Leadership structure - Eaton
Our governance structure follows a successful leadership model under which the Chief Executive Officer of Eaton Corporation also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Company. We recognize that different leadership models may work well for other companies at different times depending upon individual circumstances, and we believe that our Company has been well served by the combined Chief Executive Officer and Chairman leadership structure. This approach has continued to be highly effective with the addition of a Lead Director. We believe we have benefited greatly from having a Chairman who sets the tone and direction for the Company, while also having the primary responsibility as Chief Executive Officer for managing day-to-day operations, and allowing the Board to carry out its strategic, governance, oversight and decision-making responsibilities with the equal involvement of each director.
Our Board is composed primarily of independent directors, except for our Chairman, Mr. Arnold, and Mr. Fearon. Of our 10 non-employee directors, five are currently serving or have served as a chief executive officer of a publicly traded company. The Audit, Compensation and Organization, Finance and Governance Committees are chaired by independent directors. Our Chairman has benefited from the extensive leadership experience represented on our Board of Directors.
The Board evaluates the leadership structure annually, and it will continue to do so as circumstances change, including when a new Chief Executive Officer is elected. In its February 2017 annual evaluation, the Board concluded that the current leadership structure — under which the Chief Executive Officer of Eaton Corporation serves as Chairman of the Board of the Company, our Board committees are chaired by independent directors, and a Lead Director assumes specific responsibilities on behalf of the independent directors — remains the optimal board leadership structure for our Company and our shareholders at the present time.
Christopher M. Connor, who has served on Eaton’s Board since 2006, was first elected Lead Director by our independent directors in 2016. The Lead Director has specific responsibilities, including chairing meetings of the Board at which the Chairman is not present (including Executive Sessions of the Board), approving the agenda and schedule for Board meetings on behalf of the independent directors, approving information sent to the Board, serving as liaison between the Chairman and the independent directors, and being available for consultation and direct communications with shareholders and other Company stakeholders. The Lead Director has the authority to call meetings of the independent directors and to retain outside advisors who report directly to the Board of Directors. The Lead Director’s performance is assessed annually by the Board in a process led by the Chair of the Governance Committee, and the position of Lead Director is elected annually by our independent directors.