Corporate Governance Guidelines (as Amended July 20, 2023)
The following Corporate Governance Guidelines have been adopted by the Board of Directors of Xerox Holdings Corporation (the “Company”) to assist the Board in the exercise of its responsibilities. These Corporate Governance Guidelines reflect the Board’s commitment to monitor the effectiveness of policy and decision making both at the Board and management level, with a view to enhancing long-term shareholder value. These Corporate Governance Guidelines shall be reviewed by the Board, through the Corporate Governance Committee, on an annual basis and are subject to modification from time to time by the Board acting by a majority of the independent directors as determined under these Guidelines. Waivers of these Corporate Governance Guidelines may be made by the Board or the Corporate Governance Committee only.
The Board's Goals
The Company’s Board of Directors represents the owners' interest in the operation of a successful business, including optimizing long-term financial returns. The Board is responsible for determining that the Company is managed in such a way to ensure this result, which will also assure the company's vitality for its customers, employees and the other individuals and organizations that depend on it. This is an active, not a passive, responsibility. The Board has the responsibility to ensure that in good times, as well as difficult ones, management is capably executing its responsibilities.
The Board's responsibility is to regularly monitor the effectiveness of management policies and decisions including the creation and execution of its strategies. The Board is also responsible for monitoring the establishment and enforcement of procedures designed to ensure that the Company's management and employees operate in a legal and ethically responsible manner. When it is appropriate or necessary, it is the Board's responsibility to remove the Chief Executive Officer and to select his or her successor.
To achieve the above goals, the Board will monitor the performance of the Company (in relation to its goals, strategy and competitors) and the performance of the Chief Executive Officer and offer advice and feedback.
Role of Directors
The business of the Company is managed under the direction of the Board. Normally it is management's job to formalize, propose and implement strategic choices, and the Board's role to approve strategic direction and evaluate strategic results. However, as a practical matter, the Board and management will be better able to carry out their respective responsibilities if there is an ongoing dialogue among the Chief Executive Officer, other members of top management and Board members. To facilitate such discussions, the Board conducts an annual review of the Company's long-term strategic plans and principal issues. Periodically during the year, the Board receives strategy updates from members of senior management of the Company.
Directors are expected to spend the time and effort necessary to properly discharge their responsibilities. Accordingly, a Director is expected to regularly attend meetings of the Board and committees on which he or she sits, and to review prior to meetings material distributed in advance for such meetings. A Director who is unable to attend a Board or Committee meeting (which, it is understood will occur on occasion) is expected to notify the Secretary of the Company who will advise the Chairman of the Board and/or the Chairperson of the relevant Committee. All Directors are expected to attend the Company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
Selection of the Chairman of the Board
The Board does not require the separation of the offices of the Chairman of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer. The Board shall be free to choose its Chairman in any way that it deems best for the Company at any given point in time.
Size of the Board
In recent years the Board has had 7 - 12 Directors and it is the sense of the Board that this size is about right. This range permits diversity of experience without hindering effective discussion or diminishing individual accountability.
Independence of the Board
The Board is comprised of a substantial majority of Directors who qualify as independent Directors. The Board will make a determination as to each Director’s independence broadly considering all relevant facts and circumstances. However, the Board has adopted categorical standards to assist it in making the independence determination. Under these categorical standards, a Director shall be presumed not to have a material relationship with the Company or any of its consolidated subsidiaries, and thus be presumed to be independent, if:
He or she meets all the bright-line independence and other applicable requirements under the listing standards of the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (Nasdaq) and all other applicable SEC laws, rules and regulations regarding director independence, in each case from time to time in effect;
He or she is not a current employee (and none of his or her “immediate family members” is employed as an “executive officer,” each as defined by the Nasdaq Rules) of a company that has made payments to, or received payments from, the Company or any of its consolidated subsidiaries for property or services in the current or any of the last three fiscal years that exceed 5% of the recipient’s consolidated gross revenues that year, or $200,000, whichever is more; and
In the event that he or she serves as an executive officer or director of a charitable organization, the Company and its consolidated subsidiaries have not made payments to the charity in excess of the greater of 5% of the charity’s revenues or $200,000.
The Corporate Governance Committee as well as the Board annually review the relationships that each Director has with the Company (either directly or as a partner, shareholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the Company) to ensure compliance with Nasdaq Rules and requirements otherwise imposed by law or regulation and the foregoing categorical standards. Following this review, only those Directors who the Board affirmatively determines have no material relationship with the Company (either directly or as a partner, shareholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the Company) will be considered independent Directors under such standards, law or regulation and such categorical standards.
Board Membership Criteria
The ultimate responsibility for the selection of new Directors resides with the Board. The identification, screening and recommendation process has been delegated to the Corporate Governance Committee, which reviews candidates for election as Directors and annually recommends a slate of Directors for approval by the Board and election by the shareholders.
The Board requires that a substantial majority of the Board should consist of independent Directors. Any management representation should be limited to top Company management. Nominees for Director are selected on the basis of, among other things, broad perspective, integrity, independence of judgment, experience, expertise, diversity, ability to make independent analytical inquiries, understanding of the Company’s business environment and willingness to devote adequate time and effort to Board responsibilities. Members should represent a predominance of business backgrounds and bring a variety of experiences and perspectives to the Board.
The Board requires that the initial list of candidates from which new, management- supported director nominees are chosen by the Corporate Governance Committee should include, but not be limited to, qualified women and minority candidates.
Other Company Directorships
The Company does not have a policy limiting the number of other company boards of directors upon which a Director may sit. However, the Corporate Governance Committee shall consider the number of other company boards and other boards (or comparable governing bodies) on which a prospective nominee is a member. It is the sense of the Board that prospective Directors should simultaneously serve on no more than 2 - 4 other public company Boards, depending on their personal circumstances.
Directors are expected to advise the Chairman of the Board and the Chairperson of the Corporate Governance Committee in advance of accepting any other company directorship or any assignment to the audit committee or compensation committee of the Board of Directors of any other company.
Directors Who Change Their Present Job Responsibility
Any Director whose affiliation or position of principal employment changes substantially after election to the Board will be expected to submit a resignation as a Director for consideration by the Corporate Governance Committee and the Board. The Corporate Governance Committee will review with the Board the effects of this change upon the interests of the Company and recommend to the Board whether to accept the resignation. Directors who are also Company employees are expected to offer their resignation from the Board at the same time they leave active employment with the Company, which shall be subject to acceptance by the Board.
It is the general policy of the Board that Directors will not stand for re-election after reaching age 75. However, the Board may determine to waive this policy in individual cases.
The Board does not believe it should establish term limits. While term limits could help ensure that there are fresh ideas and viewpoints available to the Board, they hold the disadvantage of losing the contribution of Directors who have been able to develop, over a period of time, increasing insight into the Company and its operations and, therefore, provide an increasing contribution to the Board as a whole.
As an alternative to term limits, the Corporate Governance Committee, in conjunction with the Chairman of the Board, will formally annually review each Director's continuation on the Board.
A Director who is also an officer of the Company shall not receive additional compensation for such service as a Director.
The Company believes that compensation for non-employee Directors should be competitive and should encourage increased ownership of the Company’s stock through the payment of a portion of Director compensation in Company stock or similar compensation. The Corporate Governance Committee will periodically review the level and form of the Company's Director compensation, including how such compensation compares to Director compensation of companies of comparable size, industry and complexity. Changes to Director compensation will be proposed to the full Board for consideration.
No member of the Audit Committee may receive, nor any of his or her immediate family may receive, directly or indirectly, any compensation from the Company other than (a) fees paid to directors for service on the Board, (b) additional fees paid to directors for service on a committee of the Board (including the Audit Committee) and/or for serving as the chairperson of such a committee, (c) a pension or other deferred compensation for prior service that is not contingent on future services on the Board and (d) de minimis fringe benefits offered to all Directors.
Director Share Ownership Requirement
All non-employee Directors are expected to establish a meaningful equity ownership requirement in the Company, which shall be equal in value to five times the annual Board cash retainer. This ownership requirement shall be achieved within five years of the later of (i) December 12, 2018 and (ii) the initial date of election as Director and may be achieved by a Director holding Restricted Stock Units, Deferred Stock Units or a combination of both.
Board Access to Management, other Employees and Advisors
Board members have complete access to the Company's senior management and other employees. Board members have the authority to obtain advice and assistance from outside legal, accounting or other advisors of their own choosing, at the expense of the Company.
Board Interaction with Interested Parties
The Board believes that management generally should speak for the Company. Any interested parties desiring to communicate with the non-management Directors regarding the Company may directly contact the Chairperson of the Corporate Governance Committee, c/o Xerox Holdings Corporation, Corporate Secretary, 201 Merritt 7, Norwalk, CT 06851.
Board Orientation and Continuing Education
The Company has an orientation process for new Directors to familiarize them with the Company's business, strategic plans, significant financial, accounting and risk management issues, compliance programs, conflicts policies, code of business conduct and business ethics and corporate governance guidelines. This process includes review of background materials and meetings with senior management. Each Director is expected to participate in continuing educational programs in order to maintain the necessary level of expertise to perform his or her responsibilities as a Director.
Self-Evaluation by the Board
The Corporate Governance Committee will sponsor an annual self-assessment of the Board's performance as well as the performance of each committee of the Board, the results of which will be discussed with the full Board and each committee. The assessment will include a review of any areas in which the Board or management believes the Board can make a better contribution to the Company. The Corporate Governance Committee will also utilize the results of this self-evaluation process in assessing and determining the characteristics and critical skills required of prospective candidates for election to the Board and making recommendations to the Board with respect to assignments of Board members to various committees.
Approval of Certain Related Person Transactions
The Corporate Governance Committee shall administer the Company’s Related Person Transactions Policy. Pursuant to such policy, the Corporate Governance Committee shall review and approve or ratify any “related person transaction” that is required to be disclosed as such under the SEC rules in the Company’s proxy or information statement. Any member of the Corporate Governance Committee that is a “related person” with respect to any such transaction, shall not participate in the review and approval or ratification of such transaction, but may provide information relating thereto if requested by the Corporate Governance Committee.
Frequency of Meetings
There are 5 regularly scheduled meetings of the Board each year with at least one regularly scheduled meeting of the Board held each quarter.
Selection of Agenda Items for Board Meetings
The Chairman of the Board annually prepares a "Board of Directors Master Agenda.” This Master Agenda sets forth a general agenda of items to be considered by the Board at each of its regular meetings during the year. Thereafter, the Chairman of the Board may adjust the agenda to include special items not contemplated during the initial preparation of the annual Master Agenda. Board members are invited to suggest inclusion of items on the agenda and are free to raise, at any Board meeting, subjects that are not specifically on the agenda.
Lead Independent Director
During such period when the Company does not have an independent, non-employee Chairman of the Board, the independent Directors will appoint one of the independent Directors to serve as Lead Independent Director until the earlier of such time as his/her successor as Lead Independent Director is appointed or an independent, non-employee Chairman of the Board is elected. Each regularly scheduled Board meeting includes an executive session of all Directors and the CEO and, a separate executive session of just the Directors who are independent as determined under these Guidelines.
The Lead Independent Director coordinates the activities of the other non-management Directors, and performs such other duties and responsibilities as the Board of Directors may determine. The specific responsibilities of the Lead Independent Director include: presiding at executive sessions of the independent Directors; calling special meetings of the independent Directors, as needed; addressing individual Board member performance matters, as needed; and serving as liaison on Board-wide issues between the independent Directors and the Chief Executive Officer, as needed.
Attendance of Senior Management Personnel at Board Meetings
The Board expects the regular attendance at each of its meetings of non-Board members who are in the most senior management positions of the Company. In addition, the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary regularly attend Board meetings. Should the Chief Executive Officer want to add additional people as attendees on a regular basis, it is expected that this suggestion would be made to the Board for its concurrence.
Board Materials Distributed in Advance
Information and materials that are important to the Board's understanding of the agenda items and other topics to be considered at a Board meeting are distributed sufficiently in advance of the meeting to permit prior review by the Directors. The Directors are expected to review such material prior to the meeting. In the event of a pressing need for the Board to meet on short notice or on occasions where the subject matter is too sensitive to be put on paper, certain proposals will be discussed at the meeting.
Number and Names of Board Committees
The Company has five standing committees: Audit, Compensation, Corporate Governance, Finance and Technology. The purpose and responsibilities for each of these committees is outlined in committee charters adopted by the Board. The Board may, from time to time, form a new committee or disband a current committee depending on circumstances. In addition, the Board may determine to form ad hoc committees from time to time, and determine the composition and areas of competence of such committees.
Independence of Board Committees
Each of the Audit, Compensation, Corporate Governance, Finance and Technology Committees is composed entirely of independent Directors satisfying applicable legal, regulatory and stock exchange requirements necessary for an assignment to any such committee.
Assignment and Rotation of Committee Members
The Corporate Governance Committee is responsible, after consultation with the Chairman of the Board, for making recommendations to the Board with respect to the assignment of Board members to various committees. After reviewing the Corporate Governance Committee's recommendations, the Board is responsible for appointing the Chairman and members to the committees on an annual basis.
The Corporate Governance Committee annually reviews the Committee assignments and considers the rotation of the Chairperson and members with a view toward balancing the benefits derived from continuity against the benefits derived from the diversity of experience and viewpoints of the various Directors.
The Chairperson of each committee, in consultation with the committee members, will determine the frequency and length of the committee meetings consistent with any requirements set forth in the committee’s charter. The Chairperson of each committee, in consultation with the appropriate members of the committee and management, will develop the committee’s agenda. The schedule for each committee will be furnished to all Directors.
Selection of the Chief Executive Officer
The Board is responsible for identifying potential candidates for, and selecting, the Company's Chief Executive Officer. In identifying potential candidates for and selecting the Company's Chief Executive Officer, the Board considers, among other things, a candidate's experience, understanding of the Company’s business environment, leadership qualities, knowledge, skills, expertise, integrity, and reputation in the business community.
Evaluation of Chief Executive Officer
The Compensation Committee is responsible for overseeing the evaluation process for the Chief Executive Officer.
The process is intended to formally assess the Chief Executive Officer's past performance as well as to help the Board determine future developmental needs for the Chief Executive Officer. Consequently, there are two types of measures: 1) Financial Performance Measures (such as cash, profit and revenue) which track accountability for past performance, and 2) Leadership Effectiveness Measures (such as employee morale, strategic leadership, and enterprise guardianship) which single out the key objectives that will assure the future success of the company.
The following steps are utilized to carry out this review:
The Compensation Committee reviews performance measures and targets and submits these for Board approval on or before the start of the first meeting of the fiscal year.
The Chief Executive Officer provides a self-evaluation to the Board within one-month of the end of the fiscal year.
The non-management Directors will provide their individual assessments of the Chief Executive Officer's performance. These assessments should include the Director's appraisal of the Financial Performance Measures and the Leadership Performance Measures approved by the Board as well as any other aspect of the Chief Executive Officer's performance that the non-management Director deems relevant. In addition, non-management Directors should identify any future developmental needs they deem necessary for the Chief Executive Officer.
The Compensation Committee synthesizes this information and recommends annual incentive compensation of the Chief Executive Officer based on the evaluation. The Board will do this in executive session.
After agreement by the non-management Directors to the evaluation, the chairs of the Compensation Committee and the Corporate Governance Committee and, as applicable, the independent, non-employee Chairman of the Board or the Lead Independent Director, will meet with the Chief Executive Officer to discuss the Board's assessment of performance and developmental needs for the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer may then take the opportunity to discuss his or her reaction to the evaluation.
The Board shall plan for the succession to the position of the Chief Executive Officer. To assist the Board, the Chief Executive Officer shall conduct an annual succession planning session with the Board at which an assessment of senior managers will be conducted including their potential to succeed the Chief Executive Officer and other senior management positions.
The Board shall determine that a satisfactory system is in effect for education, development, and orderly succession of senior and mid-level managers throughout the Company.
Policies and Guidelines
Copies of the current version of these Corporate Governance Guidelines, the Company's Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Members of the Board of Directors, the Company's Ethics Policy and Finance Code of Conduct for employees and officers and the charter of each key committee of the Board shall be posted on the Company's website.