Improving Executive Compensation Oversight and Pay Processes

In light of the increased risks associated with executive compensation programs, The Conference Board recently established a task force to develop guidance for companies looking to improve their pay processes and oversight.  The guidance has been published and centers on five principles that companies should strive to achieve.  Here are the five principles.

Principle One—Paying for the right things and paying for performance

Compensation programs should be designed to drive a company’s business strategy and objectives and create shareholder value, consistent with an acceptable risk profile and through legal and ethical means. To that end, a significant portion of pay should be incentive compensation, with payouts demonstrably tied to performance and paid only when performance can be reasonably assessed.

Principle Two—The “right” total compensation

Total compensation should be attractive to executives, affordable for the company, proportional to the executive’s contribution, and fair to shareholders and employees, while providing payouts clearly aligned with actual performance.

Principle Three—Avoid controversial pay practices

Companies should avoid controversial pay practices, unless special justification is present.

Principle Four—Credible board oversight of executive compensation

Compensation committees should demonstrate credible oversight of executive compensation. To effectively fulfill this role, compensation committees should be independent, experienced, and knowledgeable about the company’s business.

Principle Five—Transparent communications and increased dialogue with shareholders

Compensation should be transparent, understandable, and effectively communicated to shareholders. When questions arise, boards and shareholders should have meaningful dialogue about executive compensation.

These guiding principles seem to provide what many may say is simply common sense advice.  However, given the environment that we find ourselves in today, common sense such as this may not be as common as one might think.

improving pay processes


About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at

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