I was an executive compensation consultant at the world's largest compensation and benefits consulting firm. My recent work has involved representation of companies and executives.
Deferred Compensation -- 409A
While I usually refrain from "talking in Code," the one area I'll make an exception relates to nonqualified deferred compensation. There's no better way to reference the complex framework governing this area than to refer to "409A" or (if I'm feeling especially nerdy) "409-cap-A."
My recent work here has hit a lot of categories.
Many would see these agreements as potentially being the most straightforward of the projects discussed in these pages. But, the fact is that the documents span a huge range of sub-specialties (corporate law; tax law; restrictive covenants; golden parachutes; 409A; etc.) and are far more than cut and paste exercises.
My recent work has involved the representation of senior executives negotiating or renegotiating employment arrangements (and, by necessity, the related incentive compensation and severance provisions) and the representation of companies retaining senior executives. The contexts have been varied--some involved simple operating companies, others covered U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations and several involved private-equity-owned enterprises.
Bargaining strength dictates a lot of what can be done in these engagements but, often, they are a good environment for my objective-driven approach. My mantra of "what are we trying to achieve?" identifies the negotiating priorities and my desire to lay out alternatives before launching creates a more likely "win" for clients than if a less strategic approach were employed.