This excerpt taken from the GWW DEF 14A filed Mar 14, 2008.
The Company annually provides long-term incentives to NEOs and other key managers in order to:
The Company's long-term incentives are stock-based. The target number of shares covered by long-term incentive awards is designed to provide an economic value that is generally at the median of the compensation comparator group for comparable jobs; the target can be adjusted up or down to reflect individual performance. The Committee established the target number of shares at its February 2007 meeting and approved the awards at its April 2007 meeting for all participants, including the NEOs. In connection with their long-term incentive awards, recipients are required to sign an agreement containing confidentiality and non-competition obligations, designed to protect the Company's confidential and proprietary information and to preserve the Company's competitive advantages. Under these agreements, should an executive violate his or her confidentiality or non-compete obligations, any award is automatically forfeited. The agreements also require, in certain circumstances, that an executive who has breached the confidentiality and non-compete agreements must return vested shares and/or gains from disposition of shares to the Company.
The Company's long-term incentives consist of stock options, performance shares, and restricted stock units (RSUs) and are provided under the 2005 Incentive Plan. In 2006, the Company increased the performance component of the long-term incentive program by awarding performance shares to the NEOs and other officers. The performance shares can be earned only if the Company achieves certain objectives described below. The Company seeks to structure awards such that stock options represent approximately 40% of the total value of long-term incentive compensation, RSUs represent approximately 30% of the total value, and performance shares represent approximately 30% of the total value. This mix was chosen to achieve the program objectives noted above. This mix is also reflective of market practices for senior executives, which is to use a combination of awards to provide the desired level of long-term incentives.
They are intended to directly link management and shareholders' interests by tying a substantial portion of management's long-term incentives to stock price appreciation. The ten-year term is designed to focus management on long-term value creation. Three-year cliff vesting encourages meaningful retention before management can realize any value created by stock price appreciation. In all cases, stock options are awarded at an exercise price equal to the closing price of the Company's common stock reported for the business day before the grant. Stock option repricing is not permitted under the 2005 Incentive Plan.
The three-year performance cycle for the performance shares begins on January 1 of each year. The number of shares that could have been earned for the 2007 grant of performance shares ranged from 0% to 200% of the target award, depending on the Company's year-over-year growth in sales. The 2007 performance share program was structured as follows:
If, during 2007, the Company had achieved less than 5 percent sales growth, 0% of the target award would be available, 5 percent growth would have yielded 50% of the target award, 8 percent growth would have yielded 100%, and 11% growth would have yielded 200%. Given actual sales growth performance of 9.1%, the number of shares determined for the NEOs for 2007 was 137% of target. These shares will vest at the end of fiscal year 2009 only if the average ROIC performance over the three-year period from 2007 through 2009 is greater than or equal to 18%. The Committee selected these measures as they balance sales growth with profitability, expense management, and
asset management and are consistent with the short-term objectives established in the annual incentive program. The Committee may use different sales growth and ROIC objectives and target share numbers from year to year to maximize alignment with then-current business objectives. Performance shares pay dividend equivalents after the end of the first year in order to simulate share ownership.
The annual option and RSU awards fully vest upon death, disability, or retirement from the Company. Performance share awards are subject to prorata vesting upon death, disability, or retirement from the Company. The definition of retirement eligibility is the same for all U.S. employees for the long-term incentive program, as well as the profit sharing program. Under this definition, an employee is retirement-eligible upon attaining any of the following:
Messrs. Chen, Keyser, Loux, and Ryan are currently retirement-eligible.
The use of options and performance shares satisfies the requirements for qualified performance-based compensation under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code. The use of RSUs and performance shares also helps reduce share dilution, as compared with stock options. The Company historically makes stock option and RSU awards to current officers and employees each year on the date of the annual meeting of shareholders, and performance share awards no later than March 15 in order to qualify those awards as performance-based compensation under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Company has not timed the grant of long-term incentive awards in respect of the release of material, non-public information nor for the purpose of affecting the value of executive compensation.
Based on the amounts of total compensation listed in the Summary Compensation Table, long-term variable compensation represented from 41% to 54% of total compensation for the NEOs in fiscal year 2007, which is consistent with the compensation comparator group practice as well as the Committee's overall compensation objectives.