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DEF 14C
APOLLO EDUCATION GROUP INC filed this Form DEF 14C on 12/29/2014
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Senior Executive Severance Pay Plan
We also maintain the Senior Executive Severance Pay Plan pursuant to which our executive officers and other senior executives may become entitled to salary continuation payments and certain other severance benefits in the event their employment is involuntarily terminated other than for cause. The severance benefits to which the covered participants may become entitled are summarized in the section of this Information Statement below entitled “Agreements Regarding Employment, Change of Control, and Termination of Employment.
However, to the extent a named executive officer or other covered individual is entitled to severance benefits under an employment agreement or other severance arrangement in effect with us at the time of his or her termination of employment, then his or her payments under the severance plan will be offset by the severance benefits payable under such employment agreement or other arrangement so that there will be no duplication of benefits. At present, only Mr. Cappelli has an employment agreement that provides severance benefits in the event his employment is terminated under certain circumstances and those benefits will reduce all or a portion of the potential benefits to which they may otherwise become entitled under the Senior Executive Severance Pay Plan, as described in the section of this Information Statement below entitled “Agreements Regarding Employment, Change of Control, and Termination of Employment.”
The receipt of severance benefits under the Senior Executive Severance Pay Plan will be conditioned upon the terminating executive’s delivery of an effective and enforceable general release of all claims against us and our affiliates and his compliance with certain non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disparagement covenants.
The Compensation Committee believes that the Senior Executive Severance Pay Plan serves as an important recruitment and retention vehicle that allows us to remain competitive in attracting and retaining executive talent and also reduces the need to execute formal employment agreements with new executives by assuring them of a reasonable severance package in the event their employment were to be involuntarily terminated other than for cause.
Retirement/Deferred Compensation Programs
To date, the principal program we maintain as a retirement-savings vehicle for our named executive officers and other employees is our broad-based 401(k) Savings Plan, a defined contribution plan. In addition, we implemented a new deferred compensation plan in 2012 that allows our executive officers the opportunity to defer a portion of their base salary and annual bonus each year and earn a notional investment return on their deferred account balance. The plan is described below in the section of this Information Statement entitled “Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation.”
Potential Payments Due upon Termination and/or a Change of Control
Our equity compensation plans provide for accelerated vesting of all outstanding options, restricted stock units and performance share unit awards in the event we undergo certain changes in control or ownership. The Compensation Committee believes that such single-trigger accelerated vesting is appropriate for the following reasons:
We rely primarily on long-term equity incentive awards to provide our named executive officers with the opportunity for wealth creation and the accumulation of substantial resources to fund their retirement income, and the Compensation Committee accordingly believes that a change of control event for a controlled-company such as us is an appropriate liquidation point for awards designed for such purposes.
By protecting the most significant component of their total direct compensation, the acceleration feature mitigates any potential conflicts of interest that might otherwise arise between the named executive officers and our shareholders and serves as a substantial incentive for those officers to obtain the highest possible value for the shareholders, should we become an acquisition target. It also allows the named executive officers to remain focused on our business operations and strategic objectives without undue concern over their own financial security during periods when substantial disruptions and distractions might otherwise prevail should we become the subject of acquisition overtures.
Immediate acceleration preserves the economic value of outstanding equity awards in those instances where the awards would not otherwise be assumed by the acquiring company and would accordingly be canceled.
The Compensation Committee periodically reviews tally sheets prepared by management and reviewed by its independent compensation consultant indicating the severance benefits to which the named executive officers would be entitled under their existing employment agreements or the Senior Executive Severance Pay Plan were their employment to be terminated under various scenarios, such as an involuntary termination without cause or a resignation for good reason. The tally sheets indicate the total dollar amount of cash severance under each scenario, the intrinsic value of accelerated equity awards using the then-current stock price, the value of cash retention awards, and any other special benefits that would be triggered by the termination event. The Compensation Committee performed such a periodic review in December 2013 and determined that the severance benefits for the named executive officers, as reflected in the tally sheets, were at competitive levels compared to market practice.

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