July 18, 2018

Tying Executive Pay to Diversity

Here’s something I blogged yesterday on This Forbes op-ed notes that a few “pace-setting companies” now link executive bonuses to diversity objectives – and makes the case for more companies to follow suit. Here’s an excerpt:

If an objective is important, then the company should ensure (1) its employees know about it and (2) that their performance in meeting this goal will be measured along with the company’s other core values and targets. Fostering greater diversity and preventing harassment and discrimination is more than simply the right thing to do on a broader societal level. Indeed, a business case exists for these initiatives. According to research by McKinsey & Company, achieving these goals correlates with concrete financial improvement.

At Intel & Microsoft, diversity is one of the strategic performance goals that determine 50% of executives’ annual cash incentives. This is described on pg. 66 of Intel’s proxy statement – and on pg. 39 of Microsoft’s proxy statement.

At Alphabet, a recent shareholder proposal to link executive pay to diversity received about 9% of the vote. The company’s statement in opposition (pg. 66) noted that the CEO receives a base salary of only $1 per year and isn’t paid based on performance – so it argued that a rule like this would have little impact. And at Nike, a similar proposal was withdrawn after the company agreed to meet quarterly to discuss diversity.

Restatements: 17-Year Low

Recently, Audit Analytics released its annual report on restatement trends: “2017 Financial Restatements: A Seventeen Year Comparison.” The aggregate number of restatements fell to 553 last year – the lowest in 17 years. The number of restatements was about 18% lower than in 2016 – and as we blogged at the time on “The Mentor Blog” – that was a previous low. Here’s an interesting detail from Cydney Posner’s blog (also see this Compliance Week article):

The review distinguishes between “reissuance restatements” (meaning that, as the title suggests, the financials are withdrawn and cannot be relied on—necessitating the filing of an 8-K — and new financials are issued) and “revision restatements” (where the errors are just corrected and explanatory notes included). It’s not hard to guess which type of restatement is preferred by most companies; not surprisingly, the report indicates that around 77% of restatements were of the “revision” persuasion. Reissuance restatements have declined each year for the past 10 years. The number of revision restatements has also declined. And 168 restatements had no impact on earnings.

FYI: Conference Hotel Nearly Sold Out

As always happens this time of year, our Conference Hotel – the San Diego Marriott Marquis – is nearly sold out. Reserve your room online or by calling 877.622.3056. Be sure to mention the NASPP conference or Executive Compensation Conference or Proxy Disclosure Conference. If you have any difficulty securing a room, please contact us at 925.685.9271.

Reduced Rates – Act by August 10th: Time to act on the registration information for our popular conferences – “Pay Ratio & Proxy Disclosure Conference” & “Say-on-Pay Workshop: 15th Annual Executive Compensation Conference” – to be held September 25-26 in San Diego and via Live Nationwide Video Webcast. Here are the agendas – nearly 20 panels over two days. So register by August 10th to take advantage of the discount.

Liz Dunshee