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Revisiting Board Pay in a Time of Crisis

Many companies are re-examining their non-employee director compensation programs in light of COVID-19-related disruptions.

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There is a clear appetite to set the right tone at the top as business leaders balance (a) keeping their workforce and customers safe and healthy with (b) navigating supply chain uncertainty and weakened demand for their products and services.…

ISS Issues Final Policy Updates for 2020

On November 11, 2019, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) issued final updates to its proxy voting policies for 2020 and on November 21, 2019, ISS issued further guidance in its preliminary FAQs for 2020 compensation policies. The updates represent an incremental change to existing ISS policies and the implementation of phased-in policies related to non-employee director compensation and board gender diversity.

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Final Policy/Process Updates for 2020 ISS has made the following modifications to its U.S. pay-for-performance assessment for 2020: ■ Easing the quantitative concern thresholds under its initial three-part comparative quantitative analysis of CEO pay and company performance, and ■ Using…

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…

ISS Evaluation of Director Pay Could Lead to Negative Vote Recommendation on Select Board Members in 2019

Beginning this proxy season, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) began to examine the reasonableness of non-employee director pay. The outcome of this examination could lead ISS to issue a negative vote recommendation on incumbent directors serving on the board committee responsible for setting director pay who are standing for election in 2019.

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Under its new proxy voting policy on non-employee director compensation, ISS will generally recommend shareholders vote AGAINST members of the board committee that are responsible for approving or setting non-employee director (NED) compensation if there is a pattern (i.e., 2…

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…

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…

Matthew Isakson on NACD’s Leading Minds of Compensation

This interactive forum was a must-attend event for proactive and inquisitive corporate directors and chief executives.

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Meridian Partner Matthew Isakson was a panelist for the NACD’s Leading Minds of Compensation – West where top compensation experts provided invaluable insight on all things executive compensation and then participated in an audience-led question and answer session. Participants had…

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…

Bigger Shoes to Fill

Meridian Partner Tom Ramagnano discusses aligning shareholder value with director pay in this article from Equilar C-Suite magazine.

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Find this article and more in the most recent issue of Equilar C-Suite magazine. Find past issues of C-Suite at Equilar.com. Boards walk a fine line to align director pay with shareholder value By Ryan Villard   Boards of directors…

Are You Paying Your Lead Director Appropriately?

Boards may need to rethink pay practices as the role of the lead director evolves.

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Looking at larger companies’ practices for compensating outside directors, lead directors are typically provided a cash retainer of approximately $30,000 for performing this role in addition to the regular outside director pay package. This retainer is oftentimes the same or…

ISS 2016-2017 Policy Survey Summary of Key Items

ISS’s recent Policy Survey previews potential changes in its 2017 proxy voting policies.

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

Settlement of Director Pay Lawsuit Provides Best Practices Framework

Meridian examines the terms of this recent settlement and explains how it should influence director pay practices.

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A recent settlement of a shareholder lawsuit alleging excessive compensation to non-employee directors provides a framework for best practices related to director pay. Last month, the Delaware Chancery Court approved a settlement of Calma v. Templeton, a derivative lawsuit that…

Director Pay Spotlight

Meridian senior consultant Matthew Wolfson provides commentary on director pay for Equilar's C-SUITE magazine.

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Read senior consultant Matthew Wolfson‘s commentary on equity grant levels, trends in meeting fees, and more in “Director Pay Spotlight” from Equilar’s C-SUITE magazine.

Updates to ISS & Glass Lewis Compensation & Related Policies

Policy changes have implications for both equity plan voting and director over-boarding.

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ISS has changed its methodology for assessing treasury-based incentive plans with effect in 2016. In addition, both ISS and Glass Lewis have changed their standards for director “over-boarding” with effect in 2017. Equity Plan Voting As expected, ISS is introducing…

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…