Ecolab DEF 14A 2006
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Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of
March 31, 2006
Dear Fellow Stockholder:
You are cordially invited to join us for our Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 12, 2006 in the Weyerhauser Auditorium at the Landmark Center, 75 West Fifth Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102. The Notice of Annual Meeting and the Proxy Statement that follow describe the business to be conducted at our Annual Meeting. We urge you to read both carefully.
We hope you plan to attend our Annual Meeting. However, if you will not be able to join us, we encourage you to exercise your right as a stockholder and vote. Please sign, date and promptly return the accompanying proxy card, or make use of either our telephone or Internet voting services. Stockholders not in attendance may listen to a broadcast of the meeting on the Internet. Webcast instructions will be available on-line at www.ecolab.com/investor.
Whether or not you plan to attend the meeting, please complete the accompanying proxy and return it in the enclosed envelope. Or, you may vote by telephone or the Internet. If you attend the meeting, you may vote your shares in person even though you have previously returned your proxy by mail, telephone or the Internet.
PLEASE REFER TO THE ACCOMPANYING MATERIALS FOR VOTING INSTRUCTIONS.
To the Stockholders of Ecolab Inc.:
The Annual Meeting of Stockholders of Ecolab Inc. will be held on Friday, May 12, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. in the Weyerhauser Auditorium at the Landmark Center, 75 West Fifth Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102, for the following purposes (which are more fully explained in the Proxy Statement):
Our Board of Directors has fixed the close of business on March 14, 2006 as the record date for the determination of stockholders entitled to notice of and to vote at the meeting.
Whether or not you plan to attend the meeting, please complete the accompanying proxy and return it in the enclosed envelope. Or, you may vote by telephone or the Internet. If you attend the meeting, you may vote your shares in person even though you have previously returned your proxy by mail, telephone or the Internet.
By Order of the Board of Directors
March 31, 2006
The Board of Directors of Ecolab Inc. is using this Proxy Statement to solicit proxies from the holders of Ecolab Common Stock, par value $1.00 per share ("Common Stock"), for use at the Annual Meeting of Ecolab Stockholders. We are first mailing this Proxy Statement and accompanying form of proxy to Ecolab stockholders on or about March 31, 2006.
Note: References in this Proxy Statement to "Ecolab," "the Company," "we," or "our" are to Ecolab Inc.
Quorum A quorum of stockholders is necessary to hold a valid meeting. The presence in person or by proxy at the meeting of holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of Common Stock entitled to vote at the meeting is a quorum. Abstentions and broker non-votes count as present for establishing a quorum. Common Stock held by Ecolab in our treasury does not count toward a quorum.
Broker Non-Votes Generally, broker non-votes occur on a proposal when a broker is not permitted under applicable rules to vote on that proposal without instruction from the beneficial owner of the Common Stock and no instruction is given.
How to Vote by Proxy You may vote in person by ballot at our Annual Meeting or by submitting a valid proxy. We recommend you submit your proxy even if you plan to attend the Annual Meeting. If you attend the Annual Meeting, you may vote by ballot, thereby canceling any proxy previously submitted.
Voting instructions are included on your proxy card. If you properly give your proxy and submit it to us in time to be tabulated, one of the individuals named as your proxy will vote your Common Stock as you have directed. You may vote for or against each proposal, or you may abstain from voting on a proposal. With respect to the election of directors, you may vote for each nominee, or you may withhold voting authority on one or more nominees.
Revoking Your Proxy You may revoke your proxy at any time before it is voted by:
Vote Tabulation The vote on each proposal will be tabulated as follows:
Discretionary Voting We are not currently aware of any other business to be acted upon at our Annual Meeting. If, however, other matters are properly brought before the Annual Meeting, or any adjournment or postponement of the Annual Meeting, your proxy includes discretionary authority on the part of the individuals appointed to vote your Common Stock or act on those matters according to their best judgment, including to adjourn the Annual Meeting.
Adjournments Adjournment of our Annual Meeting may be made for the purpose of, among other things, soliciting additional proxies. Any adjournment may be made from time to time by approval of the holders of Common Stock representing a majority of the votes present in person or by proxy at the Annual Meeting, whether or not a quorum exists, without further notice other than by an announcement made at the Annual Meeting. We do not currently intend to seek an adjournment of the Annual Meeting.
Corporate Governance and Code of Conduct Our Company is managed under the overall direction of our Board of Directors for the benefit of all stockholders. Disclosures concerning policies of our Board of Directors, corporate governance principles and corporate ethics practices, including our Code of Conduct, are available on our website at www.ecolab.com/investor/governance. Copies of our Code of Conduct, as last amended in 1995 and supplemented by our Code of Ethics for Senior Officers and Finance Associates adopted in 2003, will be mailed free of charge to any stockholder upon request to the Corporate Secretary at our headquarters in St. Paul. We intend to promptly
disclose on our website should there be any amendments to, or waivers by the Board of Directors of, the Code of Conduct or the Code of Ethics for Senior Officers and Finance Associates.
Communications with Directors Our stakeholders and other interested parties, including our stockholders and employees, can send substantive communications to our Board using the following methods published on our website at www.ecolab.com/investor/governance:
All substantive communications regarding governance matters or potential accounting, control or auditing irregularities are promptly relayed or brought to the attention of the Presiding Director or Chair of the Audit Committee following review by our management. Communications not requiring the substantive attention of our Board, such as employment inquiries, sales solicitations, questions about our products and other such matters, are handled directly by our management. In such instances, we respond to the communicating party on behalf of the Board. Nonetheless, our management periodically updates the Board on all of the on-line communications received, whether or not our management believes they are substantive. In addition to on-line communications, interested parties may direct correspondence to our Board of Directors, our Board Committees or to individual directors at our headquarters address, repeated at the top of page 1 of this Proxy Statement.
Future Stockholder Proposals and Director Nomination Process Any stockholder proposal must comply with advance notice procedures set forth in Article II, Section 4 of our By-Laws. Under our By-Laws, to be in proper written form, the stockholder's notice to our Corporate Secretary must set forth (i) a brief description of the business desired to be brought before the Annual Meeting and the reasons for conducting that business at the Meeting, (ii) the name and address of the stockholder, (iii) the number of shares owned by the stockholder, (iv) a description of any arrangements between the stockholder and any other person in connection with the proposed business and any material interest of the stockholder in the business, and (v) a representation by the stockholder that he or she intends to appear at the Annual Meeting to present the business. This summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full text of our By-Laws, which can be found on our website at www.ecolab.com/investor/governance. If the presiding Chairperson of the Annual Meeting of Stockholders determines that business, or a nomination, was not brought before the meeting in accordance with the By-Law provisions, that business will not be transacted or the defective nomination will not be accepted.
Stockholders, expected to be held in May 2007, the written notice must be received between December 28, 2006 and February 11, 2007 inclusive.
Any stockholder nomination for directors must comply with the advance notice procedures set forth in Article II, Section 3 of our By-Laws. Under our By-Laws, to be in proper written form, the stockholder's notice to our Corporate Secretary must set forth as to each person whom the stockholder proposes to nominate for election as a director (i) the name, age, business address and residence of the person, (ii) the principal occupation or employment of the person, (iii) the number of shares owned by the person, and (iv) any other information relating to the person that would be required to be disclosed in our proxy statement or other filings made in connection with solicitations of proxies for election of directors under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"). In addition, as to the stockholder, the notice must set forth (i) the name and address of the stockholder, (ii) the number of shares owned by the stockholder, (iii) a description of any arrangements between the stockholder and the proposed nominee and any other person pursuant to which the nomination is being made by the stockholder, (iv) a representation by the stockholder that he or she intends to appear at the annual meeting to nominate the person named in the notice, and (v) any other information relating to the stockholder that would be required to be disclosed in our proxy statement or such Exchange Act filings. The notice must be accompanied by a written consent of the proposed nominee to being named as a nominee and to serve as a director if elected. No person shall be eligible for election as a director of the Company unless nominated in accordance with the foregoing
procedures. This summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full text of our By-Laws, which can be found on our website at www.ecolab.com/investor/governance.
In terms of policies for composition of the Board generally, and qualifications for director nominees specifically, we refer you to our Corporate Governance Principles, which are attached as Exhibit A to this Proxy Statement. Under these provisions, for example:
Other criteria relevant to service as a director of our Company are also set forth in our Corporate Governance Principles.
All directors are encouraged to submit to the Governance Committee the name of any person deemed qualified to serve on the Board, together with information on the candidate's qualifications. The Governance Committee screens and submits to the full Board the names and biographical information of those persons considered by the Committee to be viable candidates for election as directors. The same evaluation process and criteria are used by the Committee (i) for recommendations for director candidates submitted by stockholders in accordance with our Restated Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws, and (ii) for recommendations submitted by any other source, such as a director or a third-party search firm.
In 2005, a third-party search firm was engaged to assist in the identification and evaluation of one or more director nominee candidates for our Board. In particular, the search firm was asked to concentrate on candidates who were chief executive officers. A slate of candidates was identified, including Mr. Zillmer, and referred to our Governance Committee and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Zillmer was subsequently interviewed by the Chair of the Governance Committee and certain other directors, including our Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Zillmer was then recommended by the Governance Committee to the full Board as a director nominee. In February 2006, the Board included Mr. Zillmer on the slate of nominees for election in Class II for a term expiring at the 2009 Annual Meeting and, as such, he is included in the group of nominees for election at this Annual Meeting. See "Proposal to Elect Directors" in this Proxy Statement.
Certain Beneficial Owners The following table sets forth information as to entities which have reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") or have advised us that they are a "beneficial owner," as defined by the SEC's rules and regulations, of more than 5% of our outstanding Common Stock.
Executive Officers and Directors In general, "beneficial ownership" includes those shares of our Common Stock which a director or executive officer has the power to vote or transfer, as well as stock options that are exercisable currently or within 60 days. On March 14, 2006, our current executive officers and directors owned, in the aggregate, 6,151,279 shares of Common Stock constituting approximately 2.4% of our shares outstanding. As required by SEC disclosure rules, "shares outstanding" for this purpose includes options exercisable within 60 days. The detail of beneficial ownership is set forth in the following table.
Our non-management directors also have interests in stock units under our 2001 Non-Employee Director Stock Option and Deferred Compensation Plan. The stock units are Common Stock equivalents. The stock units are credited to a deferred stock unit account and will be paid in the form of Common Stock after a director leaves the Board. Although the stock units may not be voted or transferred, they are shown in the table below because they represent part of the total economic interest of the directors in our Common Stock.
Board Structure The business and affairs of our Company are managed under the overall direction of the Board of Directors. Under our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, the number of directors is determined exclusively by the Board. Currently, the Board has fixed the number of directors at 12. Under our Corporate Governance Principles, the optimal size of the Board is between 11 and 15 members, in order to facilitate effective discussion and decision-making, adequate staffing of Board Committees, and a desired mix of diversified experience and background.
Pursuant to our agreement with Henkel KGaA ("Henkel") described at page 12 under the heading "Stockholder Agreement," Henkel is entitled to designate a number of persons to be nominated for election to our Board of Directors proportionate to Henkel's shareholding in the Company, rounded down to the nearest whole number. As of March 14, 2006, Henkel beneficially owned approximately 28.7% of our outstanding Common Stock and was accordingly entitled to designate three directors. Messrs. Stefan Hamelmann, Ulrich Lehner and Kasper Rorsted have been elected to the Board pursuant to designation by Henkel.
There were six meetings of the Board of Directors during the year ended December 31, 2005. Each director attended at least 75% of all Board meetings and meetings held by all Committees on which he or she served. Overall attendance at Board and Committee meetings was 96%. Directors are expected, but are not required, to attend our Annual Meeting of Stockholders. All directors attended last year's Annual Meeting.
The Board has appointed a Presiding Director to lead non-management directors during executive sessions of the Board. Currently, the Chair of the Governance Committee serves as the Presiding Director.
Board Committees Our By-Laws permit the Board of Directors to designate Committees, each comprised of three or more directors, to assist the Board in carrying out its duties. The Board annually reviews its Committee structure as well as the Charter and composition of each Committee and makes modifications as necessary. The Board believes its current Committee structure, comprised of standing Audit, Compensation, Finance and Governance Committees, is appropriate. The Charters of these Committees are attached as Appendix B (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv), respectively, to this Proxy Statement and are available on our website at www.ecolab.com/investor/governance. The Charters were last amended and approved by the Board in May 2005. The separately designated standing Audit Committee meets the requirements of Section 3(a)(58)(A) of the Exchange Act. The members of the Audit, Compensation and Governance Committees meet the "independence" and other requirements established by the rules and regulations of the SEC, the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "IRS Code"), the New York Stock Exchange, the Pacific Exchange, and our Board, as applicable.
The Committee fulfills, and assists the Board of Directors' oversight of, its responsibilities to monitor (i) the quality and integrity of our consolidated financial statements and management's financial control of operations; (ii) the qualifications, independence and performance of the independent accountants; (iii) the role and performance of the internal audit function; and (iv) our compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The Committee meets regularly and privately with our management and internal auditors, and with our independent registered public accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
A report of the Audit Committee is found under the heading "Audit Committee Report" on page 28.
The Board of Directors has determined that each member of the Audit Committee is "independent" and meets the independence and other requirements of Sections 303A.02 and 303A.07(a) of the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange, and Rule 10A-3 under the Exchange Act, as well as of the Pacifice Exchange and of our Board. The Board has also determined that each member of the Committee is an "audit committee financial expert" under the SEC's rules and should be so designated. Further, the Board has determined, in its business judgment, that each member of the Committee has "accounting and related financial management expertise" and is "financially literate" under the New York Stock Exchange's listing standards.
To assist the Committee in the design and review of executive compensation programs, the Board has selected and retained Frederick W. Cook & Co., Inc., an independent compensation consulting firm, which reports directly to the Committee. A report by the Committee on executive compensation is located on pages 19 through 21.
The Board of Directors has determined that each member of the Compensation Committee meets the independence requirements of the SEC (including Rule 16b-3), the New York Stock Exchange, the Pacific Exchange, Section 162(m) of the IRS Code, and of our Board.
The Board of Directors has determined that each member of the Governance Committee meets the "independence" requirements of the SEC, the New York Stock Exchange, the Pacific Exchange and of our Board.
Director Compensation For 2005, members of the Board of Directors who are not employees of the Company received annual compensation valued at $135,000 as follows:
For 2006, the annual retainer was fixed at $60,000 and the annual stock unit compensation was fixed at one-half of the retainer amount (or $30,000).
Chairs of the Board's Compensation, Finance and Governance Committees each receive an additional fee of $6,000 per year. The Chair of the Audit Committee receives $11,000 per annum. All reasonable travel, telephone and other expenses incurred by directors on behalf of Ecolab are reimbursable.
Under the 2001 Non-Employee Director Stock Option and Deferred Compensation Plan (the "2001 Plan"), non-employee directors may elect to defer some, or all, of the cash portion of their director's fees until cessation of Board service. Deferred amounts either earn interest at market rates or are invested in the stock unit account at the election of the director. Quarterly dividend equivalents are accrued on deferred stock units balances. Upon cessation of Board service, deferred amounts (whether in the interest-bearing account or in the stock unit account) are paid in a lump sum or in equal installments to a maximum of ten years as elected by the director. Amounts deferred after January 1, 2005 must be paid in a lump sum. Formerly, the 2001 Plan permitted non-employee directors to elect to convert their cash compensation and their annual stock unit compensation into elective stock options. The 2001 Plan was amended to eliminate the feature of converting cash and/or stock unit compensation into elective stock options with effect for deferral election periods on and after May 1, 2004.
Commencing in 2001, the options granted to directors under the 2001 Plan may be transferred to defined family members or legal entities established for their benefit, and, with respect to options granted through May 2004, provide for a one-time automatic grant of a reload stock option if the optionee exercises the original stock option by tendering shares of previously owned Common Stock of the Company. The reload stock option is for the same number of shares tendered to exercise the original stock option and the number of shares required to be withheld to satisfy minimum statutory tax obligations, has an exercise price equal to the fair market value of the Company's Common Stock on the reload grant date, and is immediately exercisable at any time during the remaining exercise term of the original stock option. The reload feature for future option grants was eliminated under the 2001 Plan as amended effective May 2004. The beneficial ownership table on page 7 includes stock units outstanding on March 14, 2006 and shares which could be purchased under Company granted stock options (annual and reloads) within 60 days from March 14, 2006. See "Security OwnershipExecutive Officers and Directors."
Mr. Allan L. Schuman, Chairman of the Board, is compensated pursuant to the terms of transition arrangements dated February 28, 2004, as amended, relating to Mr. Schuman's retirement as our Chief Executive Officer in 2004, following 47 years of service to Ecolab. Mr. Schuman, who has announced his retirement from the Board effective at the Annual Meeting, was paid $500,000 in 2005 for serving as Chairman and will receive $208,000 in 2006 for such service until the Annual Meeting. Mr. Schuman also consults with the Company under a ten-year arrangement, in consideration for which the Company (i) provides him with a leased vehicle, (ii) reimburses him for his costs in setting up and maintaining an office, (iii) reimburses him for his reasonable consulting-related expenses, and (iv) provides him with financial planning services and annual physical exams.
"Independence" Standards Pursuant to the Board of Directors' policy, a director is not independent if:
"Independence" Determinations In February 2006, the Governance Committee undertook a review of director independence by examining the nature and magnitude of transactions and relationships during 2005, 2004 and 2003 between each director (or any member of his or her immediate family or the company he or she is employed by and its subsidiaries and affiliates) and Ecolab, its subsidiaries and affiliates, including those reported below under "Stockholder Agreement" and "Related Party Transactions" with respect to Henkel's designees to our Board (Messrs. Hamelmann, Lehner and Rorsted). Appropriate scrutiny is given to any situation which could be reasonably considered a material relationship. Both the existence and nature of the relationship are considered. The relationships include, among others, commercial, industrial, banking, consulting, legal, accounting, charitable and familial relationships. Ecolab also endeavors to identify, quantify and evaluate ordinary course commercial transactions between Ecolab and any company that employs a director, including subsidiaries and affiliates of the company. The Board's Governance Committee has reviewed the following immaterial transactions between certain directors' companies and Ecolab, and determined that none of the transactions exceeds the Board's categorical "independence" standards described above, or adversely affects the director's "independence" status.
less than 0.0002% of Ecolab's consolidated net revenues in 2005. Ecolab believes all sales to and purchases from Cargill and Mosaic during 2005, 2004 and 2003 were made in the ordinary course, at arm's length, and at prices and on terms customarily available. Further, the director had no personal interest in, nor received any personal benefit from, such commercial transactions.
Based on the review of the Governance Committee, the Board of Directors has determined that, with the exception of the directors named below, each of the current directors, including those on the slate of nominees for election to the Board at this year's Annual Meeting, is "independent" and meets the independence and other requirements of the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange and the Pacific Exchange, the rules and regulations of the SEC, applicable law, and the Board's "independence" standards.
In view of the materiality of the relationships, arrangements and transactions between Ecolab and Henkel, including the Stockholder Agreement and Related Party Transactions described below, the Board has determined that Henkel's designees to our Board (Messrs. Hamelmann, Lehner and Rorsted) are not "independent."
Stockholder Agreement In a filing with the SEC, Henkel KGaA reported that it and an affiliate of Henkel owned 72,692,552 shares of our Common Stock as set forth in the table of "Security OwnershipCertain Beneficial Owners" located on page 6.
Henkel's equity ownership in the Company is subject to an agreement ("Stockholder's Agreement") containing certain restrictions pertaining to, among other things, Henkel's acquisition, transfer and voting rights of our Common Stock. Generally, the Stockholder's Agreement terminates when Henkel owns less than two percent of our voting shares. Pursuant to the Stockholder's Agreement, Henkel is precluded from acquiring more than 35% of our outstanding Common Stock or from acting, alone or in concert with others, to control or influence the Company.
Henkel may sell its shares of our Common Stock under certain conditions specified in the Stockholder's Agreement, subject to our right of first refusal. Any disposition by Henkel of any shares of our Common Stock would be effected in an orderly manner in accordance with the Stockholder's Agreement, including our right of first refusal.
Henkel has agreed to vote its shares in the case of election of our directors, certain stockholder proposals, compensation and certain matters pertaining to the independent publicly traded nature of the Company, in accordance with the recommendations or directions of our Board. In all other cases, except with respect to certain "strategic transactions," Henkel may vote, at its option, either in accordance with the recommendation of our Board or pro rata in the same manner and proportion that votes of our stockholders (other than Henkel and our officers or directors) have been cast. Any vote with respect to "strategic transactions," (for example a disposition, recapitalization, liquidation or consolidation of the Company or other transactions which could reasonably be expected to have a material effect upon Henkel's investment in our Common Stock) may be cast at Henkel's sole discretion. Henkel also is entitled to designate nominees for election to our Board of Directors proportionate to the percentage of its holding of our voting securities (rounded down to the nearest whole number). Currently, Henkel has designated three of our directors. Those directors are Messrs. Stefan Hamelmann, Ulrich Lehner and Kasper Rorsted. Further information concerning Henkel directorships is found on page 14 under the heading "Proposal to Elect Directors."
In addition, the Stockholder's Agreement provides that beginning in 2011 Henkel will be permitted to make proposals to our Board of Directors to acquire all, but not less than all, of our outstanding voting shares at certain times, and under terms and conditions set forth in the Stockholder's Agreement.
Related Party Transactions On November 30, 2001, we acquired the 50% of the Henkel-Ecolab joint venture ("Henkel-Ecolab") which we did not already own, from our joint venture partner, Henkel, for a purchase price of approximately €483,500,000, or approximately $432,700,000 at November 30, 2001 exchange rates, plus $6,500,000 of direct transaction related expenses ("Purchase Price"). As of February 28, 2006, in connection with the acquisition, we had an outstanding claim for indemnification from Henkel for certain liabilities which, in the aggregate, amounted to €1,475,000, or approximately $1,780,000 at February 2006 exchange rates. The acquisition is referred to herein as the "Transaction."
As a part of the Transaction, Henkel agreed to continue for up to two years, subject to mutually agreed year-to-year extensions, to provide to our European businesses certain services and products which Henkel previously provided to Henkel-Ecolab prior to the Transaction on financial and other terms substantially similar to those in place prior to the closing of the Transaction. These include leased office space; certain accounting, finance, payroll, human resources, information and other administrative services; and contract manufacturing and supply agreements.
Pursuant to an Intellectual Property Agreement entered into in connection with the Transaction: (i) Henkel transferred certain trademarks and patents used by Henkel-Ecolab to us and we granted a perpetual royalty-free license back to Henkel to use such transferred intellectual property outside of the cleaning and sanitizing field; and (ii) Henkel granted a perpetual (in a limited number of cases, the license for certain trademarks is limited to five years) royalty-free license to us to use certain other trademarks, patents and technology used by Henkel-Ecolab which were not transferred to us.
In connection with the Transaction, Ecolab and Henkel also entered into an Environmental Agreement dated December 7, 2000 under which Henkel agreed to indemnify Ecolab for certain environmental liabilities associated with the former Henkel-Ecolab. Reimbursement from Henkel has been requested for €42,785 (or approximately $52,000) spent for such environmental liabilities prior to December 31, 2005.
During 2005, 2004 and 2003, we sold products and services in the amounts of approximately $3,574,000, $3,222,000 and $3,426,000, respectively, to Henkel and its affiliates, and purchased products and services in the amounts of approximately $65,279,000, $70,946,000 and $71,265,000, respectively, from Henkel and its affiliates. Ecolab believes its sales to and purchases from Henkel were made in the ordinary course, at arm's length, and at prices and on terms customarily available. The payments for products and services include amounts paid to Henkel and its affiliates for administrative services and for products under supply arrangements by our affiliates in approximately 25 countries outside of Europe where we formerly acquired industrial and institutional cleaning and sanitizing businesses from Henkel.
Our Board of Directors is divided into three classes. The members of each class are elected to serve a three-year term with the terms of office of each class ending in successive years. The Board of Directors currently consists of 12 members.
Pursuant to the agreement between us and Henkel KGaA described at page 12 under the heading "Stockholder Agreement," Henkel is entitled to designate a number of persons to be nominated for election to our Board of Directors proportionate to Henkel's shareholding in the Company rounded down to the nearest whole number. As of March 14, 2006, Henkel beneficially owned approximately 28.7% of our outstanding Common Stock and was accordingly entitled to designate three directors. Messrs. Stefan Hamelmann, Ulrich Lehner and Kasper Rorsted have been elected to the Board pursuant to designation by Henkel.
The term of current Class II Directors, including Mr. Allan L. Schuman, expires with this Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Mr. Schuman, a director since 1991, will retire from the Board as of the Annual Meeting. Pursuant to the recommendation of the Governance Committee, Messrs. Biller, Grundhofer, Rorsted and Zillmer were nominated by the Board of Directors for election as Class II Directors. Class II Directors being elected at the current Annual Meeting will serve until the 2009 Annual Meeting expected to be held in May 2009. The directors of Class I and Class III will continue in office. The Board of Directors has no reason to believe that any of the named nominees is not available or will not serve if elected. The Board of Directors recommends a vote FOR the election of the four nominees named in this Proxy Statement.
The following information with regard to business experience has been furnished by the respective directors or nominees or obtained from our records.
The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors (the "Committee") is composed solely of independent directors. The Committee is responsible for the overall executive compensation program and reviews each component no less than annually to maintain alignment with the Company's goals and philosophy. The Company's management and independent compensation consultants provide competitive data and assistance to help the Committee carry out its responsibilities. The Committee meets at regularly scheduled executive sessions. In addition to the regularly scheduled meetings, the Chairman of the Committee, management and, as pertinent, the independent compensation consultants hold pre-board preparation telephone conferences. The Committee intends to make all reasonable attempts to comply with the requirements to exempt executive compensation from the $1,000,000 deduction limitation under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code, unless the Committee determines that such compliance in given circumstances would not be in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders.
Philosophy The Committee uses compensation to help communicate desired business results to executives and to influence them to make decisions to produce those results. The program must be competitive to attract, retain and motivate executives, and it must reinforce and complement sound management practices. In addition, the executives' interests must be effectively aligned with those of our stockholders and, to this end, the Committee developed executive stock ownership guidelines in 1990 to ensure that executives accumulate a significant ownership stake and are vested in maximizing long-term stockholder returns. The ownership guideline for the Chief Executive Officer is 5 times base salary, and range from 3 times base salary to 1 times base salary for all other executive officers depending on their level in the organization.
The principal components of the executive compensation program consist of base salary, annual incentives under the Management Incentive Plan or Management Performance Incentive Plan, and long-term incentives in the form of annual stock option awards and selective grants of restricted stock in connection with promotions and recruitment and retention purposes. The Company also provides special benefits to executives in the form of nonqualified savings and retirement plans and a change in control severance policy described elsewhere in this proxy statement, and perquisites in the form of supplemental life and disability insurance, Company automobile, financial counseling, physical examinations and, for the Chief Executive Officer, club memberships and personal use of private aircraft. The Company's philosophy is to position the aggregate of these components at a level that is commensurate with the Company's size and performance relative to a broad range of general industry manufacturing and service companies, which is generally the size-adjusted median of these competitive benchmarks. The Committee periodically reviews the reasonableness of total compensation levels and mix using public information from comparator company proxy statements and survey information from credible third-party general industry surveys.
Base Salary The Committee reviews base salaries for corporate officers, including the Named Executive Officers, on an annual basis in light of relevant market data and individual performance to determine whether an increase is appropriate. For the most recent fiscal year, base salary increases for corporate officers other than the Chief Executive Officer averaged 4.3%, excluding promotions.
Management Incentive Plan (MIP) / Management Performance Incentive Plan (MPIP) The MIP is a cash-based annual incentive plan that focuses executives' attention on achieving competitive annual business goals. The Committee, with input from management, sets specific performance goals at the beginning of each year and communicates them to the Company's executives. A mix of corporate, business unit and individual goals is used to foster cross-divisional cooperation and to assure that executives have a reasonable measure of control over the factors affecting their awards. For the most recent fiscal year, performance goals were based principally on diluted earnings per share and business unit operating income and revenue goals, with the relative weighting of these goals
varying by executive position. Target award opportunities for corporate officers including the Named Executive Officers other than the Chief Executive Officer ranged from 35% to 55% of base salary, with threshold and maximum award opportunities at 40% and 200% of target opportunities, respectively. Based on overall Company, business unit and individual performance for the most recent fiscal year, actual award payments for corporate officers, including the Named Executive Officers other than the Chief Executive Officer, ranged from 108% to 180% of target opportunities.
The MPIP is a stockholder approved plan that is similar to the MIP, except that it is intended to qualify for the performance-based exception to the $1,000,000 deduction limitation under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code. For the most recent fiscal year, the Committee selected the Chief Executive Officer and one other executive officer as participants in the MPIP and established a maximum award payment opportunity equal to 300% of the participants' base salary (subject to the Plan limit of $3,000,000) based on the attainment of pre-established diluted earnings per share goals. The Committee, working with management and the independent compensation consultants, also set performance goals for the Company which are in addition to the MPIP performance targets.
The Committee, in general, makes awards based strictly on the level of achievement against pre-established goals. Under the MIP, the Committee may, in its sole discretion, make awards at a level higher or lower than that determined by strict application of achievement against goals based upon such other business and individual performance criteria as the Committee determines appropriate. Under the MPIP, however, the Committee may make awards only at a level that is at or lower than the level determined by strict application of achievement against goals.
Long-Term Incentives The Committee uses annual grants of stock options to deliver a competitive compensation package that motivates executives to make decisions that will increase the value of Company stock, thus providing an appropriate focus on the long-term growth of the Company. When executives deliver sustained superior returns to stockholders by outperforming the general industry, they can increase their own compensation accordingly.
Stock options are granted annually based on pre-established grant guidelines approved by the Committee under a stockholder approved plan with exercise prices not less than the fair market value of the Company's Common Stock on the date of grant, providing no value to the executive unless the Company's stock price increases after the grants are made. In determining the number of stock options to be awarded the Committee does not consider the amount and term of previously granted equity awards. Stock options granted during the most recent fiscal year have a 10-year exercise term and vest ratably on the first three anniversaries of the date of grant, subject to accelerated vesting in the event of certain terminations of employment, including retirement, or a defined change-in-control of the Company. Commencing August 2001, stock options granted to plan participants, including executive officers, may be transferred to defined family members or legal entities established for their benefit. Stock option grants made in 2000, 2001 and 2002 also provided for a one-time automatic grant of a reload stock option if the optionee exercises the original stock option by tendering shares of previously owned Common Stock of the Company (the reload feature was eliminated for grants subsequent to 2002). The reload stock option is for the same number of shares tendered to exercise the original stock option and the number of shares required to be withheld to satisfy minimum statutory tax obligations, has an exercise price equal to the fair market value of the Company's Common Stock on the reload grant date, and is immediately exercisable at any time during the remaining exercise term of the original stock option.
Compensation of Chief Executive Officer Mr. Baker was promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2004. Concurrent with his promotion, Mr. Baker's base salary was increased from $550,000 to $700,000. Mr. Baker did not receive a base salary increase in 2005, his target annual incentive opportunity was increased from 75% to 90% of base salary. Mr. Baker received a stock option grant for 303,000 shares with terms and conditions consistent with those described above for other optionees.
Conclusion The Committee believes that executive compensation policies and programs described in the report serve the interests of stockholders and the Company effectively. The various pay vehicles utilized maintain an appropriate balance between motivating achievement of short-term goals and strategically leading the Company in a direction to provide long-term success. The Committee will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the Company's total compensation program to ensure that it meets the needs of the Company.
Dated: February 24, 2006
The following table shows cash and non-cash compensation for each of the last three years ended December 31 for the persons serving as the Company's Chief Executive Officer during the year ended December 31, 2005 and for the next four most highly-compensated executive officers who were serving in those capacities at December 31, 2005.
The following table shows stock options granted to the named executives. The table describes options as either "initial" or "reload." The issuance of a reload option is not a new discretionary grant by Ecolab. Rather, the issuance results from rights that were granted to the option holder as part of the initial option grant. The reload option expires on the expiration date of the initial grant.
For a description of the reload feature, see the disclosure regarding "Long-Term Incentives" located in the Report of the Compensation Committee on Executive Compensation at page 20 hereof.
a person or group acquires 25% or more of the Company's outstanding voting power. However, if the acquisition was approved by the Board of Directors, then a change in control occurs at 34% ownership. If the acquiring person, prior to becoming a 25% shareholder, has entered into (and is in compliance with) a shareholder agreement which imposes limits on the person's maximum Company shareholdings, then a change in control occurs only upon acquisition of 50% of the Company's voting power;
during any 36 consecutive month period, individuals who constitute the Board on the first day of the period or any new director (other than a director whose initial assumption of office is in connection with an actual or threatened election relating to the election of directors) whose election or nomination for election by the Company's stockholders was approved or recommended by a vote of at least two-thirds of the directors then still in office who were directors on the first day of such period (or whose election or nomination were previously so approved) shall cease for any reason to constitute at least a majority of the Board of Directors;
the Company engages in a merger or consolidation, other than a merger or consolidation in which the Company's voting securities immediately prior to the transaction continue to represent over 50% of the voting power of the Company or the surviving entity immediately after the transaction and in which no person or group acquires 50% or more of the voting power of the Company or surviving entity; and
the Company's stockholders approve a plan of complete liquidation or the Company sells all or substantially all of the Company's assets, other than to an entity with more than 50% of its voting power owned by the Company's stockholders in substantially the same proportion as their ownership of the Company immediately prior to the sale.
The graph below compares the cumulative total shareholder return on the Company's Common Stock for the five calendar years ended December 31, 2005, with the cumulative total return on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Standard & Poor's 500 Specialty Chemicals Index of the Standard & Poor's Global Industry Classification Standard, over the same periods (assuming the investment of $100 in the Company's Common Stock, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Standard & Poor's 500 Specialty Chemicals Index on January 1, 2001, and daily reinvestment of all dividends).
The preceding table shows the estimated annual benefits payable under the Company's non-contributory qualified defined benefit Pension Plan, the Company's non-contributory non-qualified defined benefit Mirror Pension Plan and the Company's Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (based upon a 15-year period certain for the supplemental retirement benefit and a straight life annuity for both the qualified and non-qualified pension benefits) following retirement at age 65 for sample covered compensation amounts and lengths of plan participation, without regard to vesting and offsets, if any, for benefits under the Savings Plan or any predecessor plans and Social Security. At the end of 15 years, payment of amounts attributable solely to the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan cease. The amounts shown in the preceding table which are attributable to the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan would be reduced by $11,634, which is the amount attributable to 50% of the primary Social Security annual retirement benefit, based upon 2005 maximum levels for retirement in 2005 at age 65, and by annuitized amounts presumed to be paid from the Company's matching contribution made prior to July 1, 1994 under the Company's Savings Plan and a former profit-sharing plan of the Company.
The table does not show the additional "past service benefit" provided under the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan to eligible executives who are unable to earn the maximum supplemental benefit by retirement at or after age 65 because the executive was hired by the Company after age 35. The past service benefit would add an additional benefit of 1% of the difference between covered compensation at retirement and annualized earnings at the time of joining the Company ("first year earnings") for each year by which the executive's age at date of hire exceeded 35. Mr. Miller is, and Mr. Newlin was, subject to these provisions and their first year earnings and estimated years of service creditable as past service are as follows: Mr. Newlin, $466,332 with 15.89 years; and Mr. Miller, $164,501 with 5.16 years.
Applicable approximate covered compensation and credited years of service as of December 31, 2005 for the combined pensions and supplemental executive retirement benefits for the individuals named in the Summary Compensation Table on page 22 are as follows: Mr. Baker, $874,725 with 16 years; Mr. Newlin, $709,625 with 2 years; Mr. Fritze, $510,347 with 25 years; Mr. Miller, $416,225 with 9.5 years; and Mr. Bell, $479,720 with 26 years.
Covered compensation is based on the executive officer's average annual earnings during the five continuous years of highest earnings. In general, there is no material variation between compensation used to determine covered compensation and the base salary and bonus compensation of executive officers as reported in the Summary Compensation Table on page 22.
During 2004, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (the "Act") added a new Section 409A to the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code") which significantly changed the federal tax law applicable to "amounts deferred" after December 31, 2004 under nonqualified deferred compensation plans. As a
result, the Company adopted amendments to both its Mirror Pension Plan and Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan to temporarily freeze the accrual of benefits under those plans as of December 31, 2004. The amendments protected the "grandfathered" status of amounts deferred prior to January 1, 2005 and allowed such amounts to continue to be governed by the law applicable to nonqualified deferred compensation plans prior to the addition of Section 409A of the Code. The Secretary of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued certain proposed regulations and/or other guidance with respect to the provisions of new Code Section 409A in 2005 and will issue additional guidance in 2006. Final amendments to comply with the Act are required by the end of 2006. The Company currently intends to rescind the freeze, following issuance of regulations to ensure compliance for post-2004 benefit accruals.
Effective January 1, 2003 the Company revised the benefit formula under its non-contributory qualified defined benefit Pension Plan from a formula determined primarily by average final compensation and years of service to a cash balance formula. The new cash balance formula applies only to employees hired on or after the January 1, 2003 effective date. Employees hired before January 1, 2003 continue to accrue benefits under the formula described above. Under the new cash balance benefit formula, a participant accrues a benefit amount at the end of each plan year equal to 5% of the participant's covered compensation for that plan year, plus an amount equal to interest based on 10-year Treasury rates applied to the participant's balance on the first day of that plan year. Covered Compensation is based on the participant's base salary and bonus compensation for a plan year. There is no material variation between compensation used to determine covered compensation and the base salary and bonus compensation reported in the Summary Compensation Table reported on page 22 hereof. Mr. Newlin was the only named executive officer covered under the cash balance benefit formula, since he became employed with the Company after January 1, 2003, however his entire pension benefit (both the qualified and non-qualified pension benefit and the supplemental retirement benefit) was forfeited because he terminated employment prior to completing the required vesting service.
Since all named executive officers participate in the Company's Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan, which has a formula based on final average compensation and years of service, their total pension benefit at retirement would be calculated in accordance with the pension table notwithstanding participation in the cash balance formula of the qualified Pension Plan.
The Company has a Change in Control Severance Compensation Policy (the "Policy"). The Policy applies to elected officers (other than assistant officers) of the Company, which includes each named executive officer listed in the Summary Compensation Table on page 22. The Policy, in general, runs until the later of either two years after a notice of termination of the Policy is given by the Board of Directors or, if a change in control has occurred, two years after a change in control.
Under the Policy, if within two years following a change in control the officer's employment with the Company is terminated without Just Cause (as defined in the Policy) or the officer voluntarily terminates his/her employment for Good Reason (as defined in the Policy), the officer is entitled to a severance payment. The severance payment is paid in a lump sum and is equal to the aggregate of (i) two times the sum of the officer's base salary plus target annual bonus; and (ii) a pro-rated portion of the target annual bonus for the year of termination. The officer also is entitled to payment of reasonable outplacement service fees up to 20% of base salary and continuation, for up to 18 months, of medical and dental health coverage at the cost the officer paid prior to termination of employment. It is a condition of the payment of such benefits that the officer provide the Company with a release from claims against the Company.
In addition, the Company's non-qualified Mirror Pension Plan and the Company's Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan discussed under the Pension Plan Table on page 26 provide that the interests of participants shall vest and become non-forfeitable upon a change in control of the Company. As discussed in that section, these plans were frozen as of December 31, 2004. Each named executive officer listed in the Summary Compensation Table on page 22 participates in such deferred compensation plans.
For the purpose of the Policy, and the defined compensation plans, the term "change in control" has the same meaning given it in the discussion found on page 23 at note (1) under the table "Option Grants in 2005."
The Audit Committee operates under a written Charter and the functions of the Committee are described under the heading "Board Committees Audit Committee" on page 8 hereof. The Audit Committee's Charter recognizes that (i) it is the responsibility of management to prepare the Company's financial statements in accordance with Accounting Principles Generally Accepted in the United States of America and to maintain an effective system of financial control; and (ii) it is the responsibility of the independent auditors to plan and conduct the annual audit and express their opinion on the consolidated financial statements in accordance with professional standards. As recognized in the Charter, the Committee's responsibilities include overseeing the work of the participants in the financial reporting and control process.
In this context, the Audit Committee has (i) reviewed and discussed the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company as of December 31, 2005 and for the year then ended (the "Financial Statements") with management which has represented that the Financial Statements were prepared in accordance with Accounting Principles Generally Accepted in the United States of America, (ii) discussed the Financial Statements with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (our independent registered public accounting firm), including the matters required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61, as amended (Communication with Audit Committee), and (iii) received the written disclosures and the letter from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP required by Independence Standards Board Standard No. 1 (Independence Discussions with Audit Committees), and has discussed with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP their independence. The Committee has also considered whether PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's provision of non-audit services as described below under the heading "Audit Fees" is compatible with maintaining PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's independence.
Based on the foregoing review and discussions, the Audit Committee recommended to the Board of Directors, and the Board has approved, that the Financial Statements be included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005 for filing with the SEC.
Dated: February 23, 2006
The following table presents fees for professional services rendered by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP ("PwC") for the years ended December 31, 2005 and 2004.
All of the professional services provided by PwC in 2005 and 2004 were approved or pre-approved in accordance with policies of the Audit Committee and the Company. The Audit Committee has pre-approved projects for certain permissible non-audit services. Under the policy, requests for pre-approvals of permissible non-audit services must be accompanied by detailed documentation regarding specific services to be provided. The policy specifies that:
Examples of permissible non-audit services under the policy include: (i) merger/acquisition due diligence services; (ii) attest services; (iii) tax compliance, filings and returns; and (iv) tax planning services, provided that such services are limited to projects having "known or accepted" outcomes.
The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP ("PwC") as independent registered public accounting firm to audit our consolidated financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2006 and to perform other appropriate services. Representatives of PwC are expected to be present at our Annual Meeting of Stockholders. They will have an opportunity to make a statement if they desire to do so, and are expected to be available to respond to appropriate questions.
PwC has provided professional services to the Company in 2005, the aggregate fees and expenses of which are reported on page 29.
Board of Directors' Recommendation The Board of Directors recommends that the Stockholders vote FOR the ratification of the appointment of PwC as our independent registered public accounting firm. Under the laws of the State of Delaware, stockholder ratification of the appointment of independent registered public accounting firm is not required. However, the Board deems it advisable to submit the appointment of PwC for stockholder consideration and ratification. If the appointment of PwC is not ratified, the Audit Committee will reconsider the matter, but will not be required to change its decision to appoint PwC as independent registered public accounting firm. Unless a contrary choice is specified, proxies solicited by our Board of Directors will be voted FOR ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Proxy Solicitation Costs We will bear the cost of the preparation and solicitation of proxies, including the charges and expenses of brokerage firms, banks or other nominees for forwarding proxy material to beneficial owners. In addition to solicitation by mail, proxies may be solicited by telephone, the Internet or personally. We have retained Georgeson Shareholder Communications, Inc., 17 State Street, New York, NY 10004, to aid in the solicitation of proxies for a fee not to exceed $9,000 plus expenses. Proxies may also be solicited by certain directors, officers and employees of the Company without extra compensation.
Householding Information Some banks, brokers and other nominee record holders may be participating in the practice of "householding" proxy soliciting material. This means that you and other holders of our Common Stock in your household may not receive separate copies of the Company's Proxy Statement or Annual Report. We will promptly deliver an additional copy of either document to any stockholder upon request to: Corporate Secretary, Ecolab Inc., 370 Wabasha Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55102; telephone (651) 293-2233; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voting by Plan Participants Generally, you will receive only one proxy card covering all the shares you hold:
*If you participate in the Ecolab Savings Plan and ESOP (the "Plan"), you are entitled to direct Fidelity Management Trust Company (the "Trustee") to vote (or not to vote) the equivalent number of shares of Common Stock credited to your Plan account. Your proxy card will serve as a voting instruction to the Trustee and if your instructions are timely received, the Trustee will follow your voting instructions. If you do not timely submit your voting instructions the Trustee will vote your Plan shares in the same proportion as to each respective proposal as the shares for which voting instructions have been received from other Plan participants. To allow sufficient time for voting of your shares by the Trustee, your voting instructions should be received by May 9, 2006 to ensure tabulation.
If you hold Ecolab shares through any other Ecolab plans, you will receive voting instructions from that plan's administrator.
By Order of the Board of Directors
March 31, 2006
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE PRINCIPLES
Composition and Qualifications
No more than three Board members shall be from current Management. These Management members normally would be the Chief Executive Officer, the Chairman (if an Ecolab employee and not the CEO) and the President (if an Ecolab employee and not the CEO), but may be any other officer deemed appropriate by the Board.
It is desired that the members of the Board represent a geographical dispersion and variety of business disciplines so as to bring to the work of the Board a diversity of experience and background with the predominance of members being chief or executive officers from different industries. A continuing effort shall be made to seek well-qualified women and minority group members for the Board, but these persons must be sought out and evaluated as individuals rather than as representatives of specific groups.
The Board will have a majority of independent directors who meet the criteria required for independence by law, the rules and regulations of the SEC and the New York Stock Exchange listing standards.
Limitations on Other Directorships
The CEO shall pre-clear service as a director of another company with the Governance Committee of the Board.
The number of Boards of publicly traded companies or Audit Committees thereof on which outside directors sit should not exceed three (in addition to the Corporation) without the concurrence of the Governance Committee and may not, in any event, constitute a conflict of interest.
Selection of Directors
All directors are encouraged to submit to the Governance Committee the name of any person deemed qualified to serve on the Board, together with information on the candidate's qualifications. The Governance Committee will screen and submit to the full Board the names and biographical information of those persons considered by the Committee to be viable candidates for election as directors.
Director Orientation and Continuing Education
An orientation program is presented for each new director to acquaint him/her with the business, financial picture, compliance policies and other policies relevant to directors. In addition, a director information manual, which contains information about the Corporation, director compensation and indemnification, and other relevant matters, will be distributed to directors and periodically updated.
The Governance Committee will arrange continuing education programs, to allow for tailored in-house programs or the attendance at outside accredited programs, as frequently as determined appropriate by the Board.
Change of Principal Occupation
A director who ceases to occupy the position of principal employment held at the time of election to the Board shall offer his/her resignation for consideration by the Board. The Governance Committee will
review the circumstances and make a recommendation to the Board as to whether the resignation should be accepted.
Service Limitations of Directors
A CEO who retires as an employee of the Corporation may continue to serve on the Board until the next annual meeting following retirement.
A non-employee director who attains age 70 shall submit his/her resignation as a director, to take effect at the time of the next annual meeting of stockholders.
The appropriateness of a director's continuation on the Board is reviewed when the Board designates a slate of directors for re-election by the stockholders. Accordingly, the Board does not have a policy establishing term limits.
Duty of Loyalty and Confidentiality
Directors owe to the Corporation a duty of loyalty and a duty of diligence in carrying out their responsibilities. Directors shall deal in strict confidence with all material, non-public matters involving the Corporation. Such material, non-public information shall not be disclosed to anyone other than Board members without the express agreement or direction of the Board.
Attendance and Information Review
Directors shall make a diligent effort to achieve regular attendance at Board and Committee meetings, and to carefully review the information furnished by Management with respect to matters requiring Board or Committee action or monitoring. Directors also have a responsibility, with the assistance of Management, to maintain a current understanding of developments in the industry and to be familiar with the Corporation's operations and its strengths and weaknesses.
Conflicts of Interest
Directors shall promptly disclose to the Board any situation which could reasonably be considered as a conflict of interest with service as a director, or having the appearance of such. Both the existence of the interest and the nature thereof (e.g., financial, family relationship, professional, charitable or business affiliation) should be disclosed.
Board Interaction with Corporate Constituencies
The Board believes that Management speaks for the Corporation. Individual Board members may, from time to time, meet or otherwise communicate with various constituencies but this would be done only at the request of the CEO.
Compensation of Directors
To attract and retain qualified directors, non-employee director remuneration and benefits should be fully competitive and will be reviewed annually to ensure that it meets this standard. This review should be conducted by the Compensation Committee, which shall issue a report and recommendation to the Board for decision. Corporation stock should constitute a meaningful component of director compensation.
Director Stock Ownership Guidelines
Directors should have a financial stake in the Corporation. Directors are expected to acquire Corporation stock or stock equivalents having a value equal to at least five times the annual retainer for directors, within a period of three to five years after election.
The office of Chairman and CEO may or may not be held by one person. The Board believes it is best not to have a fixed policy on this issue and that it should be free to make this determination based on what it believes is best in the circumstances.
Executive Sessions of Non-Management Directors
Portions of regular meetings may be set aside for the outside directors to meet privately with the CEO, and the non-management directors shall also meet privately without the CEO on a regular basis.
The Board will formally adopt a procedure regarding a presiding director for executive sessions of the non-management directors. Currently, the Chair of the Governance Committee serves as the Presiding Director. The Board will adopt and disclose a policy regarding a method for interested parties to communicate with the presiding director.
The size of the Board may vary from time to time, but shall preferably be not less than 11 or more than 15 members. This size should accommodate the objectives of effective discussion and decision-making, adequate staffing of Board Committees, and desired mix of Management and non-employee directors.
The Board believes its current Committee structure, comprised of an Audit, Compensation, Finance and Governance Committee, is appropriate. However, the Board annually reviews its Committee structure as well as the Charter and composition of each Committee and will make modifications as necessary. The Board reviews the Committee membership when it annually reappoints its Committees and, therefore, does not have a fixed policy on rotation of Committee memberships. The Audit, Compensation and Governance Committees will be composed entirely of directors who meet the criteria required for independence by law, the rules and regulations of the SEC and the New York Stock Exchange listing standards. Directors who are not independent may attend (but may not vote at) meetings of Committees.
The CEO and Chairman (if the two offices are separated) shall establish the agendas for Board meetings, taking into consideration the "core" agenda items and regular meeting dates that the Board establishes in advance. The Board shall be free to suggest agenda topics and the CEO will seek Board input on agenda items. Board meetings will, in general, focus on strategic issues rather than on operational issues.
Appropriate Information and Access
Directors are entitled to an adequate information flow from Management. They should be provided with an agenda and (to the extent practicable) appropriate supporting materials in advance of Board and Committee meetings. Directors are also entitled to direct access to the Corporation's independent auditors, the Internal Audit Department and to Management. The CEO should be kept advised of substantive contacts in this regard.
Ability to Retain Advisors
The Board and its Committees may, as it deems necessary or appropriate and at the Corporation's expense, obtain advice and assistance from internal or external legal or other advisors.
Meeting Attendance by Non-Directors
The CEO selects senior executives to attend meetings to make presentations to the Board which provides the Board with the opportunity to evaluate senior executives.
Meeting frequency and agenda items for Committee meetings shall be fixed by the CEO and Chairman in conjunction with the Committee Chair, taking into account the regular Committee meeting schedule and core agendas annually fixed by the Board. The Committee Chair will report to the full Board at each regular meeting on Committee actions and recommendations.
Assessing the Board's Performance
The Board shall ensure that a process is in place, utilizing the Governance Committee, to annually review and assess the Board's performance with a goal of improving the effectiveness of the Board as a whole.
The Board will ensure that a process is in place, utilizing the Governance Committee, to annually evaluate CEO performance and to provide a summary of the Board's review to the CEO. The process shall ensure that each outside director has the opportunity to provide written or oral input prior to the evaluation being provided to the CEO.
Succession Planning and Management Development
Annually, and more often if required, the CEO shall report to the Board on succession planning. Upon the death, incapacity or temporary absence of the CEO, the Chairman of the Governance Committee shall, consistent with the Corporation's current succession plan, designate an acting CEO until further act of the Board. Additionally, the CEO and other appropriate members of Management, as selected by the CEO, shall report annually to the Board on the Company's program for Management development, including diversity.
Membership and Organization
The members of the Audit Committee shall be comprised of not less than three directors. The Committee shall meet the independence, financial experience and other requirements established by law, the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the New York Stock Exchange listing standards, and possess the personal characteristics appropriate to the Committee's role. The members of the Audit Committee shall be appointed by the Board upon the recommendation of the Governance Committee. Audit Committee members may be replaced by the Board.
The Committee shall meet regularly to fulfill, and assist the Board of Directors' oversight of, their responsibilities to monitor (1) the quality and integrity of the Corporation's consolidated financial statements and Management's financial control of operations, (2) the qualifications, independence and performance of the independent accountants, (3) the role and performance of the internal audit function, and (4) the Corporation's compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. In performing its duties, the Committee shall maintain effective working relationships with the Board of Directors, Management, the internal auditors and the independent accountants.
The Committee's authorities and responsibilities as set forth herein are intended to assist it and the Board of Directors in its monitoring and oversight role. It remains the responsibility of Management to prepare complete and accurate financial statements in accordance with GAAP, to maintain financial control of operations and assure compliance with laws and regulations. It remains the responsibility of the independent accountants to plan and conduct the annual audit and express their opinion on the consolidated financial statements in accordance with professional standards.
The Committee shall oversee the work of the other participants in the financial reporting and financial control process. To facilitate that role:
(1) Financial Reporting: Monitor and make recommendations concerning the integrity of the consolidated financial statements and related disclosures made by Management, and Management's procedures to comply with laws and regulations governing such statements and disclosures. Without limitation, the Committee shall:
of the earnings press release, as well as financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and ratings agencies. Such discussion may be done generally (i.e., discussion of the types of information to be disclosed and the type of presentation to be made). The Committee need not discuss in advance each instance in which the Corporation may provide financial information or earnings guidance. At the discretion of the Committee, the Chair of the Committee may represent the Committee for the purpose of this review.
(2) Internal Accounting Control: Monitor and make recommendations concerning the effectiveness of the Corporation's system of internal controls. Without limitation, the Committee shall:
(3) Performance of Independent Accountants: Review and evaluate the qualifications and performance (including their compliance with independence requirements) of the independent accountants.
(4) Corporate Compliance: Monitor and make recommendations concerning the Corporation's procedures to maintain effective controls against employee conflict of interest and fraud and comply with related laws. Without limitation, the Committee shall:
(5) Performance Review: Perform an annual review and evaluation of the performance of the Committee.
(6) Charter Recommendation: Annually review and assess the adequacy of the Committee Charter and make recommendations to the Board of Directors relating to the Committee's Charter and the Committee's core meeting agenda for the upcoming year.
(7) Private Meetings: Meet privately on a regular basis with representatives of the independent accountants, Management (for example the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Accounting Officer) and the Internal Audit Department.
(8) Audit Committee Report: Ensure preparation of the report required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to be included in the Corporation's annual proxy statement.
(9) Complaint Procedures: Establish procedures for (i) the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Corporation regarding accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters, and (ii) confidential anonymous submissions by employees of the Corporation of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
Membership and Organization
The members of the Compensation Committee shall be comprised of not less than three directors. The Committee members shall meet the independence and other requirements established by law, the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the New York Stock Exchange listing standards. The members of the Compensation Committee shall be appointed by the Board upon the recommendation of the Governance Committee. Compensation Committee members may be replaced by the Board.
Authority and Responsibilities
The Compensation Committee shall meet regularly and have the following duties and authority:
Reports to Board
The Committee shall make regular reports to the Board.
Compensation Committee Report
The Committee shall ensure preparation of the report on executive compensation required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to be included in the Corporation's annual proxy statement.
The Committee shall have the sole authority to retain and terminate any compensation consultant to be used to assist in the evaluation of director or executive compensation and shall have sole authority to approve the consultant's fees and other retention terms.
Outside Advisers and Access to Management
The Committee may, as it deems necessary or appropriate and at the Corporation's expense, obtain advice and assistance from internal or external legal or other advisers. The Committee shall have unrestricted access to Management.
The Committee shall annually review and assess the adequacy of the Committee Charter and make recommendations to the Board relating to the Committee's Charter and the Committee's core meeting agenda for the upcoming year.
The Committee shall perform an annual review of the performance of the Committee.
The Finance Committee shall have the following duties and authority:
Membership and Organization
The members of the Governance Committee shall be comprised of not less than three directors. The Committee members shall meet the independence and other requirements established by law, the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the New York Stock Exchange listing standards. The members of the Governance Committee shall be appointed by the Board. Governance Committee members may be replaced by the Board.
Authority and Responsibilities
The Governance Committee shall meet regularly and have the following duties and authority:
Reports to Board
The Committee shall make regular reports to the Board.
Outside Advisors and Access to Management
The Committee may, as it deems necessary or appropriate and at the Corporation's expense, obtain advice and assistance from internal or external legal or other advisors. The Committee shall have unrestricted access to Management.
Annually review and assess the adequacy of the Committee Charter and make recommendations to the Board of Directors relating to the Committee's Charter and the Committee's core meeting agenda for the upcoming year.
The Committee shall perform an annual review of the performance of the Committee.
DIRECTIONS TO THE ECOLAB ANNUAL MEETING
PLEASE REFER TO THE REVERSE SIDE FOR TELEPHONE AND INTERNET VOTING INSTRUCTIONS.
D Authorized SignaturesSign HereThis section must be completed for your instructions to be executed.
NOTE: Please sign your name(s) EXACTLY as your name(s) appear(s) on this proxy. All joint holders must sign. When signing as attorney, trustee, executor, administrator, guardian or corporate officer, please provide your FULL title.
Proxy - Ecolab Inc.
THIS PROXY IS SOLICITED ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The undersigned hereby appoints Douglas M. Baker, Lawrence T. Bell and Timothy P. Dordell, and each of them, with power of substitution to each as proxies to represent the undersigned at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders of Ecolab Inc., to be held in St. Paul, Minnesota's Landmark Center at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 12, 2006 and at any adjournment(s) thereof, and to vote all shares of stock which the undersigned may be entitled to vote at said meeting as directed on the reverse side with respect to the proposals as set forth in the Proxy Statement, and in their discretion, upon any other matters that may properly come before the meeting.
You are encouraged to specify your choices by marking the appropriate boxes, SEE REVERSE SIDE, but you need not mark any boxes if you wish to vote in accordance with the Board of Directors' recommendations as indicated on the reverse side. The tabulator cannot vote your shares unless you sign and return this card, or you use the telephone or internet voting services.
(Continued and to be voted on reverse side.)
ELECTRONIC ACCESS TO FUTURE DOCUMENTS NOW AVAILABLE
Ecolab provides its annual reports and proxy solicitation materials, including notices to shareholders of annual meetings and proxy statements, on the Internet. If you give your consent to access these documents on the Internet, Ecolab will advise you when these documents become available on the Internet. Providing these documents on the Internet will reduce Ecolab's printing and postage costs. Once you give your consent, it will remain in effect until you notify Ecolab that you wish to resume mail delivery of the annual reports and proxy statements. Even though you give your consent, you still have the right at any time to request printed copies of these documents.
To give your consent, mark the appropriate consent box located on the reverse of this Proxy Card under Section C.
Telephone and Internet Voting Instructions
Instead of mailing your proxy, you may choose one of the two voting methods outlined below to vote your proxy.
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GOVERNANCE / STOCKHOLDER ACCESS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE STANDARDS AND DETERMINATIONS
PROPOSAL TO ELECT DIRECTORS
Nominees for Election to the Board of DirectorsClass II (For a Term Ending 2009)
Members of Board of Directors Continuing in OfficeClass III (For a Term Ending 2007)
Members of Board of Directors Continuing in OfficeClass I (For a Term Ending 2008)
Report of the Compensation Committee on Executive Compensation
Summary Compensation Table
Option Grants in 2005
Aggregated Option Exercises in 2005 and December 31, 2005 Option Values
Comparison of FiveYear Cumulative Total Return
Pension Plan Table
Severance Policy and Severance Agreements
AUDIT COMMITTEE REPORT
PROPOSAL TO RATIFY APPOINTMENT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
Appendix A Corporate Governance Principles
Appendix B(i) Audit Committee
Appendix B(ii) Compensation Committee
Appendix B(iii) Finance Committee
Appendix B(iv) Governance Committee
Appendix C Directions to the Ecolab Annual Meeting