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The Demise of TSR as the Primary Executive Pay Performance Measure

Reprinted from NACD Directorship November/December 2018 Issue

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During the past decade, the use of total shareholder return (TSR) has risen rapidly in prevalence as a performance metric in executive long-term incentive plans. Many compensation committees believed this was a direct way to align executive pay and performance.…

2018 Study of Executive Severance Arrangements Not Related to a Change in Control

Data for fiscal 2017 executive severance arrangements is derived primarily from 2018 definitive proxy statements filed by 160 major public companies (“Study Group”).

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This is only a summary of the full 2018 Study of Executive Severance Arrangements Not Related to Change in Control. To obtain the full report, please contact Donald Kalfen. About Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC (“Meridian”) is…

Summary of Key Results from ISS 2019 Annual Policy Survey

ISS’s recent Policy Survey previews potential changes in its 2019 proxy voting policies.

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Each year, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) surveys institutional investors, public companies (“issuers”) and the consulting and legal communities on emerging corporate governance and executive compensation issues as part of its annual policy formulation process (the “Survey”). Issuers and their advisors…

Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Optimize Retirement Within Your LTI Program

As employees age, both employers and employees tend to think strategically about retirement, but their perspectives are rarely the same. 

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Employers are generally focused on maximizing productivity and facilitating smooth transitions, while employees are generally focused on timing – not only about when will they have enough money for a comfortable retirement, but also what will they forfeit when they…

In What Circumstances do Special Equity Grants Make Sense?

As executive compensation consultants, we often receive questions from Compensation Committee members regarding the possibility of “one-time” equity grants for senior executives. There are various important considerations when contemplating such awards.

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Based on our experience, it is important to understand the many inputs and ensure the Committee is making informed decisions with “eyes wide open” to avoid surprises. Awards should focus on specific intended objectives. From time to time, Compensation Committees…

2018 Meridian Corporate Governance and Incentive Design Survey

For the eighth 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 of interest to major companies today.

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As companies review their executive compensation program designs and related corporate governance policies, current market practices and recent trends can provide competitive benchmarks that are helpful in understanding “best practices,” as well as facilitate productive boardroom discussions. Highlights of Meridian’s…

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…

Is it time for longer-term performance awards?

A variety of factors has escalated short-termism, including proliferation of technology and Wall Street’s relentless demand (and apparent rewards) for short-term profits.

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Short-termism: Acknowledging a Trend In his 2016 annual letter to CEOs, Larry Fink wrote: “I have written to the CEOs of leading companies urging resistance to the powerful forces of short-termism afflicting corporate behavior. Reducing these pressures and working instead…

CEO Compensation in the Largest US Companies

Reprinted from Chief Executive Officer Magazine - Volume 1 2018

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Are US CEOs overpaid? Bob Romanchek, senior partner at the executive compensation consulting firm Meridian Compensation Partners, adds clarity to the issue by looking at the components of pay, the historic levels of total pay opportunity and the critical relationship…

Compensation Advisors Deliver Advice on Taxes, Culture, and Big Investors

Reprinted editorial coverage from Leading Minds of Compensation–South, which is running in the May/June 2018 issue of NACD Directorship magazine.

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Regardless of how complex the process for setting and reporting on executive pay becomes, or how simple some critics believe the process should be, one truth reigns: money motivates. That was the theme when a panel of directors and compensation…

Preventative Care for Executive Compensation Programs

Reprinted from the May/June 2018 issue of NACD Directorship magazine

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In many cases, U.S. public companies receive a high level of support from shareholders for their annual advisory vote on the executive compensation program. Based on these results, companies often conclude there is no need to make any material changes…

NACD Leading Minds of Compensation – South

NACD's Leading Minds of Compensation program is a forum for engaged compensation committee chairs, members, and directors to exchange insights with the nation's top thought leaders.

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Meridian was proud to be a sponsor of this unique opportunity discussing the latest executive and director compensation challenges and trends. The country’s leading compensation experts including Lead Consultant, Virginia Rhodes, provided an invaluable outlook on compensation, and then opened…

2018 Trends and Developments in Executive Compensation

Meridian provides an overview of the current executive compensation and corporate governance landscape.

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In the past year, several factors have driven change in the executive compensation landscape in the U.S. Each year, Meridian identifies key developments regarding how companies respond to these ever changing conditions. (Read last year’s survey here.) This year share price…

Status of Proposals to Link State and Local Corporate Taxes to CEO Pay Ratio

As we reported last March, several jurisdictions have proposed (and one has enacted) tax surcharges, higher corporate income tax rates or fees tied to a public company’s CEO pay ratio. Since then, these proposals seem to have gained little legislative traction. This Update examines whether the ongoing public disclosures of CEO pay ratios have proven to be a catalyst for legislative action and whether other jurisdictions have proposed similar taxes.

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New Proposal – California Proposes Scaled Corporate Income Tax Rate Tied to a Public Company’s “Compensation Ratio” California is the sole jurisdiction to propose linking corporate income tax to a public company’s compensation ratio since last March. Submitted to the…

Long-Term Incentives: Compensation Committee Challenges

Inside America’s Boardrooms is a weekly web show that features board members and governance experts with varying perspectives and board committee experience hosted by TK Kerstetter.

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While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has brought some positives to the economy and certainly to select individuals, it has also brought some challenges to compensation committees as they try to figure out the correct balance for long-term incentives…

Managing Incentive Plans in a Cyclical Business

As seen in Corporate Board Member First Quarter 2018 - Compensation is always tricky, but it’s even tougher in an up-and-down business, where markets—as much as the managers—run the show. Jim Wolf, managing partner at Meridian Compensation Partners, offers advice on getting it right.

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There is no more contentious, complex or difficult issue for boards than setting up the right incentives for executives. With companies in cyclical businesses that may have commodity costs as a large portion of performance, the challenge gets even more…

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…

Sweeping Tax Reform Bill Passed by Congress

Congress has passed the most far reaching tax reform bill in over 30 years, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Act”). The Tax Act will affect nearly all taxpayers (business and individuals). Corporations will be subject to a significantly reduced income tax rate of 21% and generally will be taxed solely on U.S. based income (with some exceptions). Individuals will see the elimination of many itemized deductions but higher standard deductions and slightly lower marginal tax rates.

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Generally, the changes made to the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) under the Tax Act are effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. The changes to the corporate income tax provisions are permanent. However, most changes to individual income…