Golden Leash Pay for Directors at The Dow Chemical Company
In November 2014, The Dow Chemical Company was faced with the prospect of a proxy battle with prominent hedge fund and activist investor Third Point Management. The activist had criticized Dow's recent performance and advocated that the company split itself to maximize its potential. The activist also proposed two director candidates to join Dow's board. Third Point offered its director nominees what had come to be known as a "golden leash" incentive structure - a significant amount of incentive payment from the investor if the company performed well. Supporters and critics had weighed in on the pros and cons of such incentive schemes for corporate independent directors. Faced with the prospect of a proxy fight, Dow's board had to decide whether to invite the two directors on to the company's board knowing they came with the special payment scheme from the hedge fund.