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Governance Guidelines

Download Corporate Governance Guidelines (PDF)

(Amended and Restated by the Board of Directors as of December 10, 2013)

  • ROLE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
  • SELECTION AND COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD
    • Board Size
    • Board Membership Criteria
    • Independence
    • Selection of Board Members
    • Tenure
  • OPERATION OF THE BOARD
    • Chairman
    • Board Meetings
    • Executive Sessions
    • Committees
    • Director Participation in Board and Committee Meetings
  • ACCESS TO COMPANY PERSONNEL
  • ACCESS TO OUTSIDE ADVISORS
  • TRAINING
    • Orientation
    • Ongoing Education
  • OVERSIGHT OF MANAGEMENT
    • Review of CEO Performance and Compensation
    • Review of Strategic Plan
    • Management Succession
  • EVALUATION AND COMPENSATION OF THE BOARD
    • Annual Evaluations
    • Director Compensation and Benefits
  • CODE OF CONDUCT
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I. ROLE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The business of The Hershey Company (the "Company") is carried out by its employees under the direction and supervision of its Chief Executive Officer ("CEO"). The business shall be managed under the direction of the board of directors ("Board"). In accordance with Delaware law, the role of the directors is to exercise their business judgment in the best interests of the Company. This role includes:

  • review of the Company's performance, strategies and major decisions;
  • oversight of the Company's compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and the integrity of its financial statements;
  • oversight of management, including review of the CEO's performance and succession planning for key management roles; and
  • oversight of compensation for the CEO, key executives and the Board, as well as oversight of executive compensation policies and programs.
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II. SELECTION AND COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD

A. Board Size

As set forth in the By-Laws of the Company ("By-Laws"), the Board has the power to fix the number of directors by resolution. The Company's Restated Certificate of Incorporation requires at least three directors. In fixing the number, the Board will be guided by the principle that a properly functioning Board is small enough to promote substantive discussions in which each member can actively participate, and large enough to offer diversity of background and expertise. The Board will consider whether it is of the appropriate size as part of its annual performance evaluation.

B. Board Membership Criteria

In selecting directors, the Board generally seeks individuals with skills and backgrounds that will complement those of other directors and maximize the diversity and effectiveness of the Board as a whole. Directors should be of the highest integrity and well-respected in their fields, with superb judgment and the ability to learn the Company's business and express informed, useful and constructive views. In reviewing the qualifications of prospective directors, the Board will consider such factors as it deems appropriate in light of these guidelines, which may include judgment, skill, diversity, experience with businesses and other organizations of comparable size, the interplay of the candidate's experience with the experience of the other Board members, and the extent to which any candidate would be a desirable addition to the Board and any committees of the Board. In general, the Board seeks individuals who are knowledgeable in fields including finance, international business, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, supply chain management, information technology, human resources and consumer products. All members of the Audit Committee must be financially literate and at least one member must have accounting or related financial management expertise and be an audit committee financial expert as defined in Item 407(d) of Regulation S-K of the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), or any successor provision.

C. Independence

The Board shall be composed of a majority of independent directors. In addition, the Company's Audit Committee, Compensation and Executive Organization Committee, Finance and Risk Management Committee, and Governance Committee shall consist solely of independent directors. At least annually, the directors shall determine which directors are independent. The Board will judge the independence of all directors based on the stringent standards applicable to Audit Committee members. No director will be considered independent unless the Board affirmatively determines that the director has no material relationship with the Company. Additionally, the independence of directors shall be determined based on the following criteria:

  1. A director who receives (or, in the last three years, received) direct compensation as an employee or any consulting, advisory or other compensatory fees from the Company, other than director or committee fees and pension or other forms of deferred compensation for prior service (provided that such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service), is not independent. A director whose immediate family member, other than an adult child who does not share a home with the director, receives or in the past three years received such compensation or fees from the Company is not independent. The receipt of such compensation or fees in any single year that does not (or did not) exceed $120,000, by a director's adult child who (i) does not share the director's home and has not shared the director's home within the last three years, and (ii) does not serve, and has not served within such period, as an executive officer of the Company, will be deemed an immaterial relationship that shall not preclude an independence determination for such director.
  2. A director who is (or, within the last three years, was) a partner, member, an officer such as a managing director occupying a comparable position or executive officer, of an entity to whom the company pays (or within the last three years paid) consulting, advisory or other compensatory fees for legal, consulting, investment banking or financial advisory services, is not independent. Payment of such fees to an entity where the director is a limited partner, non-managing member or a similar position where, in each case, the director has no active role in providing services to the Company, will be deemed an immaterial relationship that shall not preclude an independence determination for such director.
  3. A director who is a current partner or employee of a firm that is the Company's internal or external auditor is not independent. A director whose immediate family member is a current partner of such a firm, or is a current employee of such a firm and personally works on the Company's audit, is not independent. A director who was, or whose immediate family member was, within the last three years a partner or employee of such a firm and personally worked on the Company's audit within that time is not independent.
  4. A director who is (or, within the last three years, was) employed, or whose immediate family member is (or, within the last three years, was) employed, as an executive officer of another company where any of the Company's present executives serves (or, within the last three years, served) on that company's compensation committee is not independent.
  5. A director who is an executive officer or an employee, or whose immediate family member is an executive officer, of a company that makes (or, within the last three years, made) payments to or receives (or, within the last three years, received) payments from the Company for property or services in an amount which, in any single fiscal year, exceeds the greater of $1 million or 2% of such other company's consolidated gross revenues, is not independent. A director who is an executive officer or an employee, or whose immediate family member is an executive officer, of a company that makes (or, within the last three years, made) payments to or receives (or, within the last three years, received) payments from the Company for property or services in an amount which, in any single fiscal year, is less than the greater of $1 million or 2% of such other company's consolidated gross revenues has an immaterial relationship that shall not preclude an independence determination for such director.
  6. A director who is (or, within the last three years, was) an employee or a non-employee executive officer of the Company is not independent.
  7. A director who is an immediate family member of an individual who is (or, within the last three years, was) an executive officer of the Company, whether as an employee or non-employee, is not independent.
  8. A director who is an affiliated person of the Company, as defined under the rules of the SEC, is not independent; provided, however, if the director is an affiliated person solely because he or she sits on the board of directors of an affiliate of the Company, as defined under the rules of the SEC, then the director has an immaterial relationship with the Company that shall not preclude an independence determination for such director if he or she, except for being a director on each such board of directors, does not accept directly or indirectly any consulting, advisory, or other compensatory fee from either such entity, other than the receipt of only ordinary-course compensation for serving as a member of the board of directors, or any board committee of each such entity, and the director satisfies all other standards.
  9. A director who is, or whose immediate family member is, an officer or employee of a non-profit organization to which the Company has donated more than $100,000 in any year within the last three years is not independent.
  10. A director's participation in the Company's Charitable Awards Program or receipt of compensation and benefits for service as a director of the Company in accordance with Company policies and programs will be deemed an immaterial relationship with the Company that shall not preclude an independence determination for such director.

For purposes of application of these criteria, (i) “immediate family” shall be defined as including all individuals who are considered immediate family of a director under the regulations implementing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as all individuals who are considered immediate family of a director under the NYSE listing standards, (ii) a director’s receipt of compensation for former service as an interim Chairman or CEO or other executive officer is considered an immaterial relationship that shall not preclude an independence determination for such director, and (iii) references to “Company” for purposes of determining independence, include any parent or subsidiary in a consolidated group with the Company. Directors shall notify the Chair of the Governance Committee and the Chairman and/or CEO prior to accepting a board position on any other for-profit organization, so that the effect, if any, of such position on the director’s independence may be evaluated.

D. Selection of Board Members

Nomination of directors is the responsibility of the Governance Committee, all of whose members shall be independent directors. Recommendations may come from directors, shareholders or other sources. Recommendations may come from management, with the understanding that the Board is not required to consider candidates recommended by management. It is expected that all members of the Governance Committee will interview prospective candidates before their nominations are approved by the Committee. An offer to join the Board will be extended by the Chair of the Governance Committee or the Chairman of the Board if the Chairman is not also an officer or employee of the Company.

E. Tenure
  1. The Board has not established term limits, and, given the value added by experienced directors who can provide a historical perspective, term limits are not considered appropriate. New ideas and diversity of views are maintained by careful selection of directors when vacancies occur. In addition, the performance of individual directors and the Board as a whole are reviewed annually, prior to the nomination of directors for vote by stockholders at each Annual Meeting.
  2. When a director's principal occupation or business or institutional affiliation changes materially from that at the time of his or her first election to the Board, the director will tender his or her resignation by directing a letter of resignation to the Chair of the Governance Committee, except that if the director is the Chair of such committee, he or she shall direct the resignation to the Chairman of the Board or to the Chair of the Compensation and Executive Organization Committee if the Chair of the Governance Committee also serves as the Chairman of the Board. The Board will determine whether to accept such resignation. Pending the Board's final determination, such letter of resignation shall be deemed to be only preliminary consideration of resignation by the director, and not a final decision to resign, unless the director expresses a contrary intent in writing.
  3. Directors will not be nominated for reelection after their 72nd birthday.
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III. OPERATION OF THE BOARD

A. Chairman

The Chairman of the Board presides at all meetings of stockholders of the Company and of the Board and sees that all orders, resolutions and policies adopted or established by the Board are carried into effect. The Chairman of the Board is elected by and from the members of the Board and may, but need not, be the Chief Executive Officer or another officer of the Company.

B. Board Meetings
  1. The Board will hold approximately six regular meetings per year, scheduled by resolution of the Board sufficiently far in advance to accommodate the schedules of the directors. Special meetings may be called at any time by the Chairman or a Vice Chairman of the Board (if any), or by the CEO, or by one-sixth (calculated to the nearest whole number) of the total number of directors constituting the Board, to address specific issues.
  2. Agendas are established by the Chairman and sent in advance to the Board. Any director may submit agenda items for any meeting. A rolling agenda has been established, which includes a full annual review of the Company's strategic plan, quarterly reviews of the Company's financial performance, and committee reports and updates at each meeting on the business and other items of significance to the Company. Information relevant to agenda items shall be submitted to the Board in advance, and the agenda will be structured to allow appropriate time for discussion of important items.
C. Executive Sessions

Executive sessions are sessions of non-management directors. Executive sessions are held at the conclusion of each regular Board meeting, and at such other times as the non-management directors may determine, without the CEO or any other member of Company management present, to review such matters as may be appropriate, including the report of the outside auditors, the criteria upon which the performance of the CEO and other senior managers is based, the performance of the CEO measured against such criteria and the compensation of the CEO. If at any time the Board includes any non-management directors who are not independent, such directors shall be excluded from one executive session each year. Executive sessions are chaired by the Chairman of the Board or, in the Chairman's absence, a Vice Chairman of the Board (if any). If at any time the Chairman is also an officer of the Company, or if the Chairman is excluded from an executive session because he or she is a non-management director who is not independent, then the executive session shall be chaired by a Vice Chairman of the Board (if any) who meets the independence standards under these Guidelines. In the absence of an independent Vice Chairman, then executive sessions shall be chaired by an independent director assigned on a rotating basis. In addition, any director may call a special executive session to discuss a matter of significance to the Company and/or the Board.

D. Committees

All major decisions are made by the Board; however, the Board has established committees to enable it to handle certain matters in more depth. The committees are (1) Audit, (2) Governance, (3) Compensation and Executive Organization, (4) Finance and Risk Management and (5) Executive (or any successor to any of the foregoing committees having duties and responsibilities similar to such committee). Members are expected to serve on committees, as recommended by the Governance Committee and approved by the Board. Committee members serve at the pleasure of the Board, for such period of time as the Board may determine, consistent with these governance guidelines. All directors serving on the Audit, Governance, Finance and Risk Management, and Compensation and Executive Organization committees must be independent, as determined by the Board in accordance with these governance guidelines and as required by applicable law and regulation. The Executive Committee is made up of the Chairman of the Board and the chair of each of the other committees and, if deemed appropriate by the Board in its discretion, one other director. Any transaction not in the ordinary course of business by and among the Company and Hershey Trust Company, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company and/or Milton Hershey School, or any subsidiary, division or affiliate of any of the foregoing, shall be reviewed and approved in advance by a special committee. Unless directed otherwise by the independent members of the Board who are not officers or directors of or otherwise affiliated with any of the above-listed entities (the "Unaffiliated Directors"), the special committee shall be composed of the directors elected by the holders of Common Stock voting separately as a class, which special committee will make its recommendation to the Board regarding such potential transaction. If at any time there are no directors serving on the Board who were elected by the holders of the Common Stock voting separately as a class, then, unless directed otherwise by the Unaffiliated Directors, the independent members of the Executive Committee will serve as the special committee, provided, that no director who is an officer or director of or is otherwise affiliated with any of the above-listed entities shall participate in the review or approval of any such transaction on behalf of the Company. The charter of each committee is published on the Company's website and will be made available to any shareholder on request. Each committee chair shall report the highlights of the committee meeting to the full Board at the Board meeting following the committee meeting. The Chairman of the Board serves as chair of the Executive Committee. The chairs of the Audit Committee, the Governance Committee, the Finance and Risk Management Committee and the Compensation and Executive Organization Committee (the "Independent Committees") are recommended by the Governance Committee and approved by the Board. Under normal circumstances, following four consecutive years as the Chair of an Independent Committee, a director shall not serve again on such committee for at least one year after standing down as the Chair thereof. A Chair of an Independent Committee may be permitted to continue to serve on such committee with Board approval if the Board determines that the former Chair uniquely fills a specific need of such Committee. The structure and functioning of the committees shall be part of the annual Board evaluation.

E. Director Participation in Board and Committee Meetings

Each director is expected to participate actively in their respective committee meetings and in Board meetings. Directors are expected to attend all meetings and are expected to come prepared for a thorough discussion of agenda items. Directors are expected to attend the Company's Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Participation by directors will be reviewed as part of the annual assessment of the Board and its committees.

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IV. ACCESS TO COMPANY PERSONNEL

Directors have full and free access to the Company's officers and employees. Division and function heads regularly make presentations to the Board and committees on subjects within their areas of responsibility. The CEO will invite other members of management to attend meetings or other Board functions as appropriate. Directors may initiate communication with any employee and/or invite any employee to any Board or committee meeting; however, they are expected to exercise judgment to protect the confidentiality of sensitive matters and to avoid disruption to the business, and they are expected to copy the CEO on written communications to company personnel under normal circumstances.

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V. ACCESS TO OUTSIDE ADVISORS

The Board and each committee have the power to hire independent legal, financial or other advisors as they may deem necessary, without consulting or obtaining approval of Company management in advance.

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VI. TRAINING

A. Orientation

Each new Board member shall undergo an orientation designed to educate the director about the Company and his/her obligations as a director. At a minimum, the orientation shall include meetings with several members of senior management and the Governance and Compliance Officer, a tour of key facilities and review of reference materials regarding the Company and corporate governance, the Company's strategic plan and the last annual report.

B. Ongoing Education

The Company will pay reasonable expenses for each director to attend at least one relevant continuing education program each year. Directors are encouraged but not required to attend. In addition, the Company will keep directors informed of significant developments as appropriate. Each Board meeting shall include a report to directors on (1) significant business developments affecting the Company, (2) significant legal developments affecting the Company, and (3) if and as necessary, significant legal developments affecting the Board members' obligations as directors.

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VII. OVERSIGHT OF MANAGEMENT

A. Review of CEO Performance and Compensation

The independent directors, together with the Compensation and Executive Organization Committee, monitor the performance of the CEO. Annually they shall review the performance appraisal of the CEO performed by the Compensation and Executive Organization Committee and shall review and approve the CEO's compensation recommended by such committee.

B. Review of Strategic Plan

The Board shall review the Company's strategic plan annually. All Board members are expected to participate in an active review. The CEO will invite to the review members of management with responsibility for key divisions and functions and any other personnel the CEO deems helpful, for purposes of providing information sufficient to facilitate a full and frank discussion.

C. Management Succession
  1. The Board shall review management succession plans annually. This shall include review by the Board of organization strength and management development and succession plans for each member of the Company's executive team. The Board shall also maintain and review annually, or more often if appropriate, a succession plan for the CEO.
  2. If the President, CEO and/or Chairman of the Board is unable to perform for any reason, including death, incapacity, termination, or resignation before a replacement is elected, then: (1) if the Company is without a Chairman of the Board, the Vice Chairman of the Board, if any, shall serve as Chairman until a replacement is elected or, in the case of temporary incapacity, until the Board determines that the incapacity has ended, and in the absence of a Vice Chairman of the Board, the Chair of the Governance Committee or, in his or her absence, the Chair of the Compensation and Executive Organization Committee, shall serve in such capacity; (2) if the Company is without a President and CEO, the interim President and CEO shall be the officer of the Company approved by the Board, taking into consideration the annual recommendation of the CEO; (3) in the case of incapacity of the President, CEO and/or Chairman, the Board shall determine whether to search for a replacement; and (4) the Chair of the Compensation and Executive Organization Committee shall lead any search for a replacement.
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VIII. EVALUATION AND COMPENSATION OF THE BOARD

A. Annual Evaluations

The directors shall evaluate the performance of the Board and its committees annually. Each director shall complete an evaluation for the Board as a whole and each of the committees on which he or she has served during the year. Evaluation results shall be reviewed by the Governance Committee, which shall present to the Board the results along with any recommendations for change that the committee deems appropriate. These governance guidelines and the committee charters shall be reviewed annually in conjunction with the annual evaluation. The Governance Committee shall also review the performance of Board members when they are considered for reelection and at any time upon request of a Board member.

B. Director Compensation and Benefits
  1. General. The Compensation and Executive Organization Committee shall review and make recommendations to the Board annually with respect to the form and amount of compensation and benefits. These will be established after due consideration of the responsibilities assumed and the compensation of directors at similarly situated companies.
  2. Stock Ownership.
    1. The Board will not nominate any person to be elected a director at an Annual Meeting of Stockholders unless such person owns, as defined below, or agrees to purchase and own at least 200 shares of the Company's Common Stock on or before the record date for such meeting.
    2. The Board desires that each director own, as defined herein, shares of the Company’s Common Stock in an amount at least equal to the Stockholding Guidelines as of January 1 of each year following the fifth anniversary of first becoming a director (the “compliance date”). If the Board approves amendments to the Stockholding Guidelines to increase the number of shares of the Company’s Common Stock that each director must own, then each director serving on the Board on the date the amendment is approved (the “approval date”) shall have until January 1 following the second anniversary of the approval date, or in the case of any director who on the approval date has not reached his or her initial compliance date, until the second anniversary following such director’s initial compliance date, to satisfy the new Stockholding Guidelines. For purposes of the requirements herein and in paragraph a. above, ownership of the Company’s Common Stock includes Common Stock equivalent shares such as common stock units deferred under the Company’s Directors’ Compensation Plan and restricted stock units granted quarterly under that plan or the Company’s Equity and Incentive Compensation Plan.
    3. Stockholding Guidelines as of January 1 of any year means the number of shares of the Company’s Common Stock, as described in paragraph b. above, with a value, valued at the average closing price on the NYSE of the Common Stock on the first three trading days of the month of December of the preceding year, equal to four times the annual retainer under the Company's Directors' Compensation Plan for such year.
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IX. CODE OF CONDUCT

Directors are held to the highest standards of integrity. The Company's Code of Ethical Business Conduct applies to directors as well as officers and employees and covers areas including conflicts of interest, insider trading and compliance with laws and regulations. The Audit Committee has responsibility for oversight of the Company's communication of, and compliance with, the Code of Ethical Business Conduct.

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