Richard Smith and Judy Canavan

Richard Smith is an independent consultant with Equity Compensation Strategies LLC and works with BDO USA, LLP’s Global Employer Services practice on compensation consulting engagements. Rick is an independent advisor to compensation committees and management of public and private companies, as well as family-owned businesses. He has extensive experience providing competitive market analysis for senior-level executives and designing and implementing performance-based reward strategies that define the proper mix of annual and long‐term incentives as appropriate to the organization and its culture.

Rick has more than 15 years of experience providing expert witness testimony and litigation support to family-owned businesses, family law shareholder disputes both public and private, M&A and companies entering and/or emerging from bankruptcy reorganization. Rick also works closely with boards of trustees of colleges and universities, as well as national and global charitable organizations, health care systems, performing arts and other 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations assisting with determining reasonable compensation and establishing a “rebuttable presumption of reasonableness.”

Rick is experienced in structuring executive employment contracts for new executive hires as well as long-term internal NEO positions, taking into consideration current practices and individual situations and corporate culture. Additionally, he structures appropriate compensation for independent directors and advises boards and management on succession planning and strengthening governance. He is experienced in structuring compensation plans for companies in pre- and post-IPO and M&A positions, both domestic and international. Rick’s consulting experience includes many assignments to the energy industry, financial services, including retail banking both national and regional and to the manufacturing, retail, aerospace and pharmaceutical industries, among others.

Judy Canavan, Global Employer Services Managing Director at BDO, has more than 30 years of experience in compensation consulting and design. Judy leads BDO USA’s Compensation Surveys practice, and in addition to implementing custom compensation research and surveys, Judy focuses on helping companies tie their compensation programs to their organizational strategy. Judy conducts complex competitive assessment assignments, designs annual and long-term incentive plans, develops board of director compensation packages and conducts custom compensation and total-rewards surveys.

Prior to joining BDO, Judy founded the company HR+Survey Solutions. She has also worked with Sibson Consulting and served as a senior compensation consultant in several management capacities. In addition, Judy served on the faculty at the University of Southern California, Board College as an Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management. Judy spearheaded a major research initiative into corporate governance, the results of which were cited in Directors and Boards, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. She has been published in Directors and Boards, as well as in Workspan and WorldataWork Journal.

leather chairs in empty boardroom

As we move into proxy season, BDO’s Richard Smith and Judy Canavan discuss notable areas to watch for – including scoring, incentives and contractual payments and arrangements – and they reflect on how COVID-19 is affecting things. As proxy season enters full swing, proxy advisory firms and institutional investors are closely watching corporations’ responsiveness to their recommendations and concerns. As in any...

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