The Board has determined that to be considered independent, a Director may not have a direct or indirect material relationship with the Company. A material relationship is one which impairs or inhibits, or has the potential to impair or inhibit, a Director’s exercise of critical and disinterested judgment on behalf of the Company and its stockholders. In making its assessment of independence, the Board considers any and all material relationships not merely from the standpoint of the Director, but also from that of persons or organizations with which the Director has or has had an affiliation, or those relationships which may be material, including commercial, industrial, banking, consulting, legal, accounting, charitable and familial relationships, among others. The Board also considers whether a Director was an employee of the Company within the last five years. The Board consults with the Company’s counsel to ensure that the Board’s determinations are consistent with all relevant securities and other laws and regulations regarding the definition of “independent” Director, including those set forth in pertinent listing standards of the NYSE as in effect from time to time. The NYSE’s listing standards require that all listed companies have a majority of independent directors. For a director to be “independent” under the NYSE listing standards, the board of directors of a listed company must affirmatively determine that the director has no material relationship with the company, or its subsidiaries or affiliates, either directly or as a partner, stockholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the company or its subsidiaries or affiliates. In accordance with the NYSE listing standards, the Board has affirmatively determined that each of the Board’s nominees, other than Ms. Drake, have no material relationships with the Company, either directly or as a partner, stockholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the Company.
To determine the independence of its Directors, the Company examined the following NYSE listing standards, which provide that a director is not independent if:
- the director is, or has been within the last three years, an employee of the listed Company, or an immediate family member is, or has been within the last three years, an executive officer of the listed Company;
- the director has received, or has an immediate family member who has received, during any twelve-month period within the last three years, more than $120,000 in direct compensation from the listed Company, other than director and committee fees and pension or other forms of deferred compensation for prior service (provided such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service);
- (a) the director is a current partner or employee of a firm that is the listed Company’s internal or external auditor; (b) the director has an immediate family member who is a current partner of such a firm; (c) the director has an immediate family member who is a current employee of such a firm and personally works on the listed Company’s audit; or (d) the director or an immediate family member was within the last three years (but is no longer) a partner or employee of such a firm and personally worked on the listed Company’s audit within that time;
- the director or an immediate family member is, or has been within the last three years, employed as an executive officer of another company where any of the listed Company’s present executive officers at the same time serves or served on that company’s compensation committee; or
- the director is a current employee, or an immediate family member is a current executive officer, of a company that has made payments to or received payments from, the listed Company for property or services in an amount which, in any of the last three fiscal years, exceeds the greater of $1 million, or 2% of such other listed Company’s consolidated gross revenues.
Each of the Board’s nominees, other than Ms. Drake, has been determined to be “independent” by the NYSE listing standards.