Pay Governance LLC is an independent firm that serves as a trusted advisor on executive compensation matters.
Our work helps to ensure that our clients' executive rewards programs are strongly aligned with performance and
supportive of appropriate corporate governance practices.
John R. Ellerman is a Partner based in the Dallas office of Pay Governance. John is an active consultant who advises the compensation committees of Fortune 500 companies. Several of these clients have been served by John for 15 years or more. John's clients are principally in the energy services sector; however, he also has clients and relevant experience in the retailing, high technology, general manufacturing, casual dining, and financial services industry.
Prior to joining Pay Governance, John was the managing partner in the executive compensation practice for Towers Watson (formerly Towers Perrin). For the last 15 years, John was the practice leader for that firm's executive compensation and rewards practice for the U.S. Western region.
John is a noted speaker on executive compensation and has presented to The Conference Board, WorldatWork, the Directors College of Corporate Governance, and other prominent groups. He was a contributing author of Marking Mergers Work: The Strategic Importance of People. John is often quoted in the business press and has been cited in The Wall Street Journal and other major newspapers.
In addition, John has held an appointment to the Division of Sponsored Research at M.I.T. After completing his academic pursuits and before entering the consulting profession, John served two years in the Department of Defense as a systems analyst.
John has both BBA and MBA degrees from Stetson University.
The rise in both the prevalence and prominence of long-term performance plans has been one of the most significant trends in executive compensation over the past 15 years. At the time of the dot-com market collapse (March 2000 to October 2002) and the demise of several prominent U.S. companies (e.g., the Enron scandal revealed in October 2001), long-term performance plans were only used by a relatively small portion of large U.S. public companies. Continue reading →
Perhaps the most controversial rule regarding executive compensation in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform legislation is the CEO pay ratio disclosure. This rule requires disclosure of the CEO’s pay to that of the company’s median employee. The SEC adopted final rules regarding the pay ratio disclosure requirement in calendar year 2015, and the requirement is scheduled to take effect with proxies filed in 2018. Continue reading →
Some companies in the oil and gas, energy, utility, and manufacturing industry sectors have included safety compliance and/or improvement as a performance metric in their incentive compensation plans. Safety as a performance criteria appears frequently in incentive compensation plans for both executives as well as broad-based employee groups. Now, regulators have raised a potential problem with the use of safety as a performance metric. Continue reading →
Section 409A was added to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC or “Code”) as part of the American Jobs Creation Act legislated in 2004. Essentially, Section 409A sets forth certain requirements for the effective deferral of compensation under nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements. Much of the impetus for Section 409A was the ability of certain executives to accelerate the payment of their supplemental retirement arrangements and deferred compensation at Enron immediately prior to the company’s demise. Continue reading →
Last month, U.S. regulatory agencies released two sets of new rules affecting executive compensation. One set of the new rules has been developed by the Department of Labor (DOL) and deals with defining who is a fiduciary pursuant to rendering investment advice with respect to an employee benefit plan (subject to ERISA) or an individual retirement account (IRA). The DOL’s fiduciary rule is considered to be a Final Rule and will become applicable on April 10, 2017. The second set of rules is a proposal by six U.S. financial regulatory agencies (Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, and Federal Housing Finance Agency) setting forth new policies and rules pertaining to incentive compensation plans of certain financial institutions. Continue reading →
Proxy executive compensation and Compensation Discussion & Analysis (CD&A) disclosure is principally based upon a one-year look back at executive compensation forms, levels, policies, and practices. In addition, the proxy tables and schedules which disclose the historical pay forms and levels for the Named Executive Officers (NEOs) are fixed in format and do not allow for any flexibility in reporting NEO compensation beyond that which is prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Continue reading →
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has elected to eliminate the concept of extraordinary items under Generally Accepted Accounting Rules (GAAP), effective with fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2015. Continue reading →
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) staff has had a busy summer. Following the release of proposed rules and regulations regarding the CEO Pay for Performance and Clawback provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), the SEC on August 5, 2015 proposed final rules and regulations regarding the CEO pay ratio disclosure. The CEO pay ratio disclosure fulfills a further mandate of the Dodd-Frank legislation. Continue reading →
Following the recent release of new rules and regulations regarding the proposed pay for performance disclosure requirement imposed on public companies by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has just released rules to add Section 10D to the Securities Exchange Act regarding executive officer clawbacks of incentive compensation. Continue reading →
Many large U.S. based multinational banking and financial services corporations have implemented executive compensation clawback policies that require the cancellation and forfeiture of unvested deferred cash awards or performance share unit awards. These policies typically condition the cancellation of deferred compensation if it is determined that an executive engaged in misconduct, including failure to supervise or monitor individuals engaging in inappropriate behaviors that caused harm to the organization’s operations. Continue reading →
A new Equilar report featuring commentary from Pay Governance and Donnelley Financial Solutions analyzes the compensation discussion and analysis (CD&A) section of S&P 100 proxy statements over the last five years. With the average CD&A reaching nearly 10,000 words, the report revealed key strategies in how companies design and communicate pay practices by using alternative pay graphs, checklists and other visualizations that help draw investors to the most important information.
To be redirected to Equilar and download a copy of this important report, click here.
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October 4, 2016
Pay Governance Adds New West Coast Partner
Matt Quarles has joined the firm as a Partner. In this role, Quarles is responsible for working with clients across industries on a wide range of executive compensation issues. He will be based in Los Angeles and has nearly 20 years experience in the executive compensation consulting industry.
Pay Energy®, a new proprietary assessment tool developed by Pay Governance
Pay Energy®, a new proprietary assessment tool developed by Pay Governance LLC, helps companies consider the “drive, discipline and speed” inherent in current programs and in alternative designs that may be evaluated.
“The fundamental philosophy of executive compensation is to ‘attract, retain and motivate’ a talented management team. So it’s concerning when you hear incentive awards are just put in desk drawers until plans mature,” said Pay Governance managing partner John England.