- Annual Retainer - The median annual retainer remains unchanged from last year, at $100,000. The last time the median annual retainer increased was in 2014, when it increased to $100,000 from the 2013 median annual retainer of $90,000. The overwhelming majority (99.3 percent) of the companies paid directors an annual retainer, with most of these companies providing this retainer in cash.
- Long-Term Incentive Packages - The median value of long-term incentive packages remained steady at $150,000, though the mix of elements of those packages has evolved. There is a growing trend away from stock options, toward restricted stock. Now only 7.7 percent of the analyzed companies granted directors stock options, versus 8.3 percent the previous year. Restricted stock continues to be the most prevalent means of rewarding directors, with 79.7 percent of companies using this incentive, up from 72.3 percent the previous year. In sum, the data show that 81 percent of the companies granted directors some form of long-term incentive compensation, up from 74.3 percent the previous year.
- A premium for committee chairs - In recognition of the additional responsibility and time commitment, virtually all of the companies in the study paid an additional retainer to committee chairs. The study found 96.7 percent paid their audit committee chair a median retainer of $25,000, versus $21,000 last year; 95.7 percent paid their compensation committee chair a median retainer of $20,000, which is unchanged from last year; and 92 percent paid their nominating/governance committee chair a median retainer of $15,000, which is also unchanged from last year.
- Few committee member retainers offered, except for audit - Perhaps a reflection of the added time commitment and specialized expertise, the percentage of companies paying a retainer to audit committee members ticked upward from 40.3 percent to 41 percent, while the median retainer increased from $10,000 to $12,000. Twenty-six percent of companies paid a compensation committee retainer, a median retainer of $10,000, which is unchanged since last year. Companies were least likely to offer retainers to members of their nominating/governance committees, with only 24 percent of companies saying they do so, with a median of $10,000, which is up $1,000 from the previous year.
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