Role of boards in setting executive director’s compensation


Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organisation towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical and legal governance and financial management policies as well as by making sure the organisation has adequate resources to advance its mission. The director/executive compensation environment continues to evolve and the benchmarked best practices continue to change. Besides pay and salary, there are many variables that determine director/executive compensation such as number of yearly meetings, industry, business size, business structure, company rules and regulations, improved incentive designs which ensure greater pay-for-performance alignment and communications and interests of investors and other stakeholders on public trust of compensation outcomes.

This guide provides recommended resources on the topic of role of boards in setting executive director’s compensation that are available from NLB as well as on the Internet. As the guide is not intended to be comprehensive, interested readers should search the NLB catalogue or the Internet for more resources.

Search Terms Call Number
Compensation management 658.32; 658.4072; 658.422
Nonprofit organisations — Management 361.763; 658.048; 658.4092



(listed in alphabetical order)


  • Clifford, S. (2017). The CEO pay machine: How it trashes America and how to stop it. New York: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group. Available from NLB Overdrive.
    Clifford examines how board directors and compensation committees have directly contributed to the rising salaries and bonuses of executives. He questions the wisdom of an out-of-control bonus system that limits an organisation’s progress or induces a CEO to act in a way that may be in conflict with a company’s best interests. Instead, he advocates replacing an annual bonus with restricted stock, making the CEO a shareholder with a vested interest in the organisation’s success. Other recommendations include prohibiting CEOs from also being board chairpersons, linking pay to internal equity and instituting a luxury tax on excess compensation.


  • Hoskisson, R. E., & Hitt, M. A. (2014). Downscoping: How to tame the diversified firm. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available from Proquest Ebook Central.
    The authors offer incentive and compensation adjustments for executives, leveraged buy-outs and capital structure changes, focusing on core skills, diversifying internationally and buying and selling mature businesses where product development is not a great concern. 


  • Reda, J. F., Reifler, S., & Stevens, M. L. (2014). Compensation committee handbook (4). Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. Available from Proquest Ebook Central.
    This handbook provides information on compensation and how to succeed in melding highly complex technical information and concepts with both corporate governance principles and business judgment. Available from eBrary books.



  • Welch, S., Klauer, K., & Fontenot, S. F. (2012). Healthcare executive compensation: A guide for leaders and trustees. Chicago: Ache Management Series. Available from Proquest Ebook Central.
    This book helps CEOs and board compensation committees deal with issues such as compensation philosophy, the structure of the executive compensation programme, the balance among its components, the emphasis on pay-for-performance, and the challenges of governing executive compensation. Available from eBrary books.


(listed in alphabetical order)

  • Ellig, B.R. (2014). The complete guide to executive compensation. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.40722 ELL
    The author provides guidance for board members and company executives on defining a company’s organisation, culture, and business strategy, in order to establish a framework for executive compensation.


  • The nonprofit board answer book: A practical guide for board members and chief executives. (Third edition). (2012). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.422 NON
    A guide to good governance for board leaders at all levels of experience and expertise. It offers resources on board governance. The topics includes board structure and process, board member recruitment and orientation, board-staff relations, financial management, risk management and mergers. Part three of the book provides information on board members’ compensation.


  • Lim, G. S., Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. H. (2016). Human resource management. (Second edition, Asia edition). Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd.
    Call no.: RSING 658.30095 LIM
    This book highlights universally usable human resource management theories and practices sourced from leading research and reports in Asia, as well as case studies from countries such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. Section four discusses rewards and compensation for employees, executives and board of directors.




  • Rose, M. (2014). Reward management. London; Philadelphia: Kogan Page.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.3225 ROS
    This book provides a practical guide to understanding and implementing effective reward strategies in organisation. Topics such as pay grades and structure, job evaluation, pay reviews, bonus plans, non-cash reward, benefits, tax issues and compensation management case studies are covered in the book.




(listed in alphabetical order)


  • Campbell, A. (2011). 20 questions directors of not-for-profit organizations should ask about human resources. Retrieved July 18, 2017, from Affiliated Services of Children and Youth of Canada website:
    Nonprofit organisations are diverse and their human resources needs can vary widely. This document addresses compensation issue relating to executive directors, paid staff, independent contractors or consultants and volunteers. Part B of the document provides an in-depth coverage on compensation for the executive director.


  • City of New York (NYC). (2016). Board and staff structure: Compensation of the Chief Executive of a nonprofit. Retrieved July 18, 2017, from NYC Nonprofits website: 
    Describes the role of board directors in hiring and establishing the compensation (salary and benefits) of the executive director or CEO. Includes a complete copy of the NYC Good Governance Blueprint (Board and Staff Roles & Responsibility Section).




  • National Council on Nonprofits. (2017). Executive compensation. Retrieved July 18, 2017, from National Council of Nonprofits website: 
    The website provides an overview of what a nonprofit should pay its chief executive, reasonable compensation according to the Inland Revenue Service and links to resources and tools for nonprofit boards to consult. 


  • OECD. (2011). Board Practices: Incentives and governing risks, corporate governance. Retrieved July 18, 2017, from OECD website:
    This publication examines the effectiveness of boards in fulfilling their obligation to align executive and board remuneration with the longer term interests of their companies, including in-depth reviews of managing incentives and risks in five OECD countries: Brazil, Japan, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom. 


  • Say on pay effectiveness, corporate governance mechanisms, and CEO compensation alignment. (2017). Retrieved September 5, 2017, from Elsevier website:
    This research analyses the effectiveness of Say On Pay (SOP) as a mechanism for aligning CEO compensation in the context of Spanish listed companies of corporate governance. It also examines the moderating effect of board monitoring and ownership structure.



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All featured books and periodicals are located at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.


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Hameedah M Ibrahim


The information in this resource guide is valid as at September 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2017.


Written by Hameedah M Ibrahim