This excerpt taken from the ATVI DEF 14A filed Apr 22, 2009.
Our long-term incentive program is intended to drive long-term value creation, create alignment with stockholders' interests and provide retention. The program consists primarily of stock options as well as restricted stock and restricted share units (collectively referred to as "restricted share awards"). Stock options provide value to the executives only in the event the stock price increases, consistent with stockholder objectives. Restricted share awards mirror the ownership interest of stockholders, further aligning the interests of our executives with those of stockholders. Restricted share awards also serve as a pure retention vehicle since we generally vest these grants based on continued employment. We believe a combination of stock options and restricted share awards serve to appropriately balance the objectives of the program.
In granting equity to executive officers, we typically place a 70-80% weight on options and a 20-30% weight on restricted share awards. We weight options more heavily because their value to the executive remains more strongly tied to our stock price growth, as options provide value to executives only if our stock price appreciates above the price on the grant date. Restricted share awards also reward executives for improved stock performance, while at the same time enhancing executive retention by ensuring a competitive level of compensation.
For executive officers, we provide long-term incentive grants as part of an employment agreement to secure long-term commitments to our multi-year business growth strategy. Since equity grants are provided to executive officers at the hiring of a new executive officer or the renewal of an executive officer's employment agreement, the value of the awards reflects a multi-year award. Generally, we do not provide supplemental annual long-term incentive grants to executive officers unless there are circumstances that warrant additional long-term incentive awards.
All grants of equity securities to employees, including those to executive officers in connection with new or renewed employment agreements, are approved by our Compensation Committee, and, where appropriate, the Section 16 Subcommittee. The effective date of the grant is generally the third trading day following approval if approval is obtained during an open trading window under our insider trading policy. In the event that the Compensation Committee determines to approve a grant when the window is not open because, for example, we are in a regularly scheduled quarter-end blackout period, the effective date of the grant ordinarily is delayed until the window is next scheduled to be open. Stock options have an exercise price equal to the NASDAQ Official Closing Price of our Common Stock on the effective date as reported on Nasdaq.com.
During the nine month period ended December 31, 2008, we provided long-term incentive awards to Messrs. Kotick, Griffith, and Morhaime. For Mr. Kotick and Mr. Griffith, the awards were provided in recognition of their roles and accomplishments in connection with the Combination, and for Mr. Morhaime to appropriately tie his compensation to the success of the new combined organization. For Mr. Kotick and Mr. Morhaime, the value of the equity grants was determined based on the terms of their employment agreements, and for Mr. Griffith, the Compensation Committee utilized its subjective judgment and knowledge of employment agreement provisions with others to reward him for his accomplishments in the nine month period ended December 31, 2008.
During the nine month period ended December 31, 2008, Mr. Kotick and Mr. Kelly both received awards pursuant to their replacement bonus agreements.