Median non-employee director total direct compensation rose to $263,491 in 2015, up 2.6% from the previous year, said a Willis Towers Watson report released Tuesday that analyzed 250 of the largest publicly traded companies.
By contrast, the median increase in 2014 was 4% from the previous year.
For 2015, the median value of the equity component of total compensation rose 3.4% to $150,000 from 2014, while the median value of the cash component increased 5.6% to $108,250.
At the extremes, total compensation ranged from $60,000 to $559,631 in 2015. At the 25th percentile level, the total compensation was $234,965 and at the 75th percentile, $297,627.
Only 18% of the companies paid a fee, all in cash, for attending board meetings, down from 22% the previous year. The median fee was $1,800, up 2.8% from the previous year.
Some 27% of companies pay a fee, all cash, for a committee membership, up from 25% the previous year. The median committee retainer fee was $10,000, unchanged form the previous year.
Some 86% of companies in the report that have a lead director paid a fee for such service in 2015, up from 83% in 2014. The lead director fee was a median $30,000, up 20% from the previous year.
The average mix of median total direct compensation remained unchanged at 57% equity and 43% cash.
“Companies continue to adjust their director pay programs with an eye toward rewarding directors for their overall contributions rather than for how many meetings they attend,” Robert Mustich, leader of Willis Towers Watson’s executive compensation consulting practice in the Eastern U.S., said in a news release about the report. “The fact that a third of the companies we analyzed changed one or more core elements of their pay program in the past year reflects an ongoing trend toward companies reviewing and adjusting their director pay packages on a regular basis to remain competitive” and attract candidates for the board and retain directors.