This excerpt taken from the MRO DEF 14A filed Mar 13, 2007.
In the energy industry, we currently operate in a competitive environment for talented employees. As a result, in order to attract and retain leadership, we believe it is necessary and appropriate to benchmark our executive compensation against that of our competitors.
Overall, our executive compensation program is designed to provide total compensation opportunities that are within the range of the market median when target level performance is achieved, which we believe is competitive. However, there are variations in pay competitiveness among the Officers based on factors other than market data, such as internal equity, experience and role within Marathon. Actual awards earned under our incentive compensation programs vary based upon both our performance and that of the individual Officer. When performance objectives are exceeded, incentive compensation is intended to be above the median. When performance is below our objectives, incentive compensation, if provided, is intended to be below the median.
To assist with the benchmarking process, the Committee has engaged a compensation consultant to provide consulting services on executive compensation matters. The consultant provides the Committee with comparative data on executive compensation and expert advice on compensation program design and implementation. The comparative data provided by the consultant is only one of several factors considered by the Committee when establishing compensation levels.
With the help of the consultant, the Committee regularly compares the salary, annual bonus, long-term incentive opportunities and total compensation for Officers with those of similar positions at peer companies where we compete for talent. The peer group companies we use for our corporate and upstream compensation comparisons are: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Apache Corporation, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy Corporation, Hess Corporation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Sunoco Inc., Tesoro Corporation and Valero Energy Corporation. The companies we use for downstream comparisons are: BP p.l.c., Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Hess Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell p.l.c., Sunoco Inc., Tesoro Corporation and Valero Energy Corporation.