How to Adopt a Dynamic Approach to CEO Compensation

Mitigate Risk and Improve Compliance

CEO compensation governance is fast paced, and it can be seemingly impossible to stay ahead of the ever-changing industry trends. The industry tends to move so quickly that a seasoned executive may not even be aware that they are at risk for creating a Board that is non-compliant when creating dynamic incentive plans for the CEO and other key senior managers.

“Many classical models of CEO compensation consider only a single period, or multiple periods with a single terminal consumption. However, the optimal static contract may be ineffective in a dynamic world. In reality, securities given to incentivize the CEO may lose their power over time: if the firm value declines, options may fall out-of-the-money and bear little sensitivity to the stock price. The CEO may be able to engage in private saving, to achieve a higher future income than intended by the contract, in turn reducing his effort incentives. Single-period contracts can encourage the CEO to engage in short-termism/myopia, i.e., inflate the current stock price at the expense of long-run value. In addition to the above challenges, a dynamic setting provides opportunities to the firm, the firm can reward effort with future rather than current pay.” Alex Edmans, Xavier Gabaix, Tomasz Sadzik, and Yuliy Sannikov; Harvard University

Global Governance Advisors (GGA) provides a wide-ranging review and evaluation of board structure, director pay, governance policies and board performance. We also help to define and articulate each client’s organization compensation philosophy in terms of desired pay positioning, peer group, short and long-term compensation, performance management, succession, retention and recruiting strategies.

Global Governance Advisors works with its clients to address the challenge of creating and maintaining a compliant Board room, by helping Corporate Directors prioritize the following 4 Ps of Effective Corporate Governance:

1. Participation 

An impactful Corporate Director will foster an environment that encourages open dialogue between the Board and management and urges them to engage in human capital discussions. The dialogue and advancement of strong corporate governance is fundamental – not only to your bottom line for the next quarter, but to the long-term goals of your organization for many years to come. All in all, participation is needed to ensure that the Board and management are steadily collaborating to fulfil their compliance requirements.

2. Perception

It’s essential for a Corporate Director to understand his or her shareholders. To accomplish this, Corporate Directors need to work hand in hand with their IR and Corporate Secretary to efficiently monitor the institutional and retail shareholders along with advisory firm guideline changes.

3. Preparedness

Preparation breeds success. To maintain compliance, Corporate Directors must stay prepared and ahead of industry trends including shareholder perspectives, industry, capital markets and exchange rules.

4. Proactivity

Corporate Directors are responsible for completing an annual risk assessment, which includes the production of an annual work plan. Since compensation adjustments work in annual cycles, Corporate Directors need to carve out a sufficient amount of time to efficiently develop annual work plans, prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year. At a minimum, the work plan should reflect the compensation committees charter. To accomplish this, they need to appoint their compensation advisor early so that he or she has ample time to prepare preliminary drafts for the Chair’s review and schedule any pre-meetings. Compensation trends move relatively quickly, and an active advisor with access to deep resources can be invaluable to directors and help management get ahead of potential issues before they may arise.

Global Governance Advisors (GGA) is a top 5 North American Human Capital Management firm that services boards of directors and senior management by providing transformative Human Capital Management governance advisory services.

Written by Paul Gryglewicz

Jul 5, 2018

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