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Predicting the Future of E&P Bonus Design

The current oil and gas market challenges are testing the efficacy of prevailing bonus plan structures among exploration and production (E&P) companies.

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E&P bonus plans have historically aligned with growth and investment, focusing on volume (production and reserves) and cost reduction, measures that are more controllable by management and less impacted by commodity prices than earnings-based metrics. In recent years, investors and…

How should oil & gas companies approach their 2020 annual bonus?

“Wait and see” seems to be the mantra of the day, particularly when it comes to an energy company’s annual bonus plan.

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“Wait and see” seems to be the mantra of the day, particularly when it comes to an energy company’s annual bonus plan. We think that’s a prudent approach for the moment, as much uncertainty remains among the energy industry and…

Meridian Promotes Two New Partners

Meridian Compensation Partners is pleased to announce that Jon Szabo (Dallas) and Virginia Rhodes (Atlanta) have been elected to join the partnership effective January 1, 2020.

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Each year Meridian evaluates partner candidates based on a broad range of important criteria covering personal attributes, outstanding client service and consulting skills, financial contributions and personal values. Jon helped launch Meridian in 2010, and has been a strong contributor…

Time to Check Your Equity Incentive Plan Share Reserve

With depressed energy stocks, more shares are now needed to maintain recent levels of employee equity awards.

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This increase in share use also means that equity incentive plan reserves will drain at a faster rate, and may run out sooner than expected. Companies often ask for more shares when there is roughly enough left in the plan…

How Should Boards Handle Involuntary CEO Retirement?

Meridian Lead Consultant Jon Szabo spoke with Corporate Board Member in the video below about how boards can navigate the uncharted territory of involuntary retirements from CEOs and how to craft their exit packages.

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In the first quarter of 2019 alone, more than 20 CEOs of large public companies announced their resignations. This uptick in C-level departures, which included several “involuntary retirements,” has compensation committees rethinking their approaches to officer-level severance pay. CBM recently…

Despite Strong 2016 Shareholder Returns, Certain Energy Companies Struggle with Say on Pay

In 2016, the oil and gas industry generated positive returns for shareholders, but in 2017 oil and gas companies lagged general industry in Say on Pay support.

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ISS recommended against 18% of oil and gas companies vs. 12% for the entire Russell 3000, and 3% of oil and gas companies failed Say on Pay (i.e., <50% support) compared to only 1% in the Russell 3000. ISS recommended…

IS A THREE-YEAR PERFORMANCE PERIOD REALLY LONG-TERM?

Tom McNeill and Jon Szabo of Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC discuss how three years being the standard for "long-term" incentive is not really long-term at all.

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Find this article and more in the NYSE Governance Services Corporate Board Member Magazine – nyse.com/governance Over the last 10–15 years, we have observed a sea change in long-term incentive (LTI) award design. The role of stock options has dramatically…

Effective Use of Discretion in Annual Incentives

Analyzing bonus payout outcomes of publicly traded E&P companies.

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Going into 2015, annual incentive goal-setting was challenging for oil & gas companies, to say the least. E&P companies were wrestling with lowering production, where production growth is traditionally a cornerstone E&P bonus metric. Services and drilling companies were experiencing…

ISS’s Say on Pay Vote Recommendations Surprisingly Similar to Last Year

Some experts expected more "against" votes for the energy industry this year, but that did not come to fruition.

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Heading into this recently past proxy season, experts speculated that ISS might recommend “against” say on pay proposals among the energy industry at a higher rate compared to last year assuming the dramatic decline in stock prices, driven by the…

Making the Most of Lighter Summer Agendas

Summer is an opportune time to think about the company’s preparedness in the event of significant change.

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Summer tends to be a less busy time in the executive compensation cycle where Committees meet less frequently, agendas are lighter and any “pet projects” are addressed. It offers an opportune time to think about the company’s preparedness in the…

The End of Deferred Compensation?

Proposed Legislation Could Render the Tax Saving Effectiveness of Deferred Compensation Inert

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Our last post introduced some thoughts around proposed legislation by the Republican Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee that would effectively end tax deductibility of compensation under IRC Section 162(m). I’d like to explore the other aspect of…

Keeping Pace During Growth

How to Avoid the Lag in Compensation Practices That Occurs When Firms Grow Quickly

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Recent headlines of Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners LP receiving a $5 billion equity valuation and a flurry of energy IPOs in the last 12-24 months are reminders that change and growth can occur quickly, especially in the energy industry.…