Creating a track record of good governance at Splunk
Connie Wu, director of corporate governance and securities at Splunk, is the winner of this year’s rising star award. Wu joined Splunk in 2015 and has already established an impressive track record, including being part of the team that won the 2016 Corporate Governance Award for governance team of the year (small to mid-cap).
Wu supports Splunk’s corporate legal functions, with a core focus on corporate governance, stock administration, SEC reporting and executive compensation. Her efforts have taken place against a background of rapid growth at the company, from more than 2,100 employees and total revenues of $668.4 million in fiscal 2016 to more than 3,200 employees and total revenues of $1.27 billion in fiscal 2018.
Wu provides thought-leadership on topics relating to Splunk’s governance of corporate sustainability-related initiatives. This has contributed to the board’s support for and visibility of these initiatives and has provided a framework for sustainability discussions with shareholders. She also drafted new disclosure in Splunk’s 2018 proxy statement highlighting the firm’s corporate sustainability priorities and initiatives.
Following a failed say-on-pay vote in 2014, her research and guidance led to the company’s corporate governance team developing a formal, strategic, four-phase stockholder engagement program, which has provided useful feedback. Support for the company’s say-on-pay resolutions rebounded from 39 percent in 2014 to 98 percent in 2015.
Her efforts helped lead to the use of design and graphics in Splunk’s 2015 proxy statement, which in turn helped build say-on-pay support and led to the company winning the 2015 Corporate Governance Award for best proxy statement (small to mid-cap).
Wu has led a cross-functional team over the past three years to continue to improve Splunk’s proxy statement and make it more readable and investor-friendly. This has involved restructuring, reformatting and rewriting the document and adding graphical and other design elements in response to feedback generated by the company’s investor engagement program.
Among other things, Wu has overseen successful AGMs in 2016, 2017 and 2018. These have included overcoming a negative recommendation from Glass Lewis on Splunk’s 2016 and 2018 say-on-pay proposals, achieving say-on-pay approval levels of 89 percent in 2016, 95 percent in 2017 and 87 percent in 2018. She has also been a key member of a cross-functional team that has worked on Splunk’s acquisitions of Caspida and Metafor.
Adele Freedman, vice president of corporate (legal) at Splunk, says: ‘[Connie] has been instrumental in helping Splunk create a virtuous circle in corporate governance, from supporting our formal stockholder engagement program and continuously improving our proxy statement to more effectively communicating and presenting disclosures – all of which contribute to investor support and successful annual meetings, even in the face of negative recommendations. We are lucky to have Connie on our team.’
This article originally appeared in the latest Corporate Secretary special report. Click here to view the full publication.