The Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Accuride Corporation (the “Company”) has adopted the following Corporate Governance Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) to assist the Board in the exercise of its responsibilities and to serve the interests of the Company and its stockholders. These Guidelines should be interpreted in the context of all applicable laws and the Company’s certificate of incorporation, bylaws and other corporate governance documents. These Guidelines acknowledge the leadership exercised by the Board’s standing committees and their chairs and are intended to serve as a flexible framework within which the Board may conduct its business and not as a set of legally binding obligations. The Guidelines are subject to modification from time to time by the Board as the Board may deem appropriate in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders or as required by applicable laws and regulations.
These Guidelines are available on the Company’s website at “www.accuridecorp.com” and to any stockholder who otherwise requests a copy. The Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K will state the foregoing.
The Company’s certificate of incorporation provides that the number of directors will be determined as set forth in the Company’s bylaws, with the number of directors to be determined from time-to-time by the Board. The Board currently is authorized to have seven members. As provided in the Company’s Bylaws, the Board believes that a range of five to eight directors is an appropriate size based on the Company’s present circumstances. The Board believes that this number of directors permits diversity of experience without hindering effective discussion or diminishing individual accountability.
Subject to the bylaws, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will periodically review the size of the Board, and recommend to the Board the size that is most effective in relation to future operations.
At such time as the Company’s common stock shall be listed on a national securities exchange whose rules of conduct so require, the Board will be comprised of a majority of directors who qualify as independent directors (the “Independent Directors”) under the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) or such other national securities exchange on which the Company’s common stock may be listed. No more than three management executives who are employed by the Company or who were employed by the Company in the previous 3 years may serve on the Board at the same time.
The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will review annually the relationships that each director has with the Company (either directly or as a partner, stockholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the Company). Following such annual review, only those directors who the Board affirmatively determines have no material relationship with the Company (either directly or as a partner, stockholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the Company) will be considered Independent Directors, subject to additional qualifications prescribed under the listing standards of the NYSE or such other national securities exchange on which the Company’s common stock may be listed. The basis for any determination that a relationship is not material will be published in the Company’s annual proxy statement or, if the Company does not file an annual proxy statement, in the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).
In accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Company will not make any personal loans or extensions of credit to directors or executive officers.
If the Chairman of the Board is not a qualified independent director under applicable listing standards or the Board otherwise deems it to be in the best interest of the Company, the Board may appoint a lead Independent Director (the “Lead Independent Director”). The Lead Independent Director’s duties will include: serving as a member of such committee or committees of the Board as the Board from time to time deems appropriate, meeting with the Chair of the Compensation & Human Resources Committee (the “Compensation Committee”) and the Chief Executive Officer to convey the results of the Chief Executive Officer’s annual performance evaluations, working with the Chairman to coordinate the activities of the Directors, and to coordinate the agenda for the Board, coordinating the agenda and chairing sessions of the Board’s non-management Directors, and facilitating communications between the Directors and the other members of the Board and the management of the Company. In performing the duties described above, the Lead Independent Director is expected to consult with the chairs of the appropriate Board committees and solicit their participation in order to avoid diluting the authority or responsibility of such committee chairs.
The non-management Directors will meet in executive session without management directors or management present at least one time per year. The Chairman or the Lead Independent Director of the Board, as appropriate, will chair such meetings. The name of the Chairman of the Board will be published along with a means for stockholders to communicate with the non-management Directors. The non-management Directors will review the Company’s implementation of and compliance with its Guidelines and consider such matters as they may deem appropriate at such meetings. Non-management Directors are all Directors who are not company officers (as that term is defined in Rule 16a-1(f) under the Securities Act of 1933), including Directors who are not independent by virtue of a material relationship, former status or family membership, or for any other reason.
In addition, if the non-management Directors include Directors who are not also Independent Directors, the Independent Directors shall also meet separately at least once per year in executive session.
The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee is responsible for reviewing with the Board, on an annual basis, the appropriate characteristics, skills and experience required for the Board as a whole and its individual members. In evaluating the suitability of individual candidates (both new candidates and current Board members), the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, in recommending candidates for election, and the Board, in approving (and, in the case of vacancies, appointing) such candidates, shall take into account many factors, including ability to make independent analytical inquiries, general understanding of marketing, finance and other elements relevant to the success of a publicly-traded company in today’s business environment, experience in the Company’s industry and with relevant social policy concerns, understanding of the Company’s business on a technical level, other board service and educational and professional background. Each candidate nominee must also possess fundamental qualities of intelligence, honesty, good judgment, high ethics and standards of integrity, fairness and responsibility. The Board evaluates each individual in the context of the Board as a whole, with the objective of assembling a group that can best perpetuate the success of the business and represent stockholder interests through the exercise of sound judgment using its diversity of experience in these various areas. In determining whether to recommend a director for re-election, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee also considers the director’s past attendance at meetings and participation in and contributions to the activities of the Board.
The entire Board will stand for election by the holders of the Company’s common stock each year at the Company’s annual meeting. Each year, at the annual meeting, the Board will recommend a slate of directors for election by the holders of the Company’s common stock. In accordance with the certificate of incorporation and bylaws of the Company, the Board will also be responsible for filling vacancies or newly-created directorships on the Board that may occur between annual meetings of stockholders. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee is responsible for identifying, screening and recommending candidates subject to election by holders of the Company’s common stock to the entire Board for Board membership.
The Board will select the Chairman of the Board in accordance with the Company’s bylaws.
The Board does not believe that its members should be prohibited from serving on boards of other organizations and has not adopted any guidelines limiting such activities, except with respect to members serving on the Audit Committee, as described below. However, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Board will take into account the nature of and time involved in a director’s service on other boards and/or committees in evaluating the suitability of individual director candidates and current directors and making its recommendations to the Company’s stockholders.
Due to the demanding nature of service on the Audit Committee, a member of the Audit Committee may not serve on the audit committees of the boards of directors of more than two other public companies at the same time as they are serving on the Audit Committee, unless the Board determines that such service would not impair the ability of such member to effectively serve on the Audit Committee.
Service on other boards and/or committees should be consistent with the Company’s conflict of interest policies set forth below.
When a director, including any director who is currently an officer or employee of the Company, resigns or materially changes his or her position with his or her employer, such director should notify the Board.
As each director is subject to election by stockholders, the Board does not believe it is in the best interests of the Company to establish term limits at this time. Additionally, such term limits may cause the Company to lose the contribution of directors who have been able to develop, over a period of time, increasing insight into the Company’s business and therefore can provide an increasingly significant contribution to the Board.
It is the general policy of the Company that no director may stand for election to the Board after his or her 75th birthday. The Board may, however, make exceptions to this standard, based on the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, as it deems appropriate in the interests of the Company’s stockholders.
The business and affairs of the Company will be managed by or under the direction of the Board, including through one or more of its committees as set forth in the bylaws and committee charters. Each director is expected to spend the time and effort necessary to properly discharge his or her responsibilities. These include:
The Company’s executive officers shall not receive additional compensation for their service as Directors. Senior management of the Company will report at least biannually to the Compensation Committee regarding the status of the Company’s non-management Director compensation in relation to other U.S.companies of comparable size and the Company’s competitors. Such report will include consideration of both direct and indirect forms of compensation to the Company’s non-management Directors, including any charitable contributions by the Company to organizations in which a non-management Director is involved. Following a review of the report, the Compensation Committee will recommend any changes in non-management Director compensation to the Chairman of the Board, which changes will be approved or disapproved by the Board after a full discussion.
Director fees (whether in the form of cash compensation or an equity grant) are the sole form of compensation that members of the Audit Committee may receive from the Company.
The Company encourages directors to own shares of the Company’s stock. To this end, the Board has established a target equity ownership position for each non-employee director of six-times the base annual cash retainer paid to such director. Each non-employee director should achieve this equity ownership target within four years of the date he or she joins the Board. Restricted Stock Units granted to the non-employee director will be included in determining whether such target has been satisfied. The Company intends to grant restricted stock units annually to each non-employee Director. The Board, in its discretion, may consider equity owned by a non-employee director’s employer in determining whether the ownership target has been satisfied. Directors who are eligible to receive annual director fees for service on the Board may opt to receive the fees in Company equity rather than in cash.
The Board expects its directors, as well as officers and employees, to acknowledge their adherence to the policies comprising the Code of Ethics. Certain portions of the Code of Ethics deal with activities of directors, particularly with respect to potential conflicts of interests and the taking of corporate opportunities for personal use. Directors should be familiar with the Code of Ethics’ provisions in these areas and should consult with the Company’s General Counsel in the event of any issues. The Code of Ethics is posted on the Company’s website.
Anyone who has a concern about the Company’s accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters may communicate that concern directly to the contact identified in the Code of Ethics. Such communications may be confidential or anonymous, and may be e-mailed, submitted in writing, or reported by phone as provided in the Code of Ethics. Concerns relating to accounting, internal controls, auditing or officer conduct shall be sent immediately by the contact identified in the Code of Ethics to the Chairman of the Board and to the chair of the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee chair may direct that certain matters be presented to the Audit Committee or the full Board and may direct special treatment, including the retention of outside advisors or counsel, for any concern addressed to them.
The Company provides new directors with a director orientation program to familiarize them with, among other things, the Company’s business, strategic plans, significant financial, accounting and management issues, compliance programs, conflicts policies, Code of Ethics, Guidelines, principal officers, internal auditors and independent auditors.
The Company encourages directors to pursue continuing education to enhance their skills as a non-employee director. The Company anticipates making continuing education programs available to directors from time to time and encourages each director to participate in such programs.
The Board believes that management speaks for the Company. Each director should refer all inquiries from institutional investors, the press or customers to management. Individual Board members may, from time to time at the request of the management, meet or otherwise communicate with various constituencies that are involved with the Company. If comments from the Board are appropriate, they should, in most circumstances, come from the Chairman of the Board or the Lead Independent Director.
The Board will have complete access to Company management in order to ensure that directors can ask any questions and receive all information necessary to perform their duties. Directors should exercise judgment to ensure that their contact with management does not distract managers from their jobs or disturb the business operations of the Company. Such contact, if in writing, should be copied to the Chief Executive Officer of the Company.
The Board committees may hire independent advisors as set forth in their applicable charters. The Board as a whole shall have access to such advisors and such other independent advisors that the Company retains or that the Board considers necessary to discharge its responsibilities.
Each December or following the end of each fiscal year, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will oversee an annual assessment by the Board of the Board’s performance. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will be responsible for establishing the evaluation criteria and implementing the process for such evaluation, as well as considering other corporate governance principles that may, from time to time, merit consideration by the Board.
The assessment should include a review of any areas in which the Board or management believes the Board can make a better contribution to the governance of the Company, as well as a review of the committee structure and an assessment of the Board’s compliance with the principles set forth in these Guidelines. The purpose of the review will be to improve the performance of the Board as a unit, and not to target the performance of any individual Board member. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will utilize the results of the Board evaluation process in assessing and determining the characteristics and critical skills required of prospective candidates for election to the Board.
The Board will meet at least four times annually. In addition, special meetings may be called from time to time as determined by the needs of the business. It is the responsibility of the directors to attend meetings.
A director is expected to spend the time and effort necessary to properly discharge his or her responsibilities. Accordingly, a director is expected to regularly prepare for and attend meetings of the Board and all committees on which the director sits (including separate meetings of non-management Directors and the Independent Directors), with the understanding that, on occasion, a director may be unable to attend a meeting. A director who is unable to attend a meeting is expected to notify the Chairman of the Board or the Chairman of the appropriate committee in advance of such meeting, and, whenever possible, participate in such meeting via teleconference.
The Board encourages the Chairman of the Board or of any committee to bring Company management and outside advisors or consultants from time to time into Board and/or committee meetings to (i) provide insight into items being discussed by the Board which involve the manager, advisor or consultant, (ii) make presentations to the Board on matters which involve the manager, advisor or consultant, and (iii) bring managers with high potential into contact with the Board. Attendance of non-directors at Board meetings is at the discretion of the Board.
The Chairman of the Board establishes the agenda for each Board meeting with input from the management and, as necessary or desired, from the other directors.
Information regarding the topics to be considered at a meeting is essential to the Board’s understanding of the business and the preparation of the directors for a productive meeting. To the extent feasible, the meeting agenda and any written materials relating to each Board meeting will be distributed to the directors sufficiently in advance of each meeting to allow for meaningful review of such agenda and materials by the directors. Directors are expected to have reviewed and be prepared to discuss all materials distributed in advance of any meeting.
The Board currently has three committees. From time to time, the Board may form a new committee or disband a current committee, depending upon the circumstances. Each committee will perform its duties as assigned by the Board in compliance with the Company’s bylaws and the committee’s charter.
The current committees are:
Based on the recommendations of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, the Board appoints committee members and committee chairs according to criteria set forth in the applicable committee charter and such other criteria that the Board determines to be appropriate in light of the responsibilities of each committee. Committee membership and the position of committee chair will not be rotated on a mandatory basis unless the Board determines that rotation is in the best interest of the Company.
Each member of the Audit Committee must satisfy the independence requirements of Rule 10A-3 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and the independence and expertise requirements of the NYSE or any other national securities exchange on which the Company’s common stock may be listed, must be financially literate, as determined by the Board in its business judgment, or must become financially literate within a reasonable period of time after his or her appointment, and at least one member of the Audit Committee must have accounting or related financial management expertise as determined by the Board in its business judgment. In addition, at least one member of the Audit Committee shall be an “audit committee financial expert” within the definition adopted by the SEC.
Each committee will meet as required or specified by its charter. In addition, special meetings may be called by the Chairman of the committee from time to time as determined by the needs of the business. It is the responsibility of the directors to attend the meetings of the committees on which they serve.
The Chairman of each committee, in consultation with the appropriate members of the Committee, will develop his or her committee’s agenda.
Each December or following the end of each fiscal year, each committee will review its performance and charter and recommend to the Board any changes it deems necessary.
The Compensation Committee, with input from the Chief Executive Officer, shall annually establish the performance criteria (including both long-term and short-term goals) to be considered in connection with the Chief Executive Officer’s next annual performance evaluation. At the end of each year, the Chief Executive Officer shall make a presentation or furnish a written report to the Compensation Committee indicating his or her progress against such established performance criteria. Thereafter, with the Chief Executive Officer absent, the Compensation Committee shall meet to review the Chief Executive Officer’s performance. The results of the review and evaluation shall be communicated to the Chief Executive Officer by the Chairman of the Board or the Lead Independent Director, as applicable, and the Chairman of the Compensation Committee.
The Compensation Committee works on a periodic basis with the Chief Executive Officer to review, maintain and revise, if necessary, the Company’s succession plan upon the Chief Executive Officer’s retirement and in the event of an unexpected occurrence. The Chief Executive Officer shall report annually to the Board on succession planning for the Chief Executive Officer and senior management positions, including a discussion of assessments, leadership development plans and other relevant factors. There should also be available to the Compensation Committee, on a continuing basis, the Chief Executive Officer’s recommendations regarding his or her successor should he or she be unexpectedly disabled.
The Board will determine that a satisfactory system is in effect for the education, development and orderly succession of senior and mid-level managers throughout the Company.