Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance Report (March 14, 2014)

Corporate Governance Report (March 14, 2014) [PDF : 220KB]

Corporate Governance

Companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) must comply with certain standards regarding corporate governance under Section 303A of the NYSE Listed Company Manual.
However, listed companies that are foreign private issuers, such as Honda, are permitted to follow home-country practice in lieu of certain provisions of Section 303A.
The following table shows the significant differences between the corporate governance practices followed by U.S. listed companies under Section 303A of the NYSE Listed Company Manual and those followed by Honda.

Corporate Governance Practices Followed by NYSEListed U.S. Companies Corporate Governance Practices Followed by Honda
An NYSE-listed U.S. company must have a majority of directors meeting the independence requirements under Section 303A of the NYSE Listed Company Manual. For Japanese companies that employ a corporate governance system based on a board of corporate auditors (the “board of corporate auditors system”), including Honda, Japan's Company Law has no independence requirement with respect to directors. The task of overseeing management and, together with the accounting audit firm, accounting is assigned to the corporate auditors, who are separate from the company's management and meet certain independence requirements under Japan's Company Law. In the case of Japanese companies that employ the board of corporate auditors system, including Honda, at least half of the corporate auditors must be “outside” corporate auditors who must meet additional independence requirements under Japan's Company Law. An outside corporate auditor is defined as a corporate auditor who has not served as a director, accounting councilor, executive officer, manager, or any other employee of the company or any of its subsidiaries. Currently, Honda has three outside corporate auditors which constitute 60% of Honda's five corporate auditors.
An NYSE-listed U.S. company must have an audit committee composed entirely of independent directors, and the audit committee must have at least three members. Like a majority of Japanese listed companies, Honda employs the board of corporate auditors system as described above. Under this system, the board of corporate auditors is a legally separate and independent body from the board of directors. The main function of the board of corporate auditors is similar to that of independent directors, including those who are members of the audit committee, of a U.S. company: to monitor the performance of the directors, and review and express an opinion on the method of auditing by the company's accounting audit firm and on such accounting audit firm's audit reports, for the protection of the company's shareholders.
Japanese companies that employ the board of corporate auditors system, including Honda, are required to have at least three corporate auditors. Currently, Honda has five corporate auditors. Each corporate auditor has a fouryear term. In contrast, the term of each director of Honda is one year.
With respect to the requirements of Rule 10A-3 under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 relating to listed company audit committees, Honda relies on an exemption under that rule which is available to foreign private issuers with boards of corporate auditors meeting certain criteria.
An NYSE-listed U.S. company must have a nominating / corporate governance committee composed entirely of independent directors. Honda's directors are elected at a meeting of shareholders. Its Board of Directors does not have the power to fill vacancies thereon. Honda's corporate auditors are also elected at a meeting of shareholders. A proposal by Honda's Board of Directors to elect a corporate auditor must be approved by a resolution of its Board of Corporate Auditors. The Board of Corporate Auditors is empowered to request that Honda's directors submit a proposal for election of a corporate auditor to a meeting of shareholders. The corporate auditors have the right to state their opinion concerning election of a corporate auditor at the meeting of shareholders.
An NYSE-listed U.S. company must have a compensation committee composed entirely of independent directors. Maximum total amounts of compensation for Honda's directors and corporate auditors are proposed to, and voted on, by a meeting of shareholders. Once the proposals for such maximum total amounts of compensation are approved at the meeting of shareholders, each of the Board of Directors and Board of Corporate Auditors determines the compensation amount for each member within the respective maximum total amounts.
An NYSE-listed U.S. company must generally obtain shareholder approval with respect to any equity compensation plan. Currently, Honda does not adopt stock option compensation plans. If Honda were to adopt such a plan, Honda must obtain shareholder approval for stock options only if the stock options are issued with specifically favorable conditions or price concerning the issuance and exercise of the stock options.

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