Key Executive Compensation Design Policies and Considerations
Following are important policies and factors considered by our Compensation Committee when structuring our executive compensation.
The QEP Executive Severance Plan provides certain benefits to our executives upon a qualifying termination after a change-in-control of the Company. These benefits are based on market practices and do not include any excise tax gross-ups. Our Compensation Committee believes these benefits support our business strategy by encouraging our officers to consider strategic alternatives to increase shareholder value without regard to the impact on their future employment.
For additional details regarding this plan, see the section below titled "Compensation Tables – Potential Payments Upon Termination or Change in Control."
Executive Share Ownership Guidelines
Our Compensation Committee believes it is important to have stock ownership guidelines for executive officers to promote ownership of our common stock and align the interests of our executive officers with those of our shareholders. Our executives are required to achieve the applicable level of stock ownership within five years of the date the person first becomes an officer. Shares that count toward satisfaction of the guidelines include shares owned outright by the executive, restricted shares, shares held in the 401(k) Plan (described below), phantom stock attributable to deferred compensation under the QEP Deferred Compensation Wrap Plan and PSUs, but exclude stock options.
The ownership guidelines for our NEOs are currently established at the following minimum levels:
Named Executive Officer
as of 12/31/17
6x base salary
3x base salary
3x base salary
2x base salary
2x base salary
Tax and Accounting Considerations
Our Compensation Committee considers tax and accounting rules and regulations when structuring the executive compensation paid to our NEOs, including the following:
Under Section 280G and Section 4999 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code), compensation that is granted, accelerated or enhanced upon the occurrence of a change in control may give rise, in whole or in part, to "excess parachute payments" and, to such extent, will be non-deductible by the Company and will be subject to a 20% excise tax payable by the executive. Our compensation arrangements do not provide for gross-ups for this excise tax.
Section 162(m) of the Code, as modified by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, generally precludes us from deducting for tax purposes compensation paid in excess of $1,000,000 in any taxable year to any individual that has ever been listed in the Summary Compensation Table, unless the compensation is (i) paid to the CFO on or prior to December 31, 2017, (ii) paid to an NEO who terminated employment prior to December 31, 2017, or (iii) "performance-based compensation" paid on or prior to December 31, 2017 or payable after such date but pursuant to a written contract in existence on or prior to November 2, 2017. Our policy is primarily to design and administer compensation plans that support