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Director Pay Trends

Featuring commentary from


Director Pay Trends 2018, an Equilar publication, analyzes the compensation of boards and committees across the Equilar 500—the 500 largest, by reported revenue, U.S.-headquartered companies trading on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges (NYSE, Nasdaq or NYSE MKT (formerly AMEX)), adjusted to approximate the industry sector mix of similar large-cap indices. The report identifies trends in director compensation including annual director retainers, committee/board leadership retainers, meeting fees and more. Meridian Compensation Partners has provided independent commentary with color and context on company structure of compensation for their boards of directors.

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Key Findings:

  • Median annual retainers across all sectors continued to increase in 2017, most notably in the technology and utility sectors.
  • Board Leadership retainers increased to $421,000 and $290,000 in 2017 among non-executive chairs and lead directors, a 1.5% and 3.6% increase, respectively.
  • Audit committee retainers remained the largest and most prevalent committee retainer in 2017, granted by nearly half of Equilar 500 audit committees. The median audit committee member received a $14,000 retainer for serving on the committee in 2017.
  • The prevalence of meeting fees for all committees among Equilar 500 boards declined from 2013 to 2017, especially in the utilities sector.
  • Over two-thirds of board fees paid in 2017 were between $1000 and $2000, with the majority of those between $1,001 and $1,500.