This excerpt taken from the PCG DEF 14A filed Apr 2, 2008.
Compensation Related to Termination of Employment or Change in Control of PG&E Corporation
The PG&E Corporation Board of Directors has adopted an Officer Severance Policy to provide certain officers with severance benefits if their employment is terminated without cause. The purpose of the severance policy is to (1) attract and retain senior management by defining the terms and conditions for severance benefits, (2) provide severance benefits that are part of a competitive total compensation package, (3) provide consistent treatment for all terminated officers, and (4) minimize potential litigation costs associated with officers' termination of employment. These severance benefits are described below under the section entitled "Potential Payments Upon Termination Without Cause."
Termination in Connection with a Change in Control
As a general policy, any compensation related to a Change in Control is contingent upon a "double trigger," and is paid only if certain events occur in addition to the Change in Control. In February 2006, the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors amended the definition of "Change in Control" to narrow the circumstances under which a Change in Control would be deemed to have occurred. Before these amendments were made, the definition of "Change in Control" included shareholder approval of certain consolidation or merger transactions. The amendments provide that a "Change in Control" occurs upon the consummation of a transaction following shareholder approval, rather than upon shareholder approval alone. The Board of Directors made this change to more closely align PG&E Corporation's policies with those of
the companies in the Pay Comparator Group. In addition, the amendment addresses an issue raised in a shareholder proposal that was approved by shareholders at PG&E Corporation's 2005 annual meeting.
If a covered officer is actually or constructively terminated in connection with a "Change in Control" or "potential Change in Control" of PG&E Corporation, the Officer Severance Policy provides covered officers with certain benefits, as described below under the section entitled "Potential Payments Following a Change in Control and Other Triggering Events." The PG&E Corporation Board of Directors has determined that the provision of such benefits in these circumstances is an integral part of PG&E Corporation's officer compensation program. In a hostile takeover or Change in Control situation, it is important for management to remain focused on maximizing shareholder value and aligning with shareholders' interest, and not be distracted by concerns about the security of their jobs. The benefit levels provided to the covered officers, including the NEOs, under different termination circumstances reflect competitive market practices among the peer groups that the Committee benchmarks.
Such Change in Control benefits may be limited by the Golden Parachute Restriction Policy, which the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors adopted in February 2006 (described below in the section entitled "Potential Payments Following a Change in Control and Other Triggering Events"). This policy requires shareholder approval of executive severance payments provided in connection with a Change in Control of PG&E Corporation, to the extent that those payments exceed 2.99 times the sum of a covered officer's base salary and target annual bonus. This policy responds to a shareholder proposal that was approved by shareholders at PG&E Corporation's 2005 annual meeting.
The LTIP also provides for accelerated vesting of LTIP awards in connection with a Change in Control. For grants made in 2007 and after, acceleration will occur only if there is a Change in Control and either (1) the successor company fails to continue previously granted awards in a manner that preserves the value of those awards, or (2) the award recipient is terminated in connection with a Change in Control during a specified period of time before or after the Change in Control. The PG&E Corporation Board of Directors made this change to more closely align PG&E Corporation's policies with market trends and to (1) better balance the interests of award recipients and shareholders, (2) maintain security for award recipients in a time of uncertainty, and (3) maintain for award recipients an incentive to stay with PG&E Corporation even following a transaction.
For outstanding stock-based awards granted before December 31, 2006, upon the occurrence of a Change in Control of PG&E Corporation, all outstanding stock-based awards will accelerate, regardless of whether an officer has been terminated. This provision was changed in response to issues raised in a shareholder proposal that was approved by shareholders at PG&E Corporation's 2005 annual meeting.