) the executive terminates employment for good reason (for example, because Grainger reduced the executive's authority or aggregate benefits). Under each CIC Agreement, the executive is entitles to certain benefits which include a lump-sum payment generally equal to a multiple of the sum of (i) the executive's annual salary, (ii) the executive's target annual incentive, and (iii) in connection with the Company's non-contributory profit sharing plans, a percentage of annual salary and annual incentive equal to the average percentage of covered compensation contributed by the Company under the plans for the last three fiscal years. In the case of all of the NEOs, the multiple is three. In the case of most of the other key executives, the multiple is two. The applicable multiple in the CIC Agreements is determined by the individual executive's position within the Company, the likely value each would contribute to any change in control transaction, and the likelihood that employment would be terminated after a change in control event.
Benefits that are payable under the CIC Agreements include continuation of health and dental benefits for a number of years equal to the applicable multiple. Each agreement further provides that the executive is to be made whole on an after-tax basis with respect to excise tax due as a consequence of payments (whether or not under the agreement) being classified as "excess parachute payments" under Section 280G of the Internal Revenue Code. The lump-sum payment upon termination is generally limited under the CIC Agreement to an amount such that no payments would be considered "excess parachute payments" and thus no excise tax would be due.