This excerpt taken from the AAPL DEF 14A filed Mar 15, 2005.
Description of the Performance Bonus Plan
ELIGIBILITY. Participants in the Bonus Plan are executive officers and key employees who are chosen solely at the discretion of the Compensation Committee. The Chief Executive Officer and all executive officers are eligible to be considered for participation in the Bonus Plan. As of December 10,
2004, all executive officers, excluding the CEO, were chosen to participate for fiscal year 2005. Because the Company's executive officers are eligible to receive awards under the Bonus Plan, the executive officers have an interest in this proposal. No person is automatically entitled to participate in the Bonus Plan in any Bonus Plan year. The Company may also pay discretionary bonuses, or other types of compensation, outside of the Bonus Plan.
PURPOSE. The purpose of the Bonus Plan is to motivate the participants to achieve certain corporate and business unit performance objectives and to reward them when those objectives are satisfied. If certain requirements are satisfied, bonuses issued under the Plan may qualify as deductible "performance-based compensation" within the meaning of Code Section 162(m).
ADMINISTRATION. The Bonus Plan will be administered by the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors, consisting of no fewer than two members of the Board. With respect to incentive compensation that is intended to qualify as "performance-based compensation" within the meaning of Code Section 162(m), each member of the Compensation Committee who does not qualify as an "outside director" within the meaning of Section 162(m) of the Code will recuse himself or abstain from acting with respect to Bonus Plan determinations and at least two members of the Compensation Committee who do qualify as "outside directors" shall make Bonus Plan determinations. The Chairman of the Compensation Committee, William V. Campbell, does not qualify as an "outside director" within the meaning of Code Section 162(m) because he once served as an officer of FileMaker, Inc., a subsidiary of the Company. Accordingly, Mr. Campbell will recuse himself or abstain from acting with respect to Bonus Plan determinations.
DETERMINATION OF AWARDS. Under the Bonus Plan, participants will be eligible to receive awards based upon the attainment and certification of certain performance criteria established by the Compensation Committee. The performance criteria the Compensation Committee may choose from may include one or more of the following:
The performance criteria may differ for each participant. Performance criteria may apply to the Company or to one of the business units. Any individual performance objectives must relate to an objective that is objectively determinable within the meaning of Code Section 162(m). For example, individual performance objectives may include objectively measurable improvement in the Company's customer satisfaction.
The Compensation Committee shall appropriately adjust any evaluation of performance under a performance criterion to exclude (i) any extraordinary non-recurring items as described in Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 30 and/or in management's discussion and analysis of financial conditions
and results of operations appearing in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K to shareholders for the applicable year, or (ii) the effect of any changes in accounting principles affecting the Company's or a business unit's reported results. The Compensation Committee retains the discretion to reduce or eliminate any award that would otherwise be payable pursuant to the Bonus Plan.
For the 2005 fiscal year, the Compensation Committee granted target awards to each executive officer, excluding the CEO, based on revenue and operating margin goals. These 2005 fiscal year bonuses are intended to qualify as deductible "performance-based" compensation under Code Section 162(m). However, if shareholders do not approve the Bonus Plan at the Annual Meeting, these bonuses will not be paid, even if the milestones are achieved, and the Bonus Plan will automatically expire.
PAYMENT OF AWARDS. All awards will be paid in cash as soon as is practicable following determination of the award, unless the Company establishes a plan to permit deferral of bonus amounts, in which case awards will be paid pursuant to the timing requirements of that plan and applicable law. The Committee may also defer the payment of awards in its discretion, as necessary or desirable to preserve the deductibility of such awards under Code Section 162(m).
MAXIMUM AWARD. The amounts that will be paid pursuant to the Bonus Plan are not currently determinable. The maximum bonus payment that any participant may receive under the Bonus Plan in any fiscal year is $5,000,000.
AMENDMENT AND TERMINATION. The Compensation Committee may amend, suspend or terminate the Bonus Plan, in whole or in part, at any time, including the adoption of amendments deemed necessary or desirable to correct any defect or supply omitted data or reconcile any inconsistency in the Bonus Plan or in any award granted thereunder. The Compensation Committee may amend or modify the Bonus Plan in any respect, or terminate the Bonus Plan, without the consent of any affected participant. However, in no event may such amendment or modification result in an increase in the amount of compensation payable pursuant to any award.
INDEMNIFICATION. The Board of Directors and Compensation Committee are generally indemnified by the Company for any liability arising from claims relating to the Bonus Plan.
FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSEQUENCES. Under present federal income tax law, participants will recognize ordinary income equal to the amount of the award received in the year of receipt. That income will be subject to applicable income and employment tax withholding by the Company. If and to the extent that the Bonus Plan payments satisfy the requirements of Section 162(m) of the Code and otherwise satisfy the requirements for deductibility under federal income tax law, the Company will receive a deduction for the amount constituting ordinary income to the participant.
AWARDS TO BE GRANTED TO CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS. Awards under the Bonus Plan are determined based on actual future performance, so future actual awards cannot now be determined.
The shareholders are being asked to approve amendments to the 2003 Employee Stock Option Plan (the "2003 Plan") that reflect current best practices in corporate governance and authorize an increase in the number of shares of Common Stock reserved for issuance thereunder by 49 million shares.
During the past few years, the Company's innovation based strategy and investments have resulted in a significantly broadened product offering including the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X, and several new application software programs. The Company has also expanded its distribution capabilities by opening over 100 of its own retail stores and substantially increasing third-party resale locations. The Company's successful execution of its strategies has led to significant revenue and earnings growth. In addition, as of February 18, 2005 the Company's stock had been the best performer in the S&P 500 index over the previous 12 months and added $27 billion in market capitalization during that same period, an increase of 312%.
The Board believes the Company's recent success is due to its highly talented employee base and that future success depends on the ability to attract and retain high caliber employees. The Company's primary center for innovation is in the Silicon Valley where it must compete with many companies, including several successful and high profile Internet search and commerce organizations, for a limited pool of talented people. The ability to grant equity awards is a necessary and powerful recruiting and retention tool for the Company to obtain the quality employees it needs to move its business forward.
The Compensation Committee (which administers the 2003 Plan) recognizes its responsibility to strike a balance between shareholder concerns regarding the potential dilutive effect of equity awards and the ability to attract, retain and reward employees whose contributions are critical to the long-term success of the Company. The Committee anticipates that the additional shares requested will fund the equity program through the end of fiscal 2007. The Company is committed to keeping the average number of options, restricted shares, and restricted share units issued from fiscal 2005 though fiscal 2007 to approximately 2.5% of shares outstanding. This represents a significant reduction from an average of 4.8% over the three previous fiscal years.
To further address shareholder concerns, the Company actively manages its program to use its equity plan resources as effectively as possible. Equity awards have been reduced and are generally limited to (1) those positions deemed critical to the Company's future success, (2) individuals whose personal performance makes them highly valuable to the Company, and (3) essential new hires. As a result, equity awards are generally granted to senior level individual contributors and management across all functions in the Company. Equity awards are granted at fair market value at date of grant, typically vest over four years, and may not be repriced without shareholder approval.
The Committee believes that the proposed amendments and additional shares are necessary for the Company to offer a competitive equity incentive program. If approved, the additional shares will be a critical factor in attracting, retaining, and rewarding the high caliber employees that are essential to the Company's future success. The 2003 Plan is the Company's only active equity plan and if shareholders do not approve the proposed increase in shares authorized under the plan, the Company will not be able to continue its equity program. This will likely preclude the Company from successfully attracting and retaining the best possible talent.