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Executive Compensation “Guiding Principles”

Executive pay remains the subject of intense interest from shareholders, government and the public around the world. It has become a lightning rod for criticism, and a symbol of how organizations both govern themselves and respond to stakeholder concerns.

There are many opinions on pay levels and practices today – along with proposed approaches to designing and delivering them. How do influencers of these decisions identify the path forward? From where can they find sound advice? What is the best thinking on the unique complexities of your own organization?

To help address these and other questions, our executive compensation leaders are pleased to share our Guiding Principles, a conceptual framework and set of guidelines for how to best navigate the nuances of pay for senior executives. This powerful set of tools will help drive exceptional performance, create alignment with owners and focus management on creating value.

The “Guiding Principles” are a current, readily accessible and thorough body of knowledge, that include:

  • Insights and experience of more than 100 of our senior executive compensation consultants, shared via interviews and workshops
  • Findings from the Independent Directors’ Executive Compensation (IDEC) Project, which collected the views from hundreds of board members across various organizations and industries to develop core principles for the governance of executive compensation.
  • A continuous scan of the current executive compensation landscape based on legislative, regulatory and economic developments
  • Research on executive compensation program effectiveness using our many proprietary surveys and databases and leveraging publicly available data.

To use the “Guiding Principles”, please bookmark this page and visit often for regularly issued guidance delivered via narrative chapters, blog posts, videos and other resources. We plan to issue one chapter or key topic approximately every month, accompanied by a blog post and related video.

Featured video


Mark Reid, global executive compensation practice leader, discusses why Willis Towers Watson created guiding principles for executive compensation.


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A central guiding principle for executive compensation: Accountability