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ISS Issues Final Policy Updates for 2019

On Monday, November 19, 2018, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) issued final updates to its proxy voting policies for 2019 – the most important of which relates to board gender diversity.

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ISS final policy updates cover four key areas: (i) board of directors, (ii) shareholders rights and defenses, (iii) capital/restructuring, and (iv) social and environmental issues. No updates specifically relate to executive compensation. Equally important, ISS chose not to issue a…

Board Governance: Preparing For Next Proxy Season

Proxy season went well for the majority of boards, says Virginia Rhodes, lead consultant at Meridian Compensation Partners.

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Rhodes sat down with Corporate Board Member editor-in-chief Dan Bigman as part of the Board Governance Series to talk about the most recent proxy season and how boards can prepare for the next one. “Director elections have gone with very…

Trends in Compensation: Committee Chairs & Lead Directors

From Boardroom Resources...In this episode, Bob Romanchek discusses current trends in director compensation.

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Compensation trends for lead directors and committee chairs have been interesting to follow in the years after Sarbanes-Oxley. Audit committee chairs were the first to be rewarded with higher pay; compensation committee chairs quickly followed suit as issues like Say…

Two Companies Settle Director Pay Lawsuits

Recently, two biotech companies (Clovis Oncology, Inc. and OvaScience, Inc.) agreed to settle director pay lawsuits, one of which is pending court approval1. The settlements, which are remarkably broad and prescriptive, set specified director pay levels (or pay range), mandate certain proxy disclosures and require the reformed director pay policies to be submitted to a binding shareholder vote.

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Clovis Oncology, Inc. and OvaScience, Inc. were subject to substantially similar shareholder derivative lawsuits brought by the same law firm. The lawsuits alleged that non-employee directors breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders by awarding themselves “excessive” compensation under non-shareholder approved…

Addressing Increased Scrutiny on Director Compensation: A Call to Action

Executive compensation has long been subject to intense scrutiny from regulators, proxy advisors and investors alike.

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Until recently, outside director compensation has not been subject to similar scrutiny primarily due to the narrow range of pay practices for directors, in both pay value and design/delivery. However, a new heightened level of scrutiny is now being applied…

2018 NACD Directorship 100 Released—the Annual List of the Most Influential Leaders in Boardrooms and in Corporate Governance

Michael Powers and Jim Wolf were named to the NACD Directorship 100 list for 2018, making it the sixth consecutive year for both Partners.

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The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the authority on boardroom practices representing more than 19,000 corporate board members, announced the 2018 NACD Directorship 100, an annual recognition of the leading corporate directors, corporate governance experts, policymakers, and influencers—leaders who…

Hot-Button Board Compensation Issues

Corporate Board Member recently sat down with Bob Romanchek, partner with Meridian Compensation Partners to talk about board compensation.

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Board compensation is always a hot topic for directors, with outside director compensation, lead director compensation, equity grants, the actual value of outside director pay and instances where companies have been sued for excessive outside director pay all front-burner topics. In the…

Vesting Doesn’t Make Sense

From Corporate Board Member - "Board Governance Series," Second Quarter 2018

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It usually perks up the ears of most corporate directors when you say “board compensation.” What’s happened recently in this area, particularly with equity grants? If you take a step back, outside director compensation has generally been in a pretty…

Avoiding Action on Director Pay

How boards can protect themselves against scrutiny - From C-Suite Magazine, an Equilar publication - Issue 26, Winter 2018

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A wave of lawsuits surrounding director compensation surfaced a couple of years ago, often alleging “excessive” pay for boards of directors on a variety of grounds. Because boards set their own pay levels, there are potential legal ramifications due to…

Delaware Court Case May Have Far Reaching Effects on Director Compensation

Boards of public companies should closely examine the manner in which director compensation is determined in light of a recent decision by the influential Delaware Supreme Court regarding Investors Bancorp (“Bank”).

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The upshot of the Delaware Supreme Court decision is whether equity plans of public companies should include prescribed annual limits on director compensation. According to the Court’s decision, the presence or absence of such limits will determine whether director compensation…

2017 Trends in Outside Director Compensation

The 2017 Outside Director Compensation Trends Report includes data from public Fortune 100 companies.

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The key highlights from Meridian’s 2017 Outside Director Compensation study among Fortune 100 companies include: In 2016, total compensation increased modestly at 1.2% Annual cash retainer values were flat for the second consecutive year, but equity values increased at approximately…

2017 Meridian Corporate Governance and Incentive Design Survey

For the seventh straight year, Meridian has conducted an extensive survey based on the public filings of 200 large cap companies (“Meridian 200”). This survey seeks to capture trends on a variety of executive compensation and corporate governance topics facing major companies today.

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As companies review their executive compensation programs and related corporate governance policies, current market practices and recent trends can provide competitive benchmarks that are helpful in understanding current and future “best practices.” Highlights of Meridian’s 2017 Corporate Governance & Incentive…

Director Pay Rises 20% in Five Years, Driven by Equity Awards

REPRINTED PRESS RELEASE FROM EQUILAR

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REDWOOD CITY, CA (October 18, 2017) — Annual compensation for boards of directors at the largest U.S. public companies has risen nearly 20% over the past five years, according to a new report from Equilar, Director Pay Trends, which features…

NYC Pension Fund Launches Campaign for Enhanced Board Diversity Disclosure

The New York City Comptroller’s Office recently announced that it launched the next phase of the Boardroom Accountablity Project, in which the Comptroller, on behalf of New York City Pension Funds, is seeking enhanced disclosure and engagement with 151 major public companies on board composition, diversity and refreshment.

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In November 2014, the Boardroom Accountability Project initiated the first phase of its campaign, in which the New York City Pension Funds petitioned for public companies to adopt proxy access. The initial campaign successfully resulted in widespread adoption of proxy…

NACD Directorship 100 Released—the Annual List of the Most Influential Leaders in Boardrooms and in Corporate Governance

Michael Powers and Jim Wolf were named to the NACD Directorship 100 list for 2017, making it the fifth consecutive year for both Partners.

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The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) announced the 2017 NACD Directorship 100, the annual list that recognizes leading corporate directors, governance experts, and other influencers who impact boardroom practices and performance. NACD identifies these outstanding directors and governance professionals…

Board Governance Series – Corporate Board Member 2nd Quarter 2017

In this interview, Gerard Leider, partner, Meridian Compensation Partners, discusses current issues that are having an effect on director compensation policies and offers guidance for ensuring the board has a responsible process for setting director pay.

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There are a lot of compensation topics that we cover throughout the year in our Board Governance Series webcasts, but we don’t often home in on director pay, and that’s pretty important to our audience. Gerard, what can you tell…

Equilar Board Leadership Forum, Dallas

The Board’s Role in Driving Change

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May 16, 2017 The Four Seasons, Dallas at Las Colinas 4150 N MacArthur Blvd Irving, TX 75038 Equilar and Nasdaq are excited to offer a one-day program to help public company board members, general counsel and corporate secretaries drive success…

Should Boards Reconsider the Benefits of Stock Options?

Watch Meridian Partner Jamie McGough on TK Kerstetter's Inside America's Boardrooms.

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Meridian Partner Jamie McGough joins TK Kerstetter, host of Inside America’s Boardrooms, to discuss “Should Boards Reconsider the Benefits of Stock Options?” Watch Jamie explain why the use of stock options has diminished and why he thinks companies might want to…

Director Pay Trends Report: Retainers Rise to Reflect Board Responsibilities

Meridian and Equilar, Inc. analyze recents trends that explain the rising pay of directors.

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The following excerpt is a collaboration between Meridian Compensation Partners and Equilar, Inc. To request a copy of the full report, visit Equilar’s site. Boards of directors sit atop the corporate structure, responsible for hiring executives, shaping strategies, and ensuring…

Modest Year over Year Increases in Canadian Director Pay

Even with this increase, Canadian directors are still paid less than their American counterparts on average.

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Director total compensation increased year over year, while equity held steady at just under one-half of director pay. This aligns with increases in director time commitments and expansion of the role of board members. Directors of Canadian companies continue to…