Compensation Committee

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  Compensation Committee Charter
ACELRX PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.
CHARTER OF THE COMPENSATION COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS


PURPOSE AND POLICY

The purpose of the Compensation Committee (the “Committee”) of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (the “Company”) shall be to act on behalf of the Board in fulfilling the Board’s responsibilities to oversee the Company’s compensation policies, plans and programs, and to review and determine the compensation to be paid to the Company’s officers, as well as to review and discuss with management the Company’s disclosures contained under the caption “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” (“CD&A”) for use in any of the Company’s annual reports on Form 10-K, registration statements, proxy statements or information statements and to prepare and review the Committee report on executive compensation included in the Company’s annual proxy statement in accordance with applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) in effect from time to time. The term “compensation” shall include salary, long-term incentives, bonuses, perquisites, equity incentives, severance arrangements, retirement benefits and other related benefits and benefit plans.

The policy of the Committee shall be as follows:
  • Compensation Structure. The Committee shall seek to maintain an overall compensation structure designed to attract, retain and motivate management and other employees by providing appropriate levels of risk and reward, assessed on a relative basis at all levels within the Company and in proportion to individual contribution and performance, and

  • Long-Term Focus. The Committee shall seek to establish appropriate incentives for management to further the Company’s long-term strategic plan and avoid undue emphasis on short-term market value.
COMPOSITION

The Committee shall consist of at least two (2) members of the Board. The Committee shall satisfy (i) the independence requirements of The NASDAQ Stock Market (“NASDAQ”) applicable to compensation committee members, as in effect from time to time, when and as required by NASDAQ, including any exceptions permitted by these requirements, (ii) the “non-employee director” standard within the meaning of Rule 16b-3 promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended from time to time (the “Exchange Act”) and (iii) the “outside director” standard within the meaning of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended from time to time (the “Code”). The members of the Committee shall be appointed by and serve at the discretion of the Board. Vacancies occurring on the Committee shall be filled by the Board. The Committee’s chairperson shall be designated by the Board.

MEETINGS AND MINUTES

The Committee shall meet at least once annually and with greater frequency as its members shall deem necessary or appropriate. Minutes of each meeting of the Committee shall be prepared and distributed to each director of the Company and the Secretary of the Company promptly after each meeting. The Committee shall report to the Board from time to time and whenever requested to do so by the Board.

AUTHORITY

The Committee shall have full access to all books, records, facilities and personnel of the Company as deemed necessary or appropriate by any member of the Committee to discharge his or her responsibilities hereunder, including human resources personnel preparing the CD&A for the Company’s reports to be filed with the SEC. The Committee shall have the authority to obtain, at the expense of the Company, advice and assistance from internal or external legal, accounting or other advisors and consultants In addition, the Committee shall have sole authority to retain and terminate any compensation consultant to assist in the evaluation of director, chief executive officer or senior executive compensation, including sole authority to approve such consultant’s reasonable fees and other retention terms, all at the Company’s expense. Other reasonable expenditures for external resources that the Committee deems necessary or appropriate in the performance of its duties are permitted. The Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees as appropriate, including, but not limited to, a subcommittee composed of one or more members of the Board to grant stock awards under the Company’s equity incentive plans to persons who are not (a) “Covered Employees” under Section 162(m) of the Code; (b) individuals with respect to whom the Company wishes to comply with Section 162(m) of the Code or (c) then subject to Section 16 of the Exchange Act. The operation of the Committee shall be subject to the Bylaws of the Company as in effect from time to time and Section 141 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. The approval of this Compensation Committee Charter shall be construed as a delegation of authority to the Committee with respect to the responsibilities set forth herein.

RESPONSIBILITIES

To implement the Committee’s purpose and policies, the Committee shall be charged with the following duties and responsibilities. The Committee may supplement and, except as otherwise required by applicable law or the requirements of NASDAQ, deviate from these activities as appropriate under the circumstances:

1. Overall Compensation Strategy. The Committee shall review, modify (as needed) and approve the overall compensation strategy and policies for the Company, including:
  • reviewing and approving corporate performance goals and objectives relevant to the compensation of the Company’s executive officers and other senior management, as appropriate;

  • evaluating and recommending to the Board for approval the compensation plans and programs advisable for the Company, as well as evaluating and recommending to the Board for approval the modification or termination of existing plans and programs;

  • establishing policies with respect to equity compensation arrangements;

  • reviewing regional and industry-wide compensation practices and trends to assess the adequacy and competitiveness of the Company’s executive compensation programs among comparable companies in the Company’s industry; however, the Committee shall exercise independent judgment in determining the appropriate levels and types of compensation to be paid;

  • reviewing and approving the terms of any employment agreements, severance arrangements, change-of-control protections and any other compensatory arrangements (including, without limitation, perquisites and any other form of compensation) for the Company’s executive officers and other senior management, as appropriate;

  • reviewing and approving any compensation arrangement for any executive officer involving any subsidiary, special purpose or similar entity, taking into account the potential for conflicts of interest in such arrangements and whether the arrangement has the potential to benefit the Company; and

  • evaluating the efficacy of the Company’s compensation policy and strategy in achieving expected benefits to the Company and otherwise furthering the Committee’s policies.
2. Compensation of Chief Executive Officer. The Committee shall recommend to the Board for determination and approval the compensation and other terms of employment of the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and shall evaluate the Chief Executive Officer’s performance in light of relevant corporate performance goals and objectives, taking into account, among other things, the policies of the Committee and the Chief Executive Officer’s performance.

In determining the long-term incentive component of the Chief Executive Officer’s compensation, the Committee should seek to achieve an appropriate level of risk and reward, taking into consideration the Company’s performance and relative stockholder return, the potential benefits and costs to the Company of the award, the value of similar incentive awards given to chief executive officers of comparable companies, the awards given to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer in past years, and such other criteria as the Committee deems advisable. The Chief Executive Officer may not be present during the voting or deliberations regarding his or her compensation.

3. Compensation of Other Officers. The Committee shall review and approve the individual and corporate performance goals and objectives of the Company’s other senior management, as appropriate, including executive officers (as that term is defined in Section 16 of the Exchange Act and Rule 16a-1 thereunder), that are periodically established. The Committee shall determine and approve or recommend to the Board for determination and approval the compensation and other terms of employment of these officers or senior management, as appropriate, taking into consideration the officer’s success in achieving his or her individual performance goals and objectives and the corporate performance goals and objectives deemed relevant to the officer as established by the Committee, as well as in fostering a corporate culture that promotes the highest levels of integrity and the highest ethical standards.

4. Administration of Benefit Plans. The Committee shall recommend to the Board the adoption, amendment and termination of the Company’s stock option plans, stock appreciation rights plans, pension and profit sharing plans, incentive plans, stock bonus plans, stock purchase plans, bonus plans, deferred compensation plans and similar programs. The Committee shall have full power and authority to administer these plans, establish guidelines, interpret plan documents, select participants, approve grants and awards, and exercise such other power and authority as may be permitted or required under such plans.

5. Insurance Coverage. The Committee shall review and establish appropriate insurance coverage for the Company’s directors and executive officers.

6. Director Compensation. The Committee shall periodically review the compensation paid to non-employee directors for their service on the Board and its committees and recommend any changes considered appropriate to the full Board for its approval.

7. Compensation Discussion and Analysis. The Committee shall review and discuss with management the Company’s disclosures contained under the caption “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” for use in any of the Company’s annual reports on Form 10-K, registration statements, proxy statements or information statements and make recommendations to the Board that the CD&A be approved for inclusion in the Company’s annual reports on Form 10-K, registration statements, proxy statements or information statements.

8. Committee Report. The Committee shall prepare and review the Committee report on executive compensation to be included in the Company’s annual proxy statement in accordance with applicable SEC rules and regulations.

9. Committee Self-Assessment. The Committee shall review, discuss and assess its own performance at least annually. The Committee shall also periodically review and assess the adequacy of this charter, including the Committee’s role and responsibilities as outlined in this Charter, and shall recommend any proposed changes to the Board for its consideration.