Corning DEF 14A 2007
Documents found in this filing:
INFORMATION REQUIRED IN PROXY STATEMENT
SCHEDULE 14A INFORMATION
Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the
Filed by the Registrant [x]
(Name of Registrant as Specified In Its Charter)
(Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement, if Other Than the Registrant)
Payment of Filing Fee (Check the appropriate box):
1) Title of each class of securities to which transaction applies:
NOTICE OF 2007 ANNUAL MEETING
Notice of 2007
Notice of Annual Meeting
To Shareholders of Corning Incorporated:
You are cordially invited to attend the Annual Meeting of Corning Incorporated which will be held in The Corning Museum of Glass Auditorium, Corning, New York, on Thursday, April 26, 2007 at 11:00 oclock a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The principal business of the meeting will be:
Your vote is important to us. Please vote by one of the following methods whether or not you plan to attend the meeting:
By order of the Board of Directors.
Denise A. Hauselt
February 26, 2007
About the Meeting
Why Did You Send Me This Proxy Statement?
We sent you this proxy statement and the enclosed proxy card because our Board of Directors is soliciting your proxy to vote at the 2007 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. This proxy statement summarizes information concerning the matters to be presented at the meeting and related information that will help you make an informed vote at the meeting. This proxy statement and the accompanying proxy card are first being mailed to shareholders on or about March 13, 2007.
When Is The Annual Meeting?
The annual meeting will be held on Thursday, April 26, 2007, at 11:00 a.m., EST, at The Corning Museum of Glass Auditorium, Corning, New York.
What Am I Voting On?
At the annual meeting, you will be voting:
How Do You Recommend That I Vote On These Items?
The Board of Directors recommends that you vote FOR each of the director nominees, FOR the ratification of the Boards appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as our independent auditors for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2007 and AGAINST the Shareholder Proposal.
Who Is Entitled To Vote?
You may vote if you owned our common shares as of the close of business on February 26, 2007, the record date for the annual meeting.
How Many Votes Do I Have?
You are entitled to one vote for each common share you own. As of the close of business on February 7, 2007, we had 1,569,697,474 common shares outstanding. The shares held in our treasury are not considered outstanding and will not be voted or considered present at the meeting.
How Do I Vote By Proxy Before The Meeting?
Before the meeting, registered shareholders may vote shares in one of the following three ways:
Please refer to the proxy card for further instructions on voting via the Internet and by Telephone.
Please use only one of the three ways to vote.
Please follow the directions on your proxy card carefully. If you hold shares in the name of a broker, your ability to vote those shares by Telephone or via the Internet depends on the voting procedures used by your broker, as explained below under the question How Do I Vote If My Broker Holds My Shares In Street Name? The New York Business Corporation Law provides that a shareholder may appoint a proxy by electronic transmission, so we believe that the Telephone and Internet voting procedures available to shareholders are valid and consistent with the requirements of applicable law.
May I Vote My Shares In Person At The Meeting?
Yes. You may vote your shares at the meeting if you attend in person, even if you previously submitted a proxy card or voted by Internet or Telephone. Whether or not you plan to attend the meeting, however, we encourage you to vote your shares by proxy before the meeting.
May I Change My Mind After I Vote?
Yes. You may change your vote or revoke your proxy at any time before the polls close at the meeting. You may change your vote by:
You also may revoke your proxy prior to the meeting without submitting any new vote by sending a written notice that you are withdrawing your vote to our Corporate Secretary at the address listed above.
What Shares Are Included On My Proxy Card?
Your proxy card includes shares held in your own name and shares held in any Corning plan. You may vote these shares by Internet, Telephone or mail, all as described on the enclosed proxy card.
How Do I Vote If I Participate In The Corning Investment Plan?
If you hold shares in the Corning Investment Plan, which includes shares held in the Corning Stock Fund in the 401(k) plan, these shares have been added to your other holdings on your proxy card. Your completed proxy card serves as voting instructions to the trustee of the plan. You may direct the trustee how to vote your plan shares by submitting your proxy vote for those shares, along with the rest of your shares, by Internet, Telephone or mail, all as described on the enclosed proxy card. If you do not instruct the trustee how to vote, your plan shares will be voted by the trustee in the same proportion that it votes shares in other plan accounts for which it did receive timely voting instructions.
How Do I Vote If My Broker Holds My Shares In Street Name?
If your shares are held in a brokerage account in the name of your bank or broker (this is called street name), those shares are not included in the total number of shares listed as owned by you on the enclosed proxy card. Instead, your bank or broker will send you directions on how to vote those shares.
Will My Shares Held In Street Name Be Voted If I Do Not Provide My Proxy?
If your shares are held in the name of a brokerage firm, your shares might be voted even if you do not provide the brokerage firm with voting instructions. Under the current rules of the New York Stock Exchange, on certain routine matters, brokerage firms have the discretionary authority to vote shares for which their customers do not provide voting instructions. The election of directors and the proposal to ratify the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as our independent auditors are considered routine matters for this purpose, assuming that no contest arises as to any of these matters. The shareholder proposal is not considered a routine matter and your bank or broker will not be permitted to vote your shares unless proper voting instructions are received from you.
If you sign and return your proxy card or complete the Internet or Telephone voting procedures, but do not specify how you want to vote your shares, we will vote them as follows:
If you participate in the Corning Investment Plan and do not submit timely voting instructions, the trustee of the plan will vote the shares in your plan account in the same proportion that it votes shares in other plan accounts for which it did receive timely voting instructions, as explained above under the question How Do I Vote If I Participate In The Corning Investment Plan?
What Does It Mean If I Receive More Than One Proxy Card?
If you received more than one proxy card, you have multiple accounts with your brokers or our transfer agent. Please vote all of these shares. We recommend that you contact your broker or our transfer agent to consolidate as many accounts as possible under the same name and address. You may contact our transfer agent, Computershare Investor Services, LLC, at 1-800-255-0461.
Who May Attend The Meeting?
The annual meeting is open to all holders of our common shares. To attend the meeting, you will need to register upon arrival. We also may check for your name on our shareholders list and ask you to produce valid identification. If your shares are held in street name by your broker or bank, you should bring your most recent brokerage account statement or other evidence of your share ownership. If we cannot verify that you own Corning shares, it is possible that you may not be admitted to the meeting.
May Shareholders Ask Questions At The Meeting?
Yes. Our representatives will answer your questions of general interest at the end of the meeting. In order to give a greater number of shareholders the opportunity to ask questions, we may impose certain procedural requirements, such as limiting repetitive or follow-up questions.
How Many Shares Must Be Present To Hold The Meeting?
In order for us to conduct our meeting, a majority of our outstanding common shares as of February 26, 2007, must be present in person or by proxy at the meeting. This is called a quorum. Your shares are counted as present at the meeting if you attend the meeting and vote in person or if you properly return a proxy by Internet, Telephone or mail.
How Many Votes Are Needed To Elect Directors?
The director nominees receiving the highest number of FOR votes will be elected as directors. This number is called a plurality. Consequently, shares that are not voted, because you marked your proxy card to withhold authority for all or some nominees, or because you did not complete and return your proxy card, will have no impact on the election of directors.
How Many Votes Are Needed To Ratify The Appointment Of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP As Our Independent Auditors?
Shareholder approval for the appointment of our independent auditors is not required, but the Audit Committee and the Board are submitting the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for ratification in order to obtain the views of our shareholders. The ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as Cornings independent auditors requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares present at the meeting in person or by proxy and entitled to vote. If the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is not ratified, the Audit Committee will consider the shareholders views in the future selection of Cornings auditors.
How Many Votes Are Needed To Approve The Adoption Of The Shareholder Proposal?
Approval of the Shareholder Proposal, if properly presented at the meeting, requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares present at the meeting in person or by proxy and entitled to vote.
What Is A Broker Non-Vote?
If you own shares through a bank or broker in street name, you may instruct your bank or broker how to vote your shares. A broker non-vote occurs when you fail to provide your bank or broker with voting instructions and the bank or broker does not have the discretionary authority to vote your shares on a particular proposal because the proposal is not a routine matter under the New York Stock Exchange rules. As explained above under the question Will My Shares Held In Street Name Be Voted If I Do Not Provide My Proxy?, Proposal 1 (election of directors) and Proposal 2 (ratification of the appointment of our independent auditors) are considered routine matters under the current New York Stock Exchange rules, so your bank or broker will have discretionary authority to vote your shares held in street name on those items. Proposal 3 (the shareholder proposal) is not considered a routine matter, so your bank or broker will not have discretionary authority to vote your shares held in street name on that item. A broker non-vote may also occur if your broker fails to vote your shares for any reason.
How Will Broker Non-Votes Be Treated?
Broker non-votes will be treated as shares present for quorum purposes, but not entitled to vote, so they will have no effect on the outcome of any proposal.
How Will Abstentions Be Treated?
Abstentions will be treated as shares present for quorum purposes and entitled to vote, so they will have the effect as votes against a proposal.
How Will Voting On Any Other Business Be Conducted?
We have not received proper notice of, and are not aware of, any business to be transacted at the meeting other than as indicated in this proxy statement. If any other item or proposal properly comes before the meeting, the proxies received will be voted on those matters in accordance with the discretion of the proxy holders.
Who Pays For The Solicitation Of Proxies?
Our Board of Directors is making this solicitation of proxies on our behalf. We will pay the costs of the solicitation, including the costs for preparing, printing and mailing this proxy statement. We have hired Georgeson Shareholder Communications, Inc. to assist us in soliciting proxies. It may do so by telephone, in person or by other electronic communications. We anticipate paying Georgeson a fee of $14,000 plus expenses for these services. We also will reimburse brokers, nominees and fiduciaries for their costs in sending proxies and proxy materials to our shareholders so you can vote your shares. Our directors, officers and regular employees may supplement Georgesons proxy solicitation efforts by contacting you by telephone or electronic communication or in person. We will not pay directors, officers or other regular employees any additional compensation for their proxy solicitation efforts.
How Can I Find The Voting Results Of The Meeting?
We will include the voting results in our Form 10-Q for the quarter ending June 30, 2007, which we expect to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on or before August 9, 2007.
How Do I Submit A Shareholder Proposal For, Or Nominate A Director For Election At Next Years Annual Meeting?
If you wish to submit a proposal to be included in our proxy statement for our 2008 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, we must receive it at our principal office on or before November 16, 2007. Please address your proposal to: Corporate Secretary, Corning Incorporated, One Riverfront Plaza, Corning, New York 14831.
We will not be required to include in our proxy statement a shareholder proposal that is received after that date or that otherwise does not meet the requirements for shareholder proposals established by the SEC or set forth in our bylaws.
If you miss the deadline for including a proposal in our printed proxy statement, or would like to nominate a director or bring other business before the 2008 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, under our current bylaws (which are subject to amendment at any time), you must notify our Corporate Secretary in writing not less than 90 days nor more than 120 days prior to the first anniversary of the preceding years annual meeting. If the meeting is advanced by more than 30 days or delayed by more than 60 days from such anniversary date, then the notice shall be received no earlier than 120 days or later than 90 days prior to such annual meeting or the tenth day after public announcement is made with respect to the meeting. For our 2008 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, we must receive notice on or after December 28, 2007, and on or before January 27, 2008.
Can I Receive Electronic Delivery of Proxy Materials And Annual Reports?
Yes. This Proxy Statement and Cornings 2006 Annual Report are available on Cornings website at www.corning.com. Instead of receiving paper copies of next years Proxy Statement and Annual Report in the mail, shareholders can elect to receive an e-mail message that will provide a link to these documents on the website. By opting to access your proxy materials online, you will save us the cost of producing and mailing documents to you, reduce the amount of mail you receive and help preserve environmental resources. Cornings shareholders who have enrolled in the electronic proxy delivery service previously will receive their materials online this year. Shareholders of record may enroll in the electronic proxy and Annual Report access service for future annual meetings by registering online at www.computershare.com. Beneficial or street name shareholders who wish to enroll in electronic access service may do so at www.icsdelivery.com.
Are You Householding For Shareholders Sharing The Same Address?
Yes. The SECs rules regarding the delivery to shareholders of proxy statements, annual reports, prospectuses and information statements permit us to deliver a single copy of these documents to an address shared by two or more of our shareholders. This method of delivery is referred to as householding, and can significantly reduce our printing and mailing costs. It also reduces the volume of mail you receive. This year, we are delivering only one proxy statement and 2006 Annual Report to multiple shareholders sharing an address, unless we receive instructions to the contrary from one or more of the shareholders. We will still be required, however, to send you and each other shareholder at your address an individual proxy voting card. If you nevertheless would like to receive more than one copy of this proxy statement and our 2006 Annual Report, we will promptly send you additional copies upon written or oral request directed to our transfer agent, Computershare Investor Services, LLC, toll free at 1-800-255-0461. The same phone number may be used to notify us that you wish to receive a separate annual report or proxy statement in the future, or to request delivery of a single copy of an annual report or proxy statement if you are receiving multiple copies.
PROPOSAL 1Election of Directors
Cornings Board of Directors is divided into three classes. Except for Mr. Cummings, each of the nominees for the office of director, Messrs Sit, Smithburg, Tookes and Weeks were elected by Cornings security holders on April 29, 2004. The terms of Messrs Sit, Smithburg, Tookes and Weeks expire this year. Mr. Cummings was appointed by Cornings Board of Directors on October 3, 2006, and is standing for election for the first time. Mr. Knowles, whose term expires this year is retiring in accordance with Cornings Corporate Governance Guidelines and as such will not be standing for re-election. Each of the nominees has consented to being named in this proxy statement and to serve as a director if elected. If a nominee is not able to serve, proxy holders will vote your shares for the substitute nominee, unless you have withheld authority. No nominee now owns beneficially any of the securities (other than directors qualifying shares) of any of Cornings subsidiary companies. We have included below certain information about the nominees for election as directors and the directors who will continue in office after the Annual Meeting.
Nominees for Election as Directors
Meetings and Committees of The Board
The Board of Directors held 15 regularly scheduled meetings during 2006. All directors attended at least 75% of these meetings of the Board of Directors. When the number of Board meetings are combined with the number of meetings of the committees on which they serve, all directors attended at least 75% of such meetings.
In addition to an Executive Committee, which acts by delegation, Corning has six standing Board committees: Audit, Compensation, Corporate Relations, Finance, Nominating and Corporate Governance and Pension Committees. Each standing committees written charter, as adopted by the Board of Directors, is available on Cornings website at www.corning.com/ inside_corning/ corporate_governance/ downloads.aspx. Copies of each of the charters are also attached to this proxy statement as Appendix A, B, C, D, E and F, respectively.
The Audit Committee met 15 times during 2006. The current members of the Audit Committee are Messrs. Smithburg (Chair), Ruding and Tookes and Ms. Rieman. The Audit Committee:
The Compensation Committee met six times during 2006. The current members of the Compensation Committee are Messrs. OConnor (Chair), Brown, Gund and Smithburg. The Compensation Committee:
Compensation decisions for executives, which include the Named Executive Officers, and the directors are reviewed and approved by the Compensation Committee. The Compensation Committee has strategic and administrative responsibility to compensate key executives effectively and in a manner consistent with our stated compensation strategy. The Compensation Committee has engaged Hewitt Associates, an outside global human resources consulting firm, to conduct an annual review of its total compensation program for executives. Hewitt Associates supports the Committee by providing data regarding market practices and makes recommendations for changes to plan designs and policies that are consistent with the Companys compensation philosophy.
The agenda for meetings of the Compensation Committee is determined by its Chairman with the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer and the Senior Vice President Global Compensation and Benefits. The Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer are invited to attend the Compensation Committee meetings, though they leave the room during discussions and deliberations of individual compensation actions affecting them personally. The Compensation Committee Chairman reports the committees recommendations on executive compensation to the Board. The Companys Global Compensation and Benefits department supports the Compensation Committee in its duties and, along with the Chief Executive Officer, may be delegated authority to fulfill certain administrative duties regarding the compensation programs. The Compensation Committee has authority under its charter to retain, approve fees for and terminate advisors, consultants and agents as it deems necessary to assist in the fulfillment of its responsibilities. The Compensation Committee reviews the total fees paid to outside consultants by the Company to ensure that the consultant maintains its objectivity and independence when rendering advice to the committee. For more information on the Compensation Committee, see Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 18.
The Corporate Relations Committee met five times during 2006. The current members of the Corporate Relations Committee are Mses. Rieman (Chair) and Warrior and Messrs. Houghton, Knowles and Sit. The Corporate Relations Committee focuses on the areas of employment policy, public policy and community relations in the context of the business strategy of Corning.
The Executive Committee met 10 times during 2006. The current members of the Executive Committee are Messrs. Weeks (Chair), Flaws and Volanakis. All other directors are alternate members of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee serves primarily as a means of taking action requiring Board approval between regularly scheduled meetings of the Board. The Executive Committee is authorized to act for the full Board on matters other than those specifically reserved by New York law to the Board. In practice, the Executive Committee actions are generally limited to matters such as the authorization of corporate credit facilities, borrowings and pricing of Cornings public offering of securities.
The Finance Committee met 10 times during 2006. The current members of the Finance Committee are Messrs. Hennessy (Chair), Cummings, Flaws, Ruding, Tookes and Volanakis. The Finance Committee:
The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee met five times during 2006. The current members of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee are Messrs. OConnor (Chair), Brown and Hennessy. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee:
The process for electing director nominees entails making a preliminary assessment of each candidate based upon his/her resume and other biographical information, his/her willingness to serve and other background information. This information is then evaluated against the criteria set forth below, as well as the specific needs of Corning at that time. Based upon this preliminary assessment, candidates who appear to be the best fit will be invited to participate in a series of interviews. At the conclusion of this process, if it is determined that the candidate will be a good fit, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will recommend the candidate to the Board for election at the next annual meeting. If the director nominee is a current Board member, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee also considers prior Corning Board performance and contributions. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee uses the same process for evaluating all candidates regardless of the source of the nomination.
The minimum qualifications and attributes that the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee believes must be possessed by a director nominee may include:
All of the director nominees are current elected members of the Board of Directors, except for Mr. Cummings who was identified by the Chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and appointed by the Board of Directors. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee has in the past and may in the future engage the assistance of third parties to identify and evaluate potential director nominees, as it deems appropriate.
The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will consider candidates recommended by shareholders. If you wish to nominate a candidate, please forward the candidates name and a detailed description of the candidates qualification, a document indicating the candidates willingness to serve and evidence of the nominating shareholders ownership of Cornings shares to: Corporate Secretary, Corning Incorporated, One Riverfront Plaza, Corning, New York 14831. A shareholder wishing to nominate a candidate must also comply with the notice requirements described above under the question How Do I Submit A Shareholder Proposal For, Or Nominate A Director For Election At, Next Years Annual Meeting?
The Pension Committee met six times during 2006. The current members of the Pension Committee are Messrs. Gund (Chair), Cummings, Flaws, Knowles, Sit and Volanakis and Ms. Warrior. The Pension Committee:
Corporate Governance Matters
Corporate Governance Guidelines
Our business, property and affairs are managed by or, are under the direction of, the Board of Directors pursuant to New York Business Corporation Law and our By-laws. Members of the Board of Directors are kept informed of Cornings business through discussions with the President and Chief Executive Officer, the Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Operating Officer and other key members of management, by reviewing materials provided to them and by participating in meetings of the Board of Directors and its committees.
The Board has adopted a set of Corporate Governance Guidelines that address the make-up and functioning of the Board. A copy of these guidelines is attached to this proxy statement as Appendix G and can also be viewed on our website at www. corning.com/ inside_corning/ corporate_governance/ downloads.aspx.
Our Corporate Governance Guidelines require that the Board of Directors make an annual determination regarding the independence of each of Cornings directors. The Board made these determinations on February 7, 2007, based on an annual evaluation performed by and recommendations made by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. The Board of Directors has determined that Messrs. Brown, Cummings, Gund, Hennessy, Knowles, OConnor, Ruding, Sit, Smithburg and Tookes and Mses. Rieman and Warrior are independent within the meaning of the rules of the New York Stock Exchange, based on its application of the standards set forth in the Corporate Governance Guidelines. Specifically, the Board determined that they were independent because no relationship was identified that would automatically bar them from being characterized as independent, and any relationships identified were not so material as to impair their independence.
The Board reviewed the independence status of Dr. Knowles, who on July 1, 2006 assumed the position of Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University. Dr. Knowles previously served as Dean from 1991 to 2002, stepping down in June 2002 and continuing to hold a faculty position at Harvard. Dr. Knowles joined the Corning Board of Directors in July 2002. Because our then CEO and Chairman, James R. Houghton, was serving on the Harvard Corporation, the Board determined there should be a passage of time before Dr. Knowles was determined by the Board to be independent. Dr. Knowles was determined to be independent for 2005 and 2006. Mr. Houghton stepped down as CEO of Corning in 2005 and became non-executive chairman effective May 1, 2006. The Board determined that Dr. Knowles resumption of his deanship role with Harvard does not change his status as an independent director, as he is fully independent of Cornings current executive management. The Corning Foundations charitable contributions to Harvard in the past three years are far below amounts that would bar independence under the NYSE Listing Standards or Cornings Director Qualification Standards.
With respect to Dr. Ruding the Board considered the fact that Dr. Ruding previously was an executive officer at Citicorp and Citibank, N.A. Dr. Ruding retired from his executive positions at Citicorp and Citibank, N.A. in September 2003. As a retiree, he serves on the international advisory committee of Citigroup and attends that committees two meetings per year, for which he receives an annual retainer of approximately $50,000. In determining that this relationship was not material, the Board reviewed Cornings Director Qualification Standards and all of the facts and circumstances of Dr. Rudings relationship with Corning, including that Dr. Ruding is no longer employed by Citicorp or Citibank N.A., Citicorp services to Corning in 2006 were well below 2001, 2002 and 2003 levels and consisted primarily of non-advisory services, as well as the fact that for the last three years Citicorp services never approached a percentage that would bar independence under the NYSE Listing Standards or Cornings Director Qualification Standards.
With respect to Ms. Warrior, the Board considered the fact that Ms. Warrior serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Motorola, Inc., which purchased less than $1,100,000 of products from Corning for each of fiscal years 2004, 2005 and 2006; and sold less than $50,000 of products to Corning for each of fiscal years 2004, 2005 and 2006. In determining that this relationship was not material, the Board considered the fact that the amount of products purchased from Corning by Motorola, Inc. and sold to Corning by Motorola, Inc. never approached a percentage that would bar independence under the NYSE Listing Standards or Cornings Director Qualification Standards, and that Ms. Warrior had no role in such sales or purchases.
With respect to Mr. Cummings, the Board considered the fact that he served in various managerial capacities at Goldman, Sachs & Co. until 2002, a company that has provided and continues to provide investment banking, financial advisory and other similar services to Corning. In determining that this relationship was not material, the Board reviewed Cornings Director Qualification Standards and all of the facts and circumstances of Mr. Cummings relationship with Corning, including that Mr. Cummings is no longer employed by Goldman, Sachs & Co. or provides any advisory services to Goldman, Sachs & Co., and that Goldman, Sachs & Co. services to Corning in 2006 consisted primarily of non-advisory services, as well as the fact that for the last three years Goldman, Sachs & Co. services never approached a percentage that would bar independence under the NYSE Listing Standards or Cornings Director Qualification Standards.
With respect to Mr. Tookes, the Board considered the fact that Mr. Tookes in February 2007 joined the Board of Directors of BBA Aviation plc, the parent company of Signature Flight Support, the company that provides aviation support services to Cornings planes. Mr. Tookes has had no past connections with BBA Aviation plc. Going forward, the amount of business Corning does with Signature Flight Support is expected to be approximately $100,000 annually, which is not material. In determining that this relationship was not material, the Board considered the fact that Mr. Tookes relationship arises only from his position as a director of BBA Aviation plc, that he has no material interest in any of the transactions between Corning and Signature Flight Support, that he had no role in any such transactions, and that such a relationship would not bar independence under the NYSE Listing Standards or Cornings Director Qualification Standards.
The Board concluded that based on all of the relevant facts and circumstances, none of the above relationships constituted a material relationship with Corning that represents a potential conflict of interest or otherwise interferes with the exercise by any of these directors of his or her independent judgment from management of Corning.
The Board determined that Messrs. Flaws, Volanakis and Weeks were not independent because they are each executive officers of Corning. With respect to Mr. Houghton, the Board determined that he was not independent as he was the Chief Executive Officer of Corning until he retired in April 2005.
Each member of the Boards Audit, Compensation and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees is independent within the meaning of the NYSE Listing Standards, Exchange Act Rule 10A-3 and Cornings Director Qualification Standards.
Communications with Directors
Shareholders and interested parties may communicate concerns to any director, committee member or the Board by writing to the following address: Corning Incorporated Board of Directors, Corning Incorporated, One Riverfront Plaza, MP HQ E2 10, Corning, New York 14831 Attention: Corporate Secretary. Please specify to whom your correspondence should be directed. The Corporate Secretary has been instructed by the Board to promptly forward all correspondence (except advertising, spam, junk mail and other mass mailings, product inquiries and suggestions, resumes, surveys or any unduly hostile, threatening or illegal materials) to the relevant director, committee member or the full Board, as indicated in the correspondence.
Audit Committee Financial Expert
The Board of Directors has determined that at least one member of the Audit Committee, H. Onno Ruding, is an Audit Committee Financial Expert.
Executive Sessions of Non-Employee Directors
Non-employee Board members meet without management present at each regularly scheduled Board Meeting. Additional meetings may be called by the Lead Director in his discretion or at the request of the Board. The Lead Director, Mr. OConnor, presides over meetings of the non-employee directors.
Policy Regarding Directors Attendance at Annual Meetings
Corning has a policy that every director will make every effort to attend, but does not require attendance of all directors at Annual Meetings. All of the Board Members attended the 2006 Annual Meeting.
Code of Ethics
Our Board of Directors has adopted the Code of Ethics for the Chief Executive Officer and Financial Executives and the Code of Conduct for Directors and Executive Officers which supplements the Code of Conduct governing all employees and directors that has been in existence for more than 10 years. We refer to these documents collectively as the Code of Ethics. A copy of the Code of Ethics is attached to this proxy statement as Appendix H and is available on our website at www.corning.com/inside_corning/corporate_governance/downloads.aspx. We will disclose any amendments to, or waivers from, the Code of Ethics on our website within four business days of such determination. During 2006, no amendments to or waivers of the provisions of the Code of Ethics were made with respect to any of our directors or executive officers.
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners
Paragraphs (a) and (b) below set forth information about the beneficial ownership of Cornings Common Stock as of December 31, 2006. Unless otherwise indicated, the persons named have sole voting and investment power with respect to the shares listed.
Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance
Section 16(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, requires Cornings directors and certain of its officers to file reports of their ownership of Corning Common Stock and of changes in such ownership with the SEC and the New York Stock Exchange. Regulations also require Corning to identify in this proxy statement any person subject to this requirement who failed to file any such report on a timely basis.
To Cornings knowledge, based solely on its review of the copies of such reports furnished to Corning and written representations that no other reports were required, during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, all Section 16(a) filing requirements applicable to its officers, directors and greater than ten-percent beneficial owners were met.
Compensation Discussion and Analysis
The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors (the Committee), composed entirely of outside directors, is responsible to the Board of Directors and to our shareholders for executive compensation at Corning (we, us, Corning or the Company). The Compensation Committee sets the principles outlined in the Companys compensation philosophy, reviews and approves executive compensation levels (including cash compensation, equity incentives, benefits and perquisites for executive officers) and reports their actions to the Board of Directors for review and, as necessary, approval.
This Compensation Discussion and Analysis (CD&A) describes:
After a short introduction entitled Setting the Context For Compensation Philosophy, this CD&A has been prepared in a Question and Answer format in order to more easily address the following key questions:
Setting the Context for Compensation Philosophy
We believe setting the context for compensation philosophy is critical in understanding how executive compensation is designed and administered at Corning. Within this CD&A, the reader will be referred to this section for a better understanding of the executive compensation program. As used in this CD&A:
Corning has frequently had long development cycles for major new technology innovations. Development can often take 10 to 20 years before new technology becomes a major operating business (such as optical fiber, automotive substrates and glass substrates for liquid crystal displays). Patient investment over many years, a continuity of people, and a collaborative culture of working together with people across varied businesses are important ingredients in our long-term success.
Our historical investments in Research Development & Engineering show our strong commitment to innovation and building long-term value by bringing new ideas to market, sometimes far into the future. This means that our management must constantly balance what is good for us today versus what is good for us tomorrow, thereby protecting the heritage of our 150+ year old institution and building long-term value.
These annual objectives are measured and monitored by looking at performance metrics (such as adjusted net income), financial stability metrics (such as cashflow and investment grade ratings), and progress towards advancing the innovation portfolio.
1. What are the philosophy and objectives behind the Companys compensation programs?
Executive Compensation PhilosophyGeneral Objectives
Keeping in mind the context above, the goal of the Companys compensation program is to provide motivational and competitive compensation offerings to ensure our success in attracting, developing and retaining our key executive, managerial and technical talent within Cornings current staff and operating units. Having the right talent is critical to supporting and achieving the Annual Operating Priorities.
The Committee believes that executive compensation should be based on objective measures of performance at the individual, business unit and corporate (i.e. company-wide) levels, with the variable compensation opportunities of the Named Executive Officers based solely on corporate financial performance.
Compensation StrategyKey Principles
The Committees basic strategic compensation principles are as follows:
Given our diversified businesses, the history of unique innovations behind our product offerings, and the global nature of our operations, we lack any pure peer companies against which the Committee is able to benchmark. As a result, in addition to the three general surveys, we also use proxy data obtained from service providers, such as Equilar, Inc., to review the actual compensation levels for the Named Executive Officers in a variety of manufacturing and service industries that are similar in size or have similar financial characteristics (looking at many factors such as revenues, net income, number of employees, market capitalization) to the Company (the Comparison Companies).
As a matter of practice, the Committee intends to set performance-based goals annually under the Companys various variable compensation plans and to deduct compensation paid under these Plans and gains realized from stock options to the extent consistent with the provisions of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. However, the Committee may conclude that paying non-deductible compensation is consistent with our shareholders best interests for certain events. Cornings current performance-based incentive plans (including the annual cash bonuses paid under the Performance Incentive Plan and stock options and performance shares awarded under the Corporate Performance Plan) are operated in compliance with Section 162(m) to ensure that compensation paid under those programs is deductible.
In designing our total compensation and benefit programs, we review the accounting implications of our decisions. We seek to deliver cost-effective compensation and benefit programs that meet our needs and the needs of our employees.
Role of the Compensation Committee
The role and responsibilities of the Committee are defined in the Committee Charter (refer to Appendix B attached to this Proxy statement and summarized on page 10 of the Proxy Statement).
It is our practice that any and all compensation decisions affecting the Officer Group must be reviewed and approved by the Committee. In addition, each year the Committee engages an independent outside executive compensation consultant to conduct a review of items such as the following:
The Committee selected Hewitt Associates as their independent consultant. This selection was made without the input or influence of management. The independent consultant provides no other compensation or benefit consulting services to the Company.
Role of Executive Management in the Executive Compensation Process
Cornings Senior Vice President, Global Compensation and Benefits, working closely with other members of Cornings Human Resources, Legal and Finance departments, is responsible for administering executive compensation.
The Senior Vice President, Global Compensation and Benefits discusses with the Committee significant proposals or topics impacting executive compensation at the Company. Committee members review and adjust the proposals before approving and presenting final recommendations to the Board of Directors for review and, as necessary, approval. For example, any changes to the total compensation affecting the Executive Group or any significant changes in plan design or features are reviewed before the Committee meeting with one or more members of the Committee. After adjusting for any comments from Committee members, the proposed compensation actions are reviewed, discussed and approved by the Committee at one of its regularly scheduled meetings before being reported to the Board of Directors.
Our Chief Executive Officer and our Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer are invited to attend Committee meetings, although they leave the room during discussions and deliberations of individual compensation actions affecting them personally. Our Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer has not attended Committee meetings. Effective with the October 2006 Committee meeting, he is provided with a copy of the Committee meeting materials that are mailed in advance to all Committee members as well as a copy of the minutes prepared after the meeting.
2. What is each element of compensation? and
3. Why does the Company choose to pay each element?
For the Named Executive Officers, approximately 80% of the annual targeted total direct compensation package is variable pay (both annual cash bonus and long-term incentives) that is based on financial performance and shareholder returns. The specific elements of the total compensation package for the Named Executive Officers are described below.
Executive Compensation Program Design Mix of Pay
The elements of our executive compensation program are:
Each element of the executive compensation program is important.
Individual cash bonus targets are determined by looking at (1) external equity by referring to the total cash opportunities in various external executive compensation surveys for individuals with similar roles and (2) internal equity within the Company based on a subjective determination that considers factors such as the scope of responsibility, experience, skills and sustained results an executive delivers over time. An independent consultant hired by the Committee assists in this review of the total compensation for the Named Executive Officers and members of the Officer Group.
In addition to the Named Executive Officers, the Executive Group and over 3,000 non-executive employees are eligible for awards earned under the Performance Incentive Plan with 50% of the plan opportunity based on corporate financial performance, thus providing a strong and consistent linkage to corporate financial and strategic priorities across the Company.
Our Named Executive Officers are also eligible for awards of 0% to 10% of base salary under this plan. This common program design provides an incentive for driving continuous improvement across all of our businesses and functions by motivating all employees to achieve the business objectives that support the Annual Operating Priorities and reinforces our team-based culture. The Named Executive Officers receive cash bonuses equal to the weighted average percentage of all payouts earned by employees under the various business and functional GoalSharing plans times the Named Executive Officers base salary. Amounts earned under this plan are reported along with the Performance Incentive Plan bonus in the Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation column of the Summary Compensation Table.
For 2006, performance shares represented approximately 50% of the total targeted value of long-term incentives under the Corporate Performance Plan. Approximately 50% of the targeted value was delivered through the granting of stock options. Corning has had significant experience with this particular plan design. We believe that the balance of performance shares and stock options support the goals of improving financial performance and achieving long-term improvements in shareholder value. The targeted value of performance shares are converted to share awards at the fair market value of stock on the date of grant. Each executive may eventually earn more or less than the initial target value depending on both actual corporate financial performance and the change in stock price from the date of grant until the awards vest or the stock option vests and the executive exercises the stock option.
Awards of performance shares may range from 0% to 150% of the target award provided to each executive based on actual annual results compared to the annual predetermined financial goals set by the Committee. Given the high level of uncertainty often associated with growing through innovation, we currently use a one-year performance period for calculating the actual number of performance shares earned under the Corporate Performance Plan. After the one-year performance period, any shares earned remain unvested for two additional years and are subject to stock price fluctuations during that time. This two-year vesting period after the shares are earned assists the Company in its goal of retaining its critical talent since the shares are subject to forfeiture provisions during the vesting period (except for terminations of employment resulting from death, disability or retirement or other exigent circumstances as determined by the Committee).
We believe that equity incentives are preferable to cash in a long-term plan design for several reasons:
While we seek to maintain well funded qualified retirement plans, we do not have a practice of funding our nonqualified benefit plans. The design of the SERP was modified in late 2006. For additional details, please refer to Retirement Plans Supplemental Pension Plan and Executive Supplemental Pension Plan on page 40.
Effective for all executive severance agreements and executive change-in-control agreements entered into after July 21, 2004, the Committee and the Board of Directors approved a policy to limit benefits that may be provided to an executive under any new agreement to 2.99 times the executives annual compensation of base salary plus target bonus (the Overall Limit). All of the Named Executive Officers had pre-existing severance and change-in-control agreements that were executed prior to July 21, 2004 and are thus not affected by this Overall Limit.
4. What is the compensation program designed to reward?
Over the longer-term, we seek to sustain and improve the Companys financial performance (e.g. profitability, cashflow). However, we recognize that growing through innovation is not always precisely predictable so there may be individual years where our growth rate is anticipated to slow down, flatten or even fall. Our performance-based variable compensation programs reward financial performance compared to the budget established for the year. Setting goals in any one year requires management and Committee judgment. These goals (and the approved adjustments from reported earnings as described below) are approved by the Committee and communicated to plan participants in February of each year.
Cornings annual goals are set at the conclusion of the budget process each year. In June of each year, Cornings senior management reviews all of the long-range plans of each business unit as well as a consolidation of those plans into the long-range plan for the Company. Preliminary goals for the next years plan are set based on managements judgment after considering the risks and variability embedded in the underlying business unit plans, economic trends related to the business and overall economy, anticipated plan performance versus our strategic financial performance goals and external expectations for our performance.
In November of each year, Cornings senior management reviews the annual budgets submitted for each business against the preliminary goals set in June and sets the overall budget for the Company for the following year. That budget is presented to the Board of Directors in December for their discussion and approval of the capital spending plan. In early February, the Committee receives managements recommendations for the compensation plan performance metrics and sets the final targets for the year.
For example, based upon the Committees review and approval at the beginning of the year, the following special items were excluded from the Adjusted Net Profit After Tax calculation for 2006:
The range of 2006 Performance Incentive Plan goals were established with the following considerations:
The actual scale of Adjusted Net Profit After Tax used in 2006 was as follows:
Actual results for 2006 exceeded the 200% maximum level under the Plan.
Operating cashflow was added as the second performance metric starting in 2005 at the request of the Committee. The Committee felt that it was important to the long-term success of the Company to focus attention on generating cash in addition to improving Adjusted EPS. Both the Company and the Committee believe that these metrics are appropriate for motivating and rewarding behavior that leads to improvement in operating performance and focus on total Company results.
Actual results for 2006 exceed the 150% level for both Adjusted EPS and Operating Cashflow under the Plan.
5. How does the Company determine the amount (and when applicable, the formula) for each element?
Establishing Executive Compensation
The Committee considers many factors in establishing executive compensation. Such factors include professional experience (including, for senior executive positions, a thorough understanding of Cornings innovation process), sustained performance over time (under both positive and negative business cycles), ability to take on additional future responsibility, uniqueness of skill or difficulty to replace and the relative importance and contribution of the individual in delivering Cornings corporate, business and functional priorities.
We and the Committee also refer to executive compensation survey data to gauge the external market for pay practices and pay levels. In establishing total compensation levels for each Named Executive Officer, the Committee exercises judgment in balancing this external data against Cornings internal objectives.
Benchmarking Executive Compensation
In establishing competitive executive pay levels, we generally seek to position CEO total cash compensation (at target) and CEO total direct compensation (at target) around the median of the market looking at all of the various survey sources Corning uses. However, as stated in the Setting the Context For Compensation Philosophy section of this CD&A, the Committee also considers other factors in setting the CEOs pay including individual performance, ability to meet strategic objectives and long-term investment and financial stability goals.
The Committee has deliberately positioned the target annual cash compensation (base salary + cash bonuses) and the target total direct compensation (base salary + cash bonuses + long-term incentives) of the other Named Executive Officers closer to the CEO than may be the case at many other companies. As a result, the Committee finds that target total direct compensation for the remaining Named Executive Officers is generally in the Top Quartile of the survey sources used by the Committee as external benchmarks. However, the Committee believes this positioning is appropriate based upon the experience, skills, collaborative style of leadership and performance of these current Named Executive Officers.
Given our use of performance-based compensation (annual cash bonuses and performance shares), actual pay positioning in any year may be above or below this initial targeted position depending on actual performance compared to the established objectives. The value derived from vested stock options depends on the increase in Cornings stock price, if any, from the date of grant to the date of exercise by the executive.
6. How do each compensation element and the Companys decisions regarding that element fit into the Companys overall compensation objectives and affect decisions regarding the other elements?
Different elements of the total pay package serve different objectives. A competitive base salary and benefits package is designed to attract and retain employees by providing them with a stable source of income and security over time. Annual cash bonuses are variable and designed to motivate and reward executives or employees who make a positive impact on the individual, business and corporate Annual Operating Priorities for the year. For more information about Annual Operating Priorities, please refer to Setting the Context For Compensation Philosophy in this CD&A. Long-term incentives are also variable and linked directly to improvements in overall corporate financial performance. The use of equity compensation (performance shares and stock options) supports the objectives of encouraging stock ownership and sharing in both the positive and negative stock price returns experienced by other shareholders.
In developing annual cash bonus plans and grants of equity compensation, the Committee looks to deliver a market-competitive pay package each year. We historically have had poor performance years with zero bonus payments and underwater stock options that never realized any value, as well as strong performance years with above target bonus payouts and opportunities for wealth accumulation through equity incentives. Given the volatility in Cornings stock price over many years, the Committee does not believe it is appropriate to take into account current stock holdings or past compensation in establishing pay for the coming year.
7. Are there any anticipated changes in compensation practices that the Company intends to implement prospectively?
The basic compensation objectives, plan designs and features have been in place for several years. At the current time, we do not anticipate making significant changes to our total executive compensation program in 2007. However, on December 6, 2006, the Committee modified the Executive Allowance Program, effective January 1, 2007, to eliminate payments for professional services (e.g. financial counseling, tax preparation, investment/estate planning) for the Named Executive Officers. Eligible benefits under the 2007 program are limited to personal aircraft rights and home security costs for the Named Executive Officers.
8. What are the Companys stock option grant practices?
The Committee approves at its normally scheduled meetings 100% of stock options awarded to the Officer Group and almost all stock options awarded to employees. In 2006, approximately 6% of the total stock options awarded to employees were reload options that are granted in accordance with the provisions of stock options awarded prior to February 28, 2003. The reload feature was no longer included in grants of stock options made on or after February 28, 2003. Please refer to footnote 1 associated with the Option Exercise and Shares Vested table.
The Committee has delegated limited authority to Cornings Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer to make the following limited grants of stock options and/or restricted stock:
Actual grants approved under this limited delegated authority totaled 67,750 stock options and 38,000 restricted shares in 2006 (or less than 1.0% of all such grants awarded in 2006).
The Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer cannot make any grants to any member of the Officer Group. The Committee reviews all such grants authorized under this process at each regularly scheduled Committee meeting.
The Committee approves at its December meeting annual awards of stock options to the Executive Group under the Corporate Performance Plan. The timing of these awards coincides with the communication of other compensation actions for these executives. For example, base salary increases awarded under the annual salary review for the Executive Group are generally effective in January of each year. Awards to the Executive Group under the Corporate Performance Plan are fixed and approved at the December Committee meeting with staggered grant dates: 50% of the total option grant awarded at the December Committee meeting, 25% of the total option grant awarded on the first day the New York Stock Exchange is open in January and 25% of the total option grant awarded on the first day the New York Stock Exchange is open in February.
For the past five years, the Committee has staggered the grants of stock options to the Executive Group to avoid basing awards on a single grant date. This is particularly important for grants to these executives given the larger size of such grants compared to non-executive employees. The Committee believes that this practice is fair and equitable to both the Company and the Executive Group given the historical volatility of Cornings stock price. Over the past five years, the grant date prices in January and February have been both higher and lower than the December grant date price.
Annual grants of stock options to non-executives are generally approved and awarded at the April Committee meeting.
We use the closing price of Corning stock on the New York Stock Exchange on the date of grant as the grant price of the stock options. This valuation method was adopted by the Committee at its October 4, 2006 meeting by amending the Companys 2005 Employee Equity Participation Program. Before that meeting, the Company used the average of the high and low stock prices on the grant date as the grant price. This change was made to ease the administrative burdens of preparing the Companys annual proxy report in the future by utilizing the same grant price method adopted by the SEC for its Grants of Plan-Based Awards table.
Compensation Committee Report
We have reviewed and discussed the foregoing Compensation Discussion and Analysis with management. Based on our review and discussions with management, we recommend to the Board of Directors that the Compensation Discussion and Analysis be included in this proxy statement and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006.
The Compensation Committee:
The following tables and charts show for 2006 the compensation paid by Corning to its chief executive officer, chief financial officer and the three other most highly compensated executive officers whose aggregate salary and bonus exceeded $100,000. Based on the fair value of equity awards granted to Named Executive Officers in 2006 and the base salary of the Named Executive Officers, Salary accounted for approximately 13% to 20% of the total direct target compensation of the Named Executive Officers while incentive compensation accounted for approximately 77% to 80% of the total direct target compensation of the Named Executive Officers.
Summary Compensation Table
(i) The amounts include:
Grants of Plan-Based Awards
The table discloses the actual number of stock options and restricted stock awards granted and the grant date fair value of these awards. It also captures potential future payouts under the Companys non-equity and equity compensation plans. There can be no assurance that the Grant Date Fair Value of Stock and Stock Option Awards will ever be realized.
Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year-End
The following table shows outstanding stock option awards classified as exercisable and unexercisable as of December 31, 2006. A significant number of the stock options listed for Messrs. Weeks, Flaws, Gregg and Volanakis have exercise prices above $30 per share and are therefore significantly underwater compared to the year-end market value of Corning stock. The table also shows unvested restricted stock awards assuming a market value of $18.71 a share (the closing market price of the Companys stock on December 29, 2006).
Option Exercises and Stock Vested
The following table sets forth certain information regarding options exercised during 2006 for the Named Executive Officers. No stock awards were vested for the Named Executive Officers in 2006.
Qualified Pension Plan
Corning sponsors a qualified defined benefit Pension Plan to provide retirement income to Cornings U.S. based employees. The plan pays benefits for salaried employees based upon career average plan compensation (regular salary and cash awards that are paid (including deferred compensation with respect to the non-qualified supplemental pension plans) such as those paid under its Variable Compensation Plans) and years of credited service. Salaried employees are required to contribute 2% of compensation in excess of the Social Security Wage Base up to the compensation limit imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Salaried and non-union hourly employees may also contribute 2% of pay up to the Social Security Wage Base on a voluntary basis to increase pension benefits.
Corning amended its pension plan effective July 1, 2000 to include a cash balance component. All salaried and non-union hourly employees as of July 1, 2000 were given a choice to prospectively accrue benefits under the career average earnings formula or a cash balance formula, if so elected. All salaried and non-union hourly employees hired on or after July 1, 2000 earn benefits under the cash balance formula only.
Benefits earned under the career average earnings formula are equal to 1.5% of plan compensation plus 0.5% of plan compensation on which employee contributions have been made. Under the career average earnings formula, participants may retire as early age 55 with five years of service. Unreduced benefits are available when a participant attains the earlier of age 60 with five years of service or age 55 with 30 years of service. Otherwise, benefits are reduced 4% for each year by which retirement precedes the attainment of age 60. Pension benefits earned under the career average earnings formula are distributed in the form of a lifetime annuity with six years of payments guaranteed.
Benefits earned under the cash balance formula are expressed in the form of a hypothetical account balance. Each month a participants cash balance account is increased by (1) pay credits based on the participants plan compensation for that month and (2) interest credits based on the participants hypothetical account balance at the end of the prior month. Pay credits vary between 3% and 8% of an individuals eligible compensation based on the participants age plus service at the end of the year. Interest credits are based on 10-year Treasury bond yields. Pension benefits under the cash balance formula may be distributed as either a lump sum of the participants hypothetical account balance or an actuarial equivalent life annuity.
Mr. Weeks, Mr. Flaws and Mr. Volanakis are earning benefits under the career average earnings formula. Mr. Gregg earned benefits under the career average earnings formula up to December 31, 2000 and is currently earning benefits under the cash balance formula. Mr. Miller is earning benefits under the cash balance formula. Mr. Flaws and Mr. Miller are currently eligible to retire under the plan.
Cornings contributions to the plan are determined by the plans actuaries and are not determined on an individual basis. The amount of benefits payable under the plan and attributable to Cornings contribution is subject to the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
Supplemental Pension Plan and Executive Supplemental Pension Plan
Corning also maintains nonqualified pension plans to attract and retain a highly-motivated workforce by providing eligible employees with retirement benefits in excess of those permitted under the qualified plan. The benefits provided under the Supplemental Pension Plan will be approximately equal to the difference between the benefits provided under the Qualified Pension Plan and benefits that would have been provided thereunder if not for the limitations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
Certain employees, including each of the Named Executive Officers, participate in the Executive Supplemental Pension Plan. Participants earning benefits under the Executive Supplemental Pension Plan forfeit benefits for which they would have been eligible under the Supplemental Pension Plan. Under the Executive Supplemental Pension Plan participants earn benefits based on the highest 60 consecutive months of average plan compensation over the last 120 months immediately preceding the date of termination of employment. Plan compensation is defined as base pay plus bonuses paid, including cash payments of GoalSharing Awards, Division Cash Awards, Individual Outstanding Contributor Awards and cash payments under the Performance Incentive Plan.
A change in the benefits provided under the Executive Supplemental Pension Plan formula was approved in December 2006. Gross benefits determined under this plan are equal to one of two benefit formulas:
Formula A: 2.0% of average plan compensation multiplied by years of service up to 25 years; or
Formula B: 1.5% of average plan compensation multiplied by years of service (with no limit on the years of service).
Subsequent to the December 2006 change in formula, benefits are determined under Formula B for Mr. Flaws and Formula A for all other Named Executive Officers.
Amounts earned under the Qualified Pension Plan will offset benefits earned under the preceding formulas.
Participants may retire as early as age 55 with 10 years of service. Unreduced benefits under Formula A and Formula B are available when a participant attains the earlier of age 60 with 10 years of service or age 55 with 25 years of service. Otherwise, benefits from both formulas are reduced 4% for each year by which retirement precedes the attainment of age 60.
Occasionally, Corning needs to hire senior mid-career executives. In order to attract appropriate executive talent, Corning may grant additional years of pension service under its nonqualified plans. Corning has an agreement with Mr. Gregg to provide nine extra years of benefit service under the Executive Supplemental Pension Plan for retirement on or after age 55.
Benefits earned under the Executive Supplemental Pension Plan are distributed in the form of a lifetime annuity, with six years of payments guaranteed. Under the terms of a pre-existing agreement, Corning will purchase a life annuity from an insurance company to pay benefits due to Mr. Flaws under this plan. Mr. Flaws and Mr. Miller are currently eligible to retire under the plan.
The table below shows the present value of accumulated benefits payable to each of the Named Executive Officers, including the number of years of service credited to each such Named Executive Officer, under each of the Qualified Pension Plan and the Executive Supplemental Retirement Plan (SERP) determined using interest rate and mortality rate assumptions consistent with those used in the Companys financial statements. These assumptions are described under Note 13 to our Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2006, which is located on page 81 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 27, 2007. Information regarding the Qualified Pension Plan and the Executive Supplemental Retirement Plan can be found under the heading Retirement Plans on page 39.
The compensation covered by the Qualified Pension Plan and the Executive Supplemental Pension Plan for the Named Executive Officers is the Salary and Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation set forth in the Summary Compensation Table on page 32. Bonuses are included as compensation in the calendar year paid. As of December 31, 2006, annual payments under the plans would be based upon an average annual compensation of $2,924,068 for Mr. Weeks; $2,027,669 for Mr. Flaws; $1,375,753 for Mr. Gregg; $1,447,755 for Mr. Miller and $2,161,770 for Mr. Volanakis.
Nonqualified Deferred Compensation
The following table shows the contributions, earnings and account balances for the Named Executive Officers in the Supplemental Investment Plan. Pursuant to the Companys Supplemental Investment Plan, certain executives, including the Named Executive Officers, may defer base salary and/or cash earned under the Companys Performance Incentive Plan and GoalSharing Plan. An executive may defer all or a portion of his or her annual base salary plus non-equity incentive compensation up to 75% of the eligible compensation under the Supplemental Investment Plan.
Arrangements with Named Executive Officers
We have entered into severance agreements with each of our Named Executive Officers. These severance agreements will terminate if any executive leaves the employ of Corning for any reason or ceases to be an officer of Corning.
Severance Agreement---Mr. Weeks:
Generally under Mr. Weeks severance agreement he is entitled to the following if he is terminated involuntarily, other than for cause.
If however, Mr. Weeks is terminated for cause (as defined below), other than for good reason (as defined in the agreement) or by reason of death he will be entitled to:
In each case, subject to certain conditions.
Severance Agreement---Other Named Executive Officers
Generally under the severance agreements an executive is entitled to severance payments if he/she is terminated involuntarily other than for cause. Cause means:
In addition, involuntary termination of an executive does not include:
Under the severance agreements the Named Executive Officer, other than Mr. Weeks, is entitled to receive the following:
The following table reflects the amounts that would be payable under the various arrangements assuming termination occurred at December 31, 2006.
Effective for all executive severance agreements and executive change-in-control agreements entered into after July 21, 2004, the Compensation Committee and Board of Directors approved a policy to limit benefits that may be provided to an executive under any new agreement to 2.99 times the executives annual compensation of base salary plus target bonus (the Overall Limit). All of the Named Executive Officers had pre-existing executive severance and change-in-control agreements that were executed prior to July 21, 2004 and are thus not affected by this Overall Limit.
Change In Control Agreements
We have entered into change in control agreements with each of the Named Executive Officers. These agreements are intended to provide for continuity of management if there is a change in control of Corning. These agreements will be effective until the executive leaves the employ of Corning or until the executive ceases to be an officer of Corning.
Change In Control AgreementMr. Weeks
Generally, under the agreement currently in effect, a change in control is defined to include:
If during the term of the agreement a change in control occurs, Mr. Weeks is entitled to the following:
If his employment is terminated (i) without cause (as defined in the agreement), or (ii) he resigns for good reason (as defined in the agreement) within a Potential Change in Control Period (as defined in the agreement), or (iii) he resigns for any reason within four years following a change in control, or (iv) he is terminated for any reason by Corning, then Mr. Weeks is entitled to the following:
In addition, Mr. Weeks is generally entitled to receive payment in an amount sufficient to make him whole for any federal excise tax on excess parachute payments.
Change In Control AgreementOther Named Executive Officers
If during the term of the agreement a change in control (as defined above) occurs, the Named Executive Officer, other than Mr. Weeks, is entitled to the following:
If a Named Executive Officer employment is terminated within a Potential Change in Control Period (as defined in the agreement) or four years following a change in control, the Named Executive Officer is entitled to the following:
If however, a Named Executive Officer is terminated for cause (as defined in the agreement), other than for good reason (as defined in the agreement) or by reason of death or disability (as defined in the agreement) the Named Executive Officer will be entitled to:
The following table reflects the amounts that would be payable under the various arrangements assuming that a change of control occurred at December 31, 2006, including a gross-up for certain taxes in the event that any payments made in connection with a change of control would be subject to the excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code.
In addition to the above, the Named Executive Officers may also request that Corning purchase their principal residence. This value is estimated to be in the range of $200,000 to $1,000,000 and $1,700,000 to $2,300,000 in the case of Mr. Miller. Corning is unable to accurately estimate the value as it requires an independent appraisal of the executives residence as well as a calculation of the executives purchase price of such residence plus documented improvements made to the property. This is data that Corning does not maintain in its normal course of business. See Footnote (1) to the Termination Scenarios table on page 44.
Only non-employee directors receive director fees. During 2006, Corning paid to non-employee directors:
Chairmen of committees received an additional retainer ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 depending upon the committee chaired. Mr. OConnor received $10,000 of additional compensation for his services as Lead Director during 2006. Mr. Houghtons annualized compensation for his services as non-executive Chairman of the Board during 2006 was $250,000, his prorated cash compensation for 2006 totaled $166,667.
Through the 2003 Equity Plan for Non-Employee Directors, each non-employee director annually receives a form of long-term equity compensation approved by the Compensation Committee. Non-employee directors generally receive their awards at the February meeting. If, however, a non-employee director is appointed between the February meeting and December 31, then that director will received his/her pro-rata award shortly after joining the Board.
During 2006, Corning issued to each non-employee director 1,618 shares, except for Mr. Cummings who received 412 shares, of Common Stock under the 2003 Equity Plan for Non-Employee Directors. These shares are subject to forfeiture and certain restrictions on transfer. In addition, Corning granted to each non-employee director, options covering 4,045 shares of Common Stock under the 2003 Equity Plan for Non-Employee Directors. These options vest ratably over a three-year period and expire on January 31, 2016. Mr. Cummings was granted options covering 1,029 shares of Common Stock under the 2003 Equity Plan for Non-Employee Directors. These options vest ratably over a three-year period and expire on October 3, 2016.
Non-employee directors are reimbursed for expenses (including costs of travel, food and lodging) incurred in attending Board, committee and shareholder meetings. While travel to such meetings may include the use of Company aircraft, if available or appropriate under the circumstances, the directors generally use commercial transportation or their own transportation. Directors are also reimbursed for reasonable expenses associated with other business activities, including participation in Director education programs.
Directors may defer any portion of their cash compensation. Amounts deferred shall be paid only in cash and while deferred may be allocated to (1) an account earning interest, compounded quarterly, at the rate equal to the greater of the prime rate of Citibank, N.A. at the end of each calendar quarter or the rate of return for the stable value fund under Cornings Investment Plans, (2) an account based upon the market value of our common stock from time to time, or (3) a combination of such accounts. At December 31, 2006, eight directors had elected to defer compensation.
Corning has a Directors Charitable Giving Program funded by insurance policies on the lives of the directors. In 2006, Corning paid a total of $276,460 in premiums on such policies. Upon the death of a director, Corning will donate $1,250,000 (on behalf of a non-employee director) and $1,000,000 (on behalf of an employee director) to one or more qualified charitable organizations recommended by such director and approved by Corning. The directors derive no financial benefit from the Program as all charitable deductions and cash surrender value of life insurance policies accrue solely to Corning. Generally, one must be a director for five years to participate in the Program. Messrs. Brown, Flaws, Gund, Hennessy, Houghton, OConnor, Ruding, Smithburg, Tookes, Volanakis, Weeks and Ms. Rieman are eligible to participate in the program. Directors are also eligible to participate in the Corning Foundation Matching Gift Program for eligible charitable organizations. The maximum gift total for a director participant in the program is $5,000 in any calendar year.
Corning also pays premiums on directors and officers liability insurance policies covering directors.
From time to time spouses may also join non-employee directors when traveling to or from Board, committee or shareholder meetings, which may include the use of Company aircraft. While Corning generally incurs no additional cost, this travel may result in the non-employee director recognizing income for tax purposes. Corning does not reimburse the non-employee director for the estimated taxes incurred in connection with such income.
Director Summary Compensation Table
The following table discloses the cash, equity awards and other compensation earned, paid or awarded, as the case may be, to each of the Companys non-employee directors for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006.
Report of Audit Committee of the Board of Directors
Report of Audit Committee of the Board of Directors
The purpose of the Audit Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in its general oversight of Cornings financial reporting, internal controls and audit functions. The Audit Committee operates under a written charter adopted by the Board of Directors. In February 2007, the Audit Committee amended its charter, a copy of which is attached to this proxy statement as Appendix A. The directors who serve on the Audit Committee have no financial or personal ties to Corning (other than director compensation and equity ownership as described in this proxy statement) and are all financially literate and independent for purposes of the New York Stock Exchange listing standards. That is, the Board of Directors has determined that none of the Audit Committee members have a relationship with Corning that may interfere with the members independence from Corning and its management.
The Audit Committee met with management periodically during the year to consider the adequacy of Cornings internal controls and the objectivity of its financial reporting. The Audit Committee discussed these matters with Cornings independent auditors and with the appropriate financial personnel and internal auditors. The Audit Committee also discussed with Cornings senior management and independent auditors the process used for certifications by Cornings chief executive officer and chief financial officer which is required for certain of Cornings filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Audit Committee met privately with both the independent auditors and the internal auditors, both of whom has unrestricted access to the Audit Committee.
The Audit Committee has reviewed and discussed the consolidated financial statements with management and the independent auditors. Management is responsible for the preparation, presentation and integrity of Cornings financial statements; accounting and financial reporting principles; establishing and maintaining disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 13a-15(e)); establishing and maintaining internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 13a-15(f)); evaluating the effectiveness of disclosure controls and procedures; evaluating the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting; and evaluating any change that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, internal control over financial reporting. The independent auditors are responsible for performing an independent audit of the consolidated financial statements and expressing an opinion on the conformity of those financial statements with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, as well as expressing an opinion on (1) managements assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting and (2) the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting.
During the course of 2006, management updated the documentation, and performed testing and evaluation of Cornings system of internal control over financial reporting in response to the requirements set forth in Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related regulations. The Audit Committee was kept apprised of the progress of the evaluation and provided oversight and advice to management during the process. In connection with this oversight, the Audit Committee received periodic updates provided by management and the independent auditors at each regularly scheduled Audit Committee meeting. At the conclusion of the process, management provided the Audit Committee with, and the Audit Committee reviewed a report on, the effectiveness of Cornings internal control over financial reporting. The Audit Committee also reviewed the report of management contained in Cornings Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006 filed with the SEC, as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers LLPs Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm included in Cornings Annual Report on Form 10-K related to its audit of (1) the consolidated financial statements and financial statement schedule, (2) managements assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, and (3) the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting.
The Audit Committee has discussed with the independent auditors the matters required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standard No. 61, Communication with Audit Committees, and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Auditing Standard No. 2, An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting Performed in Conjunction with an Audit of Financial Statements. In addition, the Audit Committee has received from the independent auditors the written disclosure required by Independence Standards Board Standard No. 1, Independence Discussions with Audit Committees, and discussed with them their independence from Corning and its management. The Audit