We have a new incentive plan, what could possibly go wrong? (almost everything)

Fred WhittleseyCannabis Compensation Consultants, Conscious Compensation: The Impact Compensation Blog, Pay and Performance: The Compensation Blog

In this week’s edition of The Economist, the columnist Bagehot writes “How the British government rules by algorithm” (subscription required, and well worth it!). Compensation professionals: don’t leave this blog posting just yet. I’ll cite three examples they reference that speak for themselves, all direct quotes from the concise one-page article. “Targets create three common problems. They produce perverse results … Read More

“Retirement” or “Severance” and the disclosure of either or neither or both

Fred WhittleseyCannabis Compensation Consultants, Conscious Compensation: The Impact Compensation Blog, Pay and Performance: The Compensation Blog

Topic: Executive CompensationSub-Topic: Compensation Arrangements for Departing ExecutiveCompany: Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) Most small companies have no retirement benefits or pensions, especially entrepreneurial cannabis companies. This follows the pattern of technology company startups over the past several decades. They frequently have severance arrangements for departing executives, and these are quite varied, from “none” to “lots” and every gradation in between Arena … Read More

The Problem with CEO “Pay Cuts”

Fred WhittleseyConscious Compensation: The Impact Compensation Blog, Pay and Performance: The Compensation Blog

CEO “pay cuts” are in vogue, from 100% salary reductions at companies including Alaska Airlines, Marriott, and Dick’s Sporting Goods to meaningless cosmetic actions like the CEO of Southwest Airlines taking a 10% salary reduction.  These actions are concentrated in the industries most affected by the COVID-19 crisis:  Airlines, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, and the like. These range from 100% salary reductions … Read More

Stupid Compensation Plans – The Next Chapter

Fred WhittleseyConscious Compensation: The Impact Compensation Blog, Effective Equity: The Equity Compensation Blog, Pay and Performance: The Compensation Blog

I am not understanding how a prospective, not retroactive, reduction in corporate tax rates should result in boards of directors and executives thinking that this should justify a $1,000 bonus for every employee.  Whether you are an airline, or a bank, or neither an airline or a bank.  Nevermind pay-for-performance so that people about to be fired get the same as the … Read More

It’s Time to Kill Merit Increase Processes and Salary Budget Surveys – What Better Time to Start Than Labor Day?

Fred WhittleseyConscious Compensation: The Impact Compensation Blog, Pay and Performance: The Compensation Blog

Fred Whittlesey Compensation Venture Group, SPC An oversize postcard in my mailbox today – yes, a real physical heavy stock paper postcard – is touting the value of the 44th annual salary budget survey from a compensation professional association. The pitch says that this survey “will provide the knowledge you need.” If I told you that the message on the … Read More

Restructuring Executive Incentive Metrics for Sustainability

Fred WhittleseyConscious Compensation: The Impact Compensation Blog, Pay and Performance: The Compensation Blog

The growing global movement of corporate social responsibility, sustainability, conscious capitalism and environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria is on a collision course with the executive compensation world’s focus on shareholders and adherence to proxy advisers’ checklists. Executive compensation performance measures must evolve quickly, but what’s lacking is a cohesive and comprehensive framework for defining metrics that are consistent with … Read More

Equity Compensation in Private Companies – Still Full of Landmines

Fred WhittleseyEffective Equity: The Equity Compensation Blog, Pay and Performance: The Compensation Blog

  A new report by Proskauer Rose LLP summarizes IPO activity in 2016 and includes some of the equity compensation problems that continue to dog these new companies.  For example, “66% of health care issuers received a cheap stock comment” from the SEC.  (Proskauer includes biotech and biopharma companies in the “health care” sector.) What the SEC calls “cheap stock” – equity … Read More

Executive Compensation for Private Companies (sic)

Fred WhittleseyEffective Equity: The Equity Compensation Blog, Pay and Performance: The Compensation Blog

  Wikipedia says that: The Latin adverb sic (“thus”; “just as”; in full: sic erat scriptum, “thus was it written”) inserted after a quoted word or passage, indicates that the quoted matter has been transcribed exactly as found in the source text, complete with any erroneous or archaic spelling, surprising assertion, faulty reasoning, or other matter that might otherwise be taken as an error of transcription. I … Read More