Insights

The $1 Salary: Lessons Learned

Periodically we receive requests from our clients to profile advantages, challenges, and best practices associated with administering pay programs that combine a very modest base salary with large equity grants.

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Periodically we receive requests from our clients to profile advantages, challenges, and best practices associated with administering pay programs that combine a very modest base salary with large equity grants. The $1 Salary Plan is the most extreme version of…

Managing Disclosure on Personal Use of Corporate Aircraft

Personal use of corporate aircraft remains a popular perquisite among many of the largest public companies.

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In addition to getting executives to important business destinations and enabling them to work proactively while traveling, many companies provide top executives the opportunity to use the corporate aircraft for non-business purposes, including travel to outside company board meetings, spousal…

Managing Executive Incentive Programs for Chemical Companies

Designing and managing effective compensation programs is challenging for chemical industry companies due to the highly cyclical and global nature of the business.

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This article offers some useful context and information for compensation committees and management teams of chemical companies to consider when designing and managing their executive pay programs. In particular, we cover key attributes of the industry and their impact on…

Use Compensation to Advance ESG Initiatives

From the July/August 2019 issue of the NACD Directorship magazine.

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Directors should take a close look at how their companies can use compensation to advance an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy. A key to ESG oversight is the board’s examination of how compensation reflects and advances the company’s commitment…

IPOs and Executive Pay

Reprinted from Ethical Boardroom Autumn 2018 Issue

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As the equity markets have recovered and continued to grow since the financial crisis, many private companies are considering an initial public offering (IPO) of their stock as a way to raise capital and create liquidity for their existing investors…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

Aligning Executive Pay With Company Performance

From C-Suite: An Equilar Publication Issue 25, Fall 2017 - Ask the Experts "A Delicate Balance...What Will be the Biggest Risk for Corporate Boards Looking Forward to 2018?"

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From an executive compensation perspective, boards have an important duty to pay executives appropriately in line with the underlying performance of the company. The age-old issue of paying for performance seems more complex than ever—and more highly scrutinized! The design…

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…

Executive Compensation in the Banking Industry

Emerging Trends and Best Practices 2016-2017

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Introduction Bank executive compensation practices continue to evolve, as does the regulatory influence on pay programs. Eight years after the Dodd Frank Act was signed, incentive compensation rules under Section 956 of the Act remain outstanding and seem unlikely to…

Lessons From Wells Fargo: Forfeiture and Clawback Policies

The Wells Fargo & Co. sales incentive fraud scandal has further increased the scrutiny on banking industry compensation practices.

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As published in BankDirector.com By: Susan O’Donnell, Daniel Rodda| SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2017 Since 2010, banks have followed the Interagency Guidance on Sound Incentive Compensation Policies and reviewed their incentive plans to ensure they do not motivate inappropriate risk taking. However,…