My Story

I have worked on dozens of cases centered on the issue of compensation. See the Litigation Case History link.

In Hollywood, they say that there are only 7 stories.  In compensation litigation, there are as many as 9 stories, and I have worked on all 9. I have worked on cases from Vancouver BC to Raleigh, NC, from NYC to OC, and many in-between.

Sometimes I turn down cases after the initial conversation because I don’t think the prospective client is on the right side of the dispute. But in that conversation I always tell them what I would do if I was the expert on the opposing side and they are always grateful for that. It doesn’t matter whether they are the plaintiff or the defendant. I am not a “hired gun” expert.

I do expert witness work not just for money because I do a lot of consulting, teaching, and investing for income. I do it because I am passionate about justice and how fortunate we are to live in a country with a true justice system.

Helping adjudicators make better rulings is important to me. I work with the lawyers to ensure that the judge, jury, arbitrator, or mediator understands the complex compensation issues. I support my arguments with an extensive factual base. That is why I am so effective in compensation litigation.

“At the time of writing I never think of what I have said before. My aim is not be be consistent with my previous statements on a given question, but to be consistent with truth as it may present itself to me at the given moment. The result has been that I have grown from truth to truth.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

About Me

(In Third Person So You Can Copy Paste)

Fred Whittlesey, a compensation expert witness, is Founder and Principal Consultant of Compensation Venture Group, SPC (a Washington Social Purpose Corporation). He has been providing expert witness and litigation support services for over 30 years.  His globally-recognized expertise in executive compensation, incentive compensation, equity compensation, and employment agreements has provided valuable support in a variety of legal cases.  The increasingly technical and complex nature of executive and equity compensation creates the need for educating adjudicators and legal counsel on technical points and helping identify key issues in cases. Fred has issued opinions on reasonableness of compensation, loss of earnings, federal and state tax challenges, change-in-control provisions (golden parachutes), interpretation of employment and compensation agreements, and opposing experts’ methodologies.  He has supported both defendants and plaintiffs, and clients have included corporate entities, classes, individual executives, and law firms.

  • Fred’s thought leadership in the field of compensation is evidenced by his delivery of more than 300 conference presentations, seminars, certification courses, webinars and audiocasts
  • He has authored more than 50 journal and magazine articles, book chapters, white papers, and sponsored papers
  • Fred has been interviewed and quoted more than 100 times by more than 30 different media sources including Associated Press, Bloomberg Business Week, Across the Board, Fortune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Seattle Times, San Jose Mercury News, and San Francisco Chronicle
  • He has provided research for investigate journalism for The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe
  • Compensation Venture Group’s databases track executive and director compensation trends, say-on-pay voting outcomes, compensation litigation, and court rulings

Severance provisions, change-in-control provisions, conflicts between plan documents and other documents, incentive compensation calculations, compensation plan definitions, wrongful termination damages, resume falsification damages, stock options, restricted stock, stock appreciation rights.

Valuation formulae, plan definitions, change-in-control provisions.

Effect on incentive plan payouts, effect on equity plan value, 280G calculations, tax-gross-up provisions.

Challenges by federal and state tax authorities, regulatory agencies (banking, utilities, government contracting), shareholder disputes, earnings potential.

Excessive compensation, undercompensation, valuation of long-term incentives, compensation versus dividends.