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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C.  20549

 

FORM 10-K/A

 

Amendment No. 1

 

x  ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009

 

o  TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission File Number 001-34115

 

SONUS NETWORKS, INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

DELAWARE

 

04-3387074

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

7 Technology Park Drive, Westford, Massachusetts 01886

(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)

 

(978) 614-8100

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.001

 

The NASDAQ Global Select Market

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes  o  No x

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes  o  No x

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes  x  No o

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes o  No o

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  o

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company.  See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.  (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer o

 

Accelerated filer x

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer o

 

Smaller reporting company o

(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

 

 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes o  No x

 

The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was approximately $274,438,000 based on the closing price for the Common Stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on June 30, 2009.  As of February 17, 2010, there were 274,640,550 shares of common stock, $0.001 par value, outstanding.

 

 

 



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SONUS NETWORKS, INC.

FORM 10-K/A

Amendment No. 1

YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Item

 

 

Page

Part III

 

 

2

10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

2

11.

 

Executive Compensation

16

12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

36

13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

40

14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

41

Part IV

 

 

43

15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

43

 

 

Signatures

44

 

 

Exhibit Index

45

 

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Explanatory Note

 

This Amendment No. 1 (this “Amendment”) on Form 10-K/A to the Annual Report on Form 10-K (the “Initial Filing”) of Sonus Networks, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), for the year ended December 31, 2009, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, on February 25, 2010, is being filed solely for the limited purpose of amending Items 10 through 14 to reflect the inclusion of the information required by the Form 10-K and Part IV, Item 15. The Initial Filing contemplated the incorporation of such information from a Proxy Statement to be filed by the Company within 120 days following the end of the Company’s year ended December 31, 2009. The Company does not believe that such Proxy Statement will be filed within the requisite 120-day time period and, accordingly, is including the information required by Items 10 through 14 of the Form 10-K through this Amendment as contemplated by instruction G(3) to the Form 10-K.

 

Except as contained herein, this Amendment does not modify or update disclosures contained in the Initial Filing. This Amendment should be read in conjunction with the Company’s other filings made with the SEC subsequent to the date of the Initial Filing, including any amendments to those filings, as well as any Current Reports filed on Form 8-K subsequent to the date of the Initial Filing, if any. In addition, in accordance with applicable rules and regulations promulgated by the SEC, this Amendment includes updated certificates from our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer as Exhibits 31.1, 31.2, 32.1 and 32.2.

 



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PART III

 

Item 10.  Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

Board of Directors

 

The Board of Directors, or the Board, of Sonus Networks, Inc. (Sonus, Sonus Networks, our, we, us or the Company) is presently composed of nine members, eight of whom are independent within our director independence standards, which meet the director independence standards of the NASDAQ Stock Market Marketplace Rules.

 

At our 2009 annual meeting of stockholders, our stockholders voted to declassify our Board by the 2011 annual meeting of stockholders. The class of directors whose term of office expires at the 2010 annual meeting of stockholders currently consists of three directors, each of whom is a current director; this will be our last class of directors elected on a staggered basis.

 

Biographical information regarding each director of the Company is set forth below.

 

Directors Whose Terms Will Expire in 2010

 

Beatriz V. Infante, 56, has been a director since January 2010. Since January 2009, Ms. Infante has served as the Chief Executive Officer of BusinessExcelleration LLC. She was previously the Chief Executive Officer and director of VoiceObjects Inc. (now Voxeo Corporation) from March 2006 to December 2008. From December 2004 to June 2005, Ms. Infante served as Chief Executive Officer and a director of Sychron Inc., which was sold to an investor group. From October 1998 to October 2003, Ms. Infante held various positions with Aspect Communications, including the roles of Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. In addition to her current role as Chief Executive Officer of BusinessExcelleration LLC, Ms. Infante is also an Executive-in-Residence at U.S. Venture Partners, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm. She currently serves on the Advisory Committee to the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science and is an advisor and investor in several early-stage technology companies. Ms. Infante also was on the Board of Directors and the Compensation Committee of Netli Inc., a private company, from March 2005 to March 2007 and the Board of Directors of Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network, a not-for-profit organization, from January 2006 to June 2008. Ms. Infante holds a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University and holds a Master of Science in Engineering and Computer Science from California Institute of Technology.  Based primarily upon Ms. Infante’s extensive executive management and leadership experience as chairman and chief executive officer of various companies; strong financial, risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Ms. Infante, the Board has determined that Ms. Infante is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

Howard E. Janzen, 56, has been a director since January 2006 and the Chairman of the Board since December 2008. Mr. Janzen has been Chief Executive Officer of One Communications Corp., a supplier of integrated advanced telecommunications solutions to businesses, since March 2007 and has served on the Board of Directors of One Communications since June 2007. He served as President of Sprint Business Solutions, the business unit serving Sprint Corporation’s business customer base with almost 10,000 employees and $12 billion in annual revenue from January 2004 to September 2005. From May 2003 to January 2004, he was President of Sprint Corporation’s Global Markets Group, responsible for Sprint Corporation’s long distance service for both consumer and business customers. From October 2002 to May 2003, Mr. Janzen was President and Chief Executive Officer of Janzen Ventures, Inc., a private investment business venture. From 1994 until October 2002, Mr. Janzen served as President and Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman from 2001, of Williams Communications Group, Inc., a high technology company, which filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in April 2002 and emerged from bankruptcy in October 2002 as WilTel Communications Group, Inc. Mr. Janzen currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors, the Compensation Committee and the Corporate Governance Committee of Global Telecom & Technology, Inc.; a member of the Board of Directors and Compensation Committee of Macrosolve, Inc.; and a member of the Board of Directors of Clearwater Car Wash, LLC, a private company.  Mr. Janzen had previously served as a member of the Board of Directors and the Compensation Committee of Comsat International, a private company, and as a member of the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of Exanet Ltd., a private company. He also serves on the Governor’s Science and Technology Council for the State of Oklahoma and is a Commissioner and Chairman for the Global Information Infrastructure Commission. Additionally, Mr. Janzen serves as a member on the Boards of Directors of the following non-profit organizations — Hillcrest Healthcare System, Morningside Foundation and Heart of America Boy Scout Council.  Mr. Janzen received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Metallurgical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He also has completed the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development.  Based primarily upon Mr. Janzen’s extensive executive management and leadership experience as president and chief

 

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executive officer of various companies; strong strategic planning, risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; and contributions as a current Board and Board committee member, as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Mr. Janzen, the Board has determined that Mr. Janzen is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

H. Brian Thompson, 71, has been a director since October 2003. Mr. Thompson has been Executive Chairman of Global Telecom and Technology, Inc., a global telecommunications network integrator, since October 2006.  He continues to head his own private equity investment and advisory firm, Universal Telecommunications, Inc.  From December 2002 to June 2007, Mr. Thompson was Chairman of Comsat International, one of the largest independent telecommunications operators serving all of Latin America. He also served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Global TeleSystems Group, Inc. from March 1999 to September 2000.  Mr. Thompson was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LCI International, Inc. from 1991 until its merger with Qwest Communications International Inc. in June 1998.  Subsequent to such merger, Mr. Thompson became Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Qwest Communications International, Inc. until his resignation in December 1998. Mr. Thompson previously served as Executive Vice President of MCI Communications Corporation from 1981 to 1990.  Prior to MCI Communications Corporation, he was a management consultant with the Washington, D.C. offices of McKinsey & Company for nine years, where he specialized in the management of telecommunications.  He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Compensation Committee of Axcelis Technologies, Inc.; a member of the Board of Directors, the Compensation Committee and the Audit Committee of ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Ltd.; and a member of the Board of Directors, the Compensation Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of Penske Automotive Group, Inc. He formerly served as a member on the Boards of Directors of ArrayComm LLC, Bell Canada International Inc., Comcast UK Cable Partners Limited, DynCorp International Inc., Williams Communications Group, Inc. and Golden Books. Mr. Thompson is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Lab School of Washington & Baltimore Lab.  He was a former chairman of the U.S. Competitive Telecommunications Association and also served on the University of Massachusetts Chancellor’s Executive Committee, as a member of the Boards of Trustees of Capitol College in Laurel, Maryland, and the St. Stephens and St. Agnes School Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia. He received his Master of Business Administration from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business, and received an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts.  Based primarily upon Mr. Thompson’s extensive executive management and leadership experience as chief executive officer of various companies; strong financial, risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; and contributions as a current Board and Board committee member, as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Mr. Thompson, the Board has determined that Mr. Thompson is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

Directors Whose Terms Will Expire in 2011

 

James K. Brewington, 66, has been a director since May 2009. Mr. Brewington is a veteran of the global communications market with over 40 years of industry experience at AT&T Inc. and Lucent Technologies before his retirement in 2007. From mid-2004 until his retirement from Lucent Technologies, Mr. Brewington was President of the then newly-formed Developing Markets group, tasked with expanding the revenue base beyond domestic borders, reflecting his prior success in building out their global footprint. Prior to this, he was President of Lucent Technologies’ Mobility Solutions division, where he was responsible for all wireless infrastructure for the mobility segment, including global wireless development and product architecture, project management, and business and product management. Mr. Brewington joined Lucent Technologies in 1996. He began his career at AT&T Inc. in 1968, and over the ensuing years held various executive management positions in the telecommunications industry, including overseeing Bell Telephone Wireless Laboratories. Mr. Brewington serves on the Boards of Directors for Kopin Corporation and BDX, a privately-held startup company in China.  He also advises several technology startup companies. He has served on the boards of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council and INROADS/North Jersey, Inc., a non-profit organization that trains minority youth for careers in business and industry. He is a member of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, or CTIA, and the CTIA Wireless Foundation.  Mr. Brewington has a Master of Business Administration from Seattle University, a Master of Science from Stanford University (Sloan Fellow) and a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Idaho.  Based primarily upon Mr. Brewington’s extensive executive management and leadership experience in the telecommunications industry; strong risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; and contributions as a current Board and Board committee member, as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Mr. Brewington, Mr. Brewington is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

John P. Cunningham, 72, has been a director since September 2004. In June 2002, Mr. Cunningham retired from Citrix Systems, Inc., a global leader in virtual workplace software and services. From May 2001 to June 2002, Mr. Cunningham

 

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was Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations of Citrix Systems, Inc. He joined Citrix Systems, Inc. in November 1999 as Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration and served in that capacity until May 2001. From 1998 to June 1999, Mr. Cunningham served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Wang Global, a worldwide provider of network services. Prior to joining Wang Global, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Whirlpool Corporation from 1996 to 1998 and Chief Financial Officer of Maytag Corporation from 1994 to 1996, both diversified manufacturers. Mr. Cunningham has also held various management positions at International Business Machines. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Smart Disk Corporation as well as its Audit Committee. Mr. Cunningham has a Master of Business Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Science from Fordham University.  Based primarily upon Mr. Cunningham’s extensive executive management and leadership experience as chief financial officer of various companies; strong accounting, financial, risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; and contributions as a current Board and Board committee member, as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Mr. Cunningham, Mr. Cunningham is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

Richard N. Nottenburg, Ph. D., 56, has been our President, Chief Executive Officer and a director since June 2008, and is responsible for the strategic direction and management of our company. From 2004 until 2008, Dr. Nottenburg was an officer with Motorola, Inc., ultimately serving as its Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Technology Officer. While at Motorola, Inc., Dr. Nottenburg was responsible for shaping Motorola, Inc.’s overall corporate strategy. Prior to joining Motorola, Inc. as an officer in July 2004, Dr. Nottenburg was a strategic consultant to the company from January 2004 to July 2004. Prior to that, Dr. Nottenburg was Vice President and General Manager of Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation after its merger with Multilink Technology Corporation in 2003. From 1995 to 2003, Dr. Nottenburg served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Multilink Technology Corporation, leading the company from inception to a successful initial public offering in 2001. Dr. Nottenburg is currently a member of the Board of Directors and the Compensation and Corporate Governance Committee of Comverse Technology Corp. He holds a Doctor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York. Based primarily upon Dr. Nottenburg’s extensive executive management and leadership experience as our Chief Executive Officer; strong financial, risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; and contributions as a current Board and Board committee member, as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Dr. Nottenburg, Dr. Nottenburg is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

John A. Schofield, 61, has been a director since January 2009. From 1999 to 2005, Mr. Schofield served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Advanced Fibre Communications, Inc., a leading supplier of next-generation edge access equipment and multi-service broadband solutions for the telecommunications industry. From 1992 to 1999, Mr. Schofield served as Senior Vice President and then President of the Integrated Solutions Group of ADC Telecommunications, Inc., a world-wide supplier of network equipment, software solutions, and integration services for broadband and multiservice networks. Since April 2000, Mr. Schofield has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Integrated Device Technology, Inc. In 2008, Mr. Schofield was elected to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of Integrated Device Technology, Inc.  He also serves as Chairman of the Governance and Nominating Committee, as a member of the Compensation Committee and is a past member of the Audit Committee of Integrated Device Technology, Inc.  Mr. Schofield has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the NSW Institute of Technology in Sydney, Australia and is a graduate of Raytheon’s Advanced Management Program. Based primarily upon Mr. Schofield’s extensive executive management and leadership experience as president of various companies; strong risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; and contributions as a current Board and Board committee member, as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Mr. Schofield, Mr. Schofield is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

Scott E. Schubert, 56, has been a director since February 2009. From 2005 until June 2008, Mr. Schubert served as Chief Financial Officer of TransUnion LLC. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Schubert served as Chief Financial Officer and, prior to that, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development of NTL, Inc. (now Virgin Media, Inc.). From 1999 to 2003, Mr. Schubert held the position of Chief Financial Officer of Williams Communications Group, Inc., a high technology company, which filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in April 2002 and emerged from bankruptcy in October 2002 as WilTel Communications Group, Inc. Mr. Schubert also served as head of BP Amoco’s Global Financial Services, leading the initial integration of BP and Amoco’s worldwide financial operations following the merger of the two companies. Mr. Schubert is a graduate of the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University, where he completed his Master of Business Administration degree in Finance and Economics in 1976. He also earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Purdue University in 1975, with dual majors in Engineering and Accounting.  Based primarily upon Mr. Schubert’s extensive executive management and leadership experience as chief financial officer of various

 

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companies; strong accounting, financial, risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; and contributions as a current Board and Board committee member, as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Mr. Schubert, Mr. Schubert is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

Paul J. Severino, 63, has been a director since March 1999. Mr. Severino has been an investment advisor to emerging companies and venture funds since 1996.  He was a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Interlan, Inc. and Wellfleet Communications Inc. as well as a co-founder and Chairman of Bay Networks, Inc. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Compensation Committee of Analog Devices, Inc. and was a member of the Board of Directors of Media100, Inc. Mr. Severino has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Severino also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA.  Based primarily upon Mr. Severino’s extensive executive management and leadership experience in the telecommunications industry; strong risk analysis, corporate governance and administrative skills and experience; and contributions as a current Board and Board committee member, as well as those demonstrated attributes discussed above and the leadership skills and other experience of Mr. Severino, Mr. Severino is well qualified to continue serving as a director of Sonus at the time that this report is filed with the SEC.

 

Our directors are a diverse group of leaders in their respective fields.  Many of the current directors have leadership experience at major domestic and international companies with operations inside and outside of the United States, as well as experience on other companies’ boards, which provides an understanding of different business processes, challenges and strategies.  Other directors have experience as members on the board of directors of non-profit and philanthropic institutions, which brings unique perspectives to our Board and provides insight into issues faced by companies.

 

The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Board believe that the above-mentioned attributes, along with the leadership skills and other experience of its Board members described above, provide the Company with the perspectives and judgment necessary to guide the Company’s strategies and governance principles and monitor their execution.

 

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND BOARD MATTERS

 

Corporate Governance Guidelines

 

Sonus’ Board has adhered to governance principles designed to assure the continued vitality of the Board and excellence in the execution of its duties.  In order to reflect these principles, our Board has established Corporate Governance Guidelines to assist in the fulfillment of its responsibilities. The governance practices, which are memorialized in the Corporate Governance Guidelines, are intended to ensure that our Board has the necessary authority and processes to review and evaluate our business operations as needed and to make independent decisions consistent with the interests of our stockholders.

 

Our Board is responsible for overseeing our management and financial results and is committed to diligently exercising its oversight responsibilities consistent with the highest principles of business ethics, and to meeting the corporate governance requirements of both federal law and the NASDAQ Stock Market Marketplace Rules.

 

The Corporate Governance Guidelines, among other things, include information regarding the:

 

·                  various goals of the Board, as well as a description of the roles and responsibilities of its members;

 

·                  composition of the Board, including the independence of directors and an overview of the candidate selection process;

 

·                  process of meetings of the Board and the various committees of the Board; and

 

·                  policies of the Company relating to director orientation and the proper access by directors to various members of management and Company advisors.

 

The Corporate Governance Guidelines reflect the Company’s principles on corporate governance matters.  These guidelines are available on our website www.sonusnet.com, in the section entitled About Us — Investor Relations — Governing Our Company, or in paper form upon request to the Company’s corporate secretary.

 

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Code of Conduct and Ethics

 

Our Board has adopted a written Corporate Code of Conduct and Ethics, which qualifies as a “code of ethics” as defined by Item 406 of Regulation S-K of the Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The Code of Conduct and Ethics was established to preserve Sonus’ reputation and to reaffirm its existing policy for integrity to its employees, officers and directors and to persons who deal with the Company. To ensure that our business is conducted in a consistently legal and ethical manner, all of our directors, officers and employees must act in accordance with our Code of Conduct and Ethics.

 

Among other matters, the Code of Conduct and Ethics is designed to deter wrongdoing and to promote:

 

·                  honest and ethical conduct, including the ethical handling of actual and apparent conflicts of interest;

 

·                  proper use of Company resources;

 

·                  full, fair, accurate and timely disclosure in public communications and SEC reports;

 

·                  prompt internal reporting of violations of internal policies; and

 

·                  accountability for adherence to the Code of Conduct and Ethics.

 

Our policies and procedures cover all areas of professional conduct, including relations with vendors, conflicts of interest, financial integrity and the protection of corporate assets, as well as adherence to all laws and regulations applicable to the conduct of our business. Employees and directors are required to report any conduct that they believe in good faith to be an actual or apparent violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethics. In addition, our Audit Committee has established procedures to receive, retain and treat complaints received regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters and to allow for the confidential and anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.

 

Our Code of Conduct and Ethics is available on our website www.sonusnet.com, in the section entitled About Us — Investor Relations — Governing Our Company, or in paper form upon request to the Company’s corporate secretary.

 

Oversight of Risk Management

 

At Sonus, we believe that innovation and leadership are impossible without taking risks.  We also recognize that imprudent acceptance of risk or the failure to appropriately identify and mitigate risks could be destructive of stockholder value. Senior management is responsible for overseeing management in the execution of its responsibilities and for assessing the Company’s approach to risk management.  The Board exercises these responsibilities periodically as part of its meetings and also through its committees, each of which examines various components of enterprise risk as part of their responsibilities.  Generally, strategic risks are overseen by the full Board, financial risks are overseen by the Audit Committee, and risks relating to our compensation policies are overseen by the Compensation Committee to ensure that our compensation programs do not encourage excessive risk taking. Management regularly reports on each such risk to the relevant committee or the Board.  Additional review or reporting on risks is conducted as needed or as required by the Board or one of its committees.

 

In addition, an overall review or risk is inherent in the Board’s consideration of our long-term strategies and in the transactions and other matters presented to the Board, including capital expenditures, acquisitions and divestitures, and financial matters. The Board’s role in risk oversight of the Company is consistent with our leadership structure, with the Chief Executive Officer and other members of senior management having responsibility for assessing and managing our risk exposure, and the Board and its committees providing oversight in connection with those efforts.

 

Director Independence

 

Under the NASDAQ Stock Market Marketplace Rules, a director will only qualify as an “independent director” if, in the opinion of our Board, that person does not have a relationship that would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment in carrying out the responsibilities of a director. SEC rules also impose, through the NASDAQ Stock Market Marketplace Rules, special independence requirements for members of the Audit Committee. Our Board has determined that each of James K. Brewington, John P. Cunningham, Howard E. Janzen, Paul J. Severino, John A. Schofield, Scott E. Schubert, H. Brian Thompson and Beatriz V. Infante does not have a relationship that would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment in carrying out the responsibilities of a director and that each of these directors is an “independent director” as defined

 

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under Rule 4200(a)(15) of the NASDAQ Stock Market Marketplace Rules. The special independence requirements of the SEC for Audit Committee members are discussed below under “Board Committees — Audit Committee.”

 

In determining the independence of the directors listed above, our Board considered each of the policies and procedures specified in our related person transaction policy. There are no family relationships among our executive officers and directors.

 

Board Meetings

 

Our Board recognizes the importance of director attendance at Board and committee meetings.  In 2009, overall attendance at Board and committee meetings was over 98%. Our Board held 13 meetings during 2009. Attendance was at least 75% for each director.  We do not have a policy regarding the attendance of directors at our annual meetings of stockholders. Each director who served on our Board during 2009 attended the 2009 annual meeting of stockholders.

 

Board Committees

 

Our Board has three standing committees: the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and one ad-hoc committee: the Corporate Development and Investment Committee. With the exception of the Corporate Development and Investment Committee, each of these Committees is composed entirely of independent directors as defined under applicable rules.

 

Audit Committee

 

Our Board has established an Audit Committee consisting of four members: Messrs. Cunningham (Chairman), Janzen, Schofield and Schubert. Each of the members of the Audit Committee is an “independent director” as defined under the rules of the NASDAQ Stock Market and the additional independence requirements for members of audit committees imposed by Rule 10A-3 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Our Board has determined that Mr. Cunningham is an “audit committee financial expert” as defined in Item 407(d)(5) of Regulation S-K. The Audit Committee held 11 meetings during 2009.

 

The Audit Committee operates pursuant to a written charter adopted by the Board that reflects standards and requirements adopted by the SEC and the NASDAQ Stock Market.

 

Among other things, the purposes of the Audit Committee include:

 

·                  overseeing our accounting and financial reporting processes and the audits of our financial statements; and

 

·                  maintaining the integrity of our financial statements, the independence, qualifications and performance of our independent registered public accounting firm, and our compliance with legal requirements.

 

The duties of the Audit Committee include, among other things:

 

·                  selecting, compensating, retaining, terminating and overseeing the independent registered public accounting firm;

 

·                  considering the qualifications, independence and performance of, and approving the scope of the proposed audit to be conducted by, our independent registered public accounting firm and reviewing the results of the audit;

 

·                  reviewing our financial reporting processes, including the accounting principles and practices followed and the financial information provided to stockholders and others;

 

·                  establishing and administering our procedures for the (i) receipt, retention and treatment of complaints regarding accounting, internal accounting controls and auditing matters, and (ii) the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting and auditing matters;

 

·                  overseeing our internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures; and

 

·                  serving as our Qualified Legal Compliance Committee.

 

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The duties of the Audit Committee do not include determining whether our financial statements are complete and accurate or whether they are in prepared accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Management of the Company is responsible for preparing our financial statements and our independent auditors are responsible for auditing those financial statements.

 

AUDIT COMMITTEE REPORT

 

The information contained in this report shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material” or “filed” or incorporated by reference in future filings with the SEC, or subject to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, except to the extent that we specifically request that it be treated as soliciting material or specifically incorporate it by reference into a document filed under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

 

We reviewed Sonus’ audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009 and discussed these financial statements with Sonus’ management, including a discussion of the quality, not just the acceptability, of the accounting principles, the reasonableness of significant judgments and the clarity of disclosures in the financial statements. Sonus’ management is responsible for Sonus’ financial reporting process, including its system of internal controls, and for the preparation of consolidated financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Sonus’ independent registered public accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche LLP, or Deloitte, is responsible for performing an independent audit of Sonus’ financial statements in accordance with standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and issuing a report on those financial statements and issuing a report on the effectiveness of Sonus’ internal control over financial reporting as of the end of the fiscal year. Our responsibility is to monitor and review these processes. We also reviewed and discussed with Deloitte the audited financial statements and the matters required by SEC Regulation S-X Rule 2-07 and Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61, Communication with Audit Committees, as amended (AICPA Professional Standards, Vol. 1. AU section 380), as adopted by the PCAOB.

 

Deloitte also provided us with the written disclosures and the letter required by PCAOB Ethics and Independence Rule 3526, Communications with Audit Committees Concerning Independence. This Standard requires independent registered public accounting firms annually to disclose in writing all relationships that in the independent registered public accounting firm’s professional opinion may reasonably be thought to bear on independence, to confirm their independence and to engage in a discussion of independence. We also considered whether Deloitte’s provision of other, non-audit related services to Sonus is compatible with maintaining Deloitte’s independence.

 

Based on its discussions with management and Deloitte, and our review of information provided by management and Deloitte, we recommended to the Sonus Board of Directors that the audited financial statements and management’s report on internal control over financial reporting be included in this Amendment.

 

Submitted by,

AUDIT COMMITTEE:

John P. Cunningham (Chairman)

Howard E. Janzen

John A. Schofield

Scott E. Schubert

 

Compensation Committee

 

The Compensation Committee consists of four members: Messrs.  Severino (Chairman), Schofield, and Thompson and Ms. Infante. Each of the members of the Compensation Committee is an “independent director” as defined under the rules of the NASDAQ Stock Market. The Compensation Committee held 10 meetings during 2009.

 

The Compensation Committee operates pursuant to a written charter adopted by the Board that reflects standards and requirements adopted by the NASDAQ Stock Market.

 

Among other things, the purposes of the Compensation Committee include:

 

·                                          discharging the Board’s responsibilities relating to the compensation of the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and other executive officers;

 

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·              administering the Company’s equity-based compensation plans; and

 

·                                          reviewing the disclosures in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis and producing an annual compensation committee report for inclusion in the Company’s proxy statement.

 

The responsibilities of the Compensation Committee include, among other things:

 

·                  reviewing and approving the compensation, as well as evaluating the performance, of our executive officers, including our Chief Executive Officer;

 

·                  periodically reviewing, with input from the full Board, issues related to succession planning for the Chief Executive Officer and other members of management;

 

·                  reviewing the Company’s various public disclosures regarding compensation and preparing an annual executive compensation report for the stockholders of the Company in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SEC; and

 

·                  advising and assisting management in developing our overall compensation strategy to assure that it promotes stockholder interests, supports our strategic and tactical goals, and provides for appropriate rewards and incentives for our management and employees.

 

In exercising its responsibilities, the Compensation Committee establishes and monitors policies governing the compensation of executive officers and determines the terms, conditions, restrictions and performance criteria relating to incentive compensation.  As discussed below in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis, the Compensation Committee has retained compensation consulting firm Frederic W. Cook & Company to provide advice and data to this Committee.  In 2009, Frederic W. Cook & Company also provided consulting services for the Compensation Committee relating to compensation paid to non-employee directors of our Board as well as consulting services for the Company relating to the Exchange Program.

 

Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee

 

The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee consists of three members: Messrs. Thompson (Chairman), Brewington and Janzen. Each of the members of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee is an “independent director” as defined under the current rules of the NASDAQ Stock Market. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee held 2 meetings during 2009.

 

The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee operates under a written charter adopted by the Board that reflects standards and requirements adopted by the NASDAQ Stock Market.

 

Among other things, the purposes of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee include:

 

·                  assisting the Board in identifying individuals qualified to serve as members of the Board;

 

·                  developing and recommending to the Board a set of corporate governance principles for the Company; and

 

·                  overseeing the evaluation of the Board and management of the Company.

 

The duties of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee include, among other things:

 

·                  developing criteria for the selection of new directors and identifying candidates qualified to become members of the Board;

 

·                  recommending to the Board the director nominees (a) for election by the stockholders at each meeting of stockholders at which directors will be elected and (b) to fill any vacancies and newly created directorships on the Board; and

 

·                  developing and recommending to the Board a set of corporate governance guidelines applicable to the Company and reviewing and reassessing the adequacy of such guidelines.

 

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The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee encourages the selection of directors who will contribute to our overall corporate goals of responsibility to our stockholders, customers and employees. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee reviews from time to time the appropriate skills and characteristics required of individual directors to contribute to our success in today’s business environment. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee has the authority to engage independent advisors to assist in the process of identifying and evaluating director candidates, but has not engaged any such advisors to date. As discussed below under “Director Nomination Process,” the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee applies the same selection criteria to stockholder-nominated director candidates as to those nominated by the Company.

 

Corporate Development and Investment Committee

 

The Corporate Development and Investment Committee is an ad-hoc committee of the Board and consists of five members: Messrs. Brewington, Cunningham, Nottenburg and Schubert and Ms. Infante.  Each of Messrs. Brewington, Cunningham and Schubert and Ms. Infante is an “independent director” as defined under the rules of the NASDAQ Stock Market.  The Corporate Development and Investment Committee held 10 meetings during 2009.

 

The Corporate Development and Investment Committee operates pursuant to a written charter adopted by the Board.

 

Among other things, the purposes of the Corporate Development and Investment Committee include providing advice to the Board with respect to:

 

·      the Company’s minority investments;

·      the issuance of debt securities of the Company;

·      stock repurchase programs that may be adopted by the Board;

·      potential acquisitions, merger transactions, joint ventures and other investment transactions;

·      uses of the Company’s cash and short-term investments; and

·      tax planning.

 

The Corporate Development and Investment Committee also performs any other activities or responsibilities from time to time assigned to it by action of the Board, which is consistent with the Corporate Development and Investment Committee Charter as the Board deems necessary or appropriate.  The Corporate Development and Investment Committee, however, does not have any authority to act on behalf of or bind the Company, unless the Board delegates such authority to the Corporate Development and Investment Committee.

 

Director Nomination Process

 

The process followed by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee to identify and evaluate director candidates includes requests to our Board members and others for recommendations, meetings from time to time to evaluate biographical information and background material relating to potential candidates and interviews of selected candidates by members of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and our Board.

 

In considering whether to recommend any particular candidate for inclusion in our Board’s slate of recommended director nominees, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee applies the criteria generally set forth in the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Charter. There are no specific minimum qualifications for a recommended nominee to our Board; however, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee considers, among other skills and criteria, the following criteria for nomination as a director: demonstrated business knowledge and experience and an ability to exercise sound judgment in matters that relate to our current and long-term objectives; commitment to understanding us and our industry and to regularly attend and participate in meetings of our Board and its committees; a reputation for integrity, honesty and adherence to high ethical standards; the ability and experience to understand the sometimes conflicting interests of our various constituencies and to act in the interests of all stockholders; and the absence of any conflict of interest that would impair the nominee’s ability to represent the interest of all our stockholders and to fulfill the responsibilities of being a director. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee does not assign specific weights to particular criteria and no particular criterion is a prerequisite for each prospective nominee. Our Board believes that the backgrounds and qualifications of its directors, considered as a group, should provide a composite mix of experience, knowledge and abilities that will allow our Board to fulfill its responsibilities.  In identifying potential director candidates, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Board also focus on ensuring that the Board reflects a diversity of experiences, backgrounds, skills, races, genders and national origins.

 

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Stockholders may recommend individuals to the Nominating and Governance Committee for consideration as potential director candidates by submitting the candidate’s name, together with appropriate biographical information and background materials and a statement as to whether the stockholder or group of stockholders making the recommendation has beneficially owned more than 5% of our common stock for at least a year as of the date such recommendation is made, to the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, c/o Corporate Secretary, Sonus Networks, Inc., 7 Technology Park Drive, Westford, MA 01886, with a copy to Sonus Networks, Inc., Attn: Chief Financial Officer, 7 Technology Park Drive, Westford, MA 01886. Assuming that appropriate biographical and background materials have been provided on a timely basis, the Nominating and Governance Committee will evaluate stockholder-recommended director candidates by following substantially the same process, and applying substantially the same criteria discussed above, as it follows for candidates submitted by others.

 

Board Leadership Structure

 

The Company’s Amended and Restated By-laws delegate to the Board the right to exercise its discretion to either separate or combine the offices of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.  In 2008, our Board undertook a comprehensive review of our current corporate governance practices, the corporate governance environment and current trends, and, as a result, instituted a number of important changes, including separating the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The Board has determined that the Board leadership structure that is most appropriate at this time, given the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Company, the skills and experience of Howard E. Janzen and Richard N. Nottenburg and succession planning, is leadership based upon the experienced management afforded by a non-executive Chairman and a full-time Chief Executive Officer, both positions being subject to oversight and review by the Company’s independent directors. The Board recognizes that depending on the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Company, other leadership structures might also be appropriate.  A combined Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Board leadership structure has previously served the Company and its stockholders well and may serve them well in the future.  The Company is committed to reviewing this determination on an annual basis.

 

The Board’s leadership is designed so that independent directors exercise oversight of the Company’s management and key issues related to strategy and risk.  Only independent directors serve on the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and standing Board committees are chaired by independent directors.

 

Non-Executive Chairman

 

In December 2008, in furtherance of our desire to strengthen our corporate governance policies, our Board separated the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. At that time, our Board appointed Howard E. Janzen as non-executive Chairman of the Board. The duties of the non-executive Chairman of the Board, among others, are to:

 

·                  preside at Board meetings;

 

·                  preside at executive sessions or other meetings of the independent directors;

 

·                  coordinate with committee chairs in the development and recommendations relative to Board and committee meeting content and schedules; and

 

·                  provide the Chief Executive Officer’s annual performance evaluation communicating the feedback from the Compensation Committee and the Board.

 

Lead Independent Director

 

Our independent directors appointed Paul Severino as lead independent director for fiscal 2009 to strengthen the independence and the role of the independent directors. The duties of the lead independent director were to:

 

·                  preside at Board meetings in the absence of the Chairman of the Board, or upon designation by a majority of directors;

 

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·                  preside at executive sessions or other meetings of the independent directors in the absence of the Chairman of the Board; and

 

·                  consult with the Chairman of the Board as to agenda items for board and committee meetings.

 

Generally, our independent directors appointed the lead independent director annually to serve for a period of one year.  It was appropriate for the Company to have a lead independent director for fiscal 2009 since the Company had separated the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in December 2008 and the lead independent director helped to transition the non-executive Chairman in his new role. For fiscal 2010, however, the Board eliminated the role of lead independent director because the non-executive Chairman had served in this capacity for over one year. The Board recognizes that depending on the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Company, other leadership structures might also be appropriate.  A lead independent director position has previously served the Company and its stockholders well and may serve them well in the future.  The Company is committed to reviewing this determination on an annual basis.

 

Executive Sessions of the Board

 

Under our Corporate Governance Guidelines, our independent directors are required to meet regularly in executive session without management to review the performance of management and our company and any related matters. Generally, executive sessions will be held in conjunction with regularly scheduled meetings of the Board.

 

We expect the Board to have a least four executive sessions each year.

 

Additional Governance Matters

 

Public Availability of Corporate Governance Documents

 

Our key corporate governance documents, including our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Corporate Code of Conduct and Ethics and the charters of our Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Corporate Development and Investment Committee are:

 

·                  available on our corporate website at http://www.sonusnet.com (by including the foregoing Internet address link, we do not intend to incorporate by reference to this report material not specifically referenced herein);

 

·                  available in print to any stockholder who requests them from our corporate secretary; and

 

·                  filed as exhibits to our securities filings with the SEC.

 

Stockholder Communications with the Board of Directors

 

Stockholders may communicate with our Board by writing, e-mailing or calling our Investor Relations Department at Sonus Networks, Inc., 7 Technology Park Drive, Westford, MA 01886, Attention: Investor Relations, (978) 614-8142, ir@sonusnet.com. Our Investor Relations Department will review all such communications and will forward to the chairman of the Audit Committee of our Board all communications that raise an issue appropriate for consideration by our Board. In general, communications relating to corporate governance and long-term corporate strategy are more likely to be forwarded than communications relating to ordinary business affairs, personal grievances and matters as to which we tend to receive repetitive or duplicative communications.

 

Director Compensation

 

Members of our Board who are employees or officers of Sonus receive no compensation for their service as directors. For 2009, non-employee directors of our Board received cash compensation as follows:

 

Description of Board and Committee Service

 

Board Member
Annual Fee

 

Board Membership

 

$

20,000

 

Audit Committee Membership

 

$

7,500

 

Other Committee Membership (1)

 

$

3,750

 

Audit Committee Chair (2)

 

$

10,000

 

 

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(1)

“Other Committee” includes the Compensation Committee, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Corporate Development and Investment Committee.

(2)

Compensation for service as Chair is in addition to compensation for Board/committee membership.

 

Directors also are eligible to be reimbursed for reasonable out-of pocket expenses incurred in connection with attendance at our Board or committee meetings.

 

For 2009, non-employee directors of the Board were entitled to equity compensation as follows:

 

Type of Grant

 

Number of Shares of Common
Stock Underlying Options

 

Initial Grant (1)

 

50,000

 

Annual Grant (1), (2)

 

20,000

 

 


(1)

Option grants are subject to four-year vesting under the 2007 Plan.

(2)

The Compensation Committee elected to forgo annual grants of common stock to non-employee directors for fiscal year 2009.

 

The following table contains information on compensation earned by each non-employee member of our Board during 2009:

 

2009 Director Compensation

 

Name

 

Fees Earned or
Paid in Cash
($)

 

Option Awards
(2)(3)
($)

 

Total
($)

 

James K. Brewington(1)

 

$

16,928

 

$

51,300

 

$

68,228

 

John P. Cunningham

 

$

39,375

 

 

$

39,375

 

Howard E. Janzen

 

$

31,250

 

 

$

31,250

 

John A. Schofield(1)

 

$

29,375

 

$

32,505

 

$

61,880

 

Scott E. Schubert(1)

 

$

29,375

 

$

47,850

 

$

77,225

 

Paul J. Severino

 

$

23,750

 

 

$

23,750

 

H. Brian Thompson

 

$

27,500

 

 

$

27,500

 

 


(1)

Messrs. Brewington, Schofield and Schubert were each appointed to our Board in 2009.

 

 

(2)

The amounts in this column do not reflect compensation actually received by the director. Instead, the amounts reflect the grant date fair value of 2009 awards, as calculated in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718 — Compensation — Stock Compensation, or ASC 718. The grant date fair values of options to purchase common stock granted to our non-employee directors in 2009 were estimated using the Black-Scholes valuation model with the following assumptions:

 

Risk-free interest rate

 

1.76% - 2.47%

 

Expected dividend yield

 

 

Weighted average volatility

 

64.3%

 

Expected life (years)

 

4.5

 

 

For further discussion regarding the assumptions used in calculating the amounts in this column, please see Note 14 to our audited consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009.

 

(3)                                  The following table shows the aggregate number of outstanding stock options held by each of our non-employee directors as of December 31, 2009 and the grant date fair value for each award as calculated in accordance with ASC 718:

 

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Non-employee Director

 

Grant Date

 

Number of
Shares
Underlying
Outstanding
Options

 

Exercise or
Base Price of
Option
Awards
($/Sh)

 

Grant Date
Fair Value of
Option Awards

 

James K. Brewington

 

05/15/09

 

50,000

 

$

1.92

 

$

51,300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John P. Cunningham

 

09/09/04

 

50,000

 

$

5.37

 

$

230,000

 

 

 

10/12/05

 

20,000

 

$

4.95

 

75,698

 

 

 

12/17/07

 

40,000

 

$

6.10

 

118,336

 

 

 

 

 

110,000

 

 

 

$

424,034

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howard E. Janzen

 

01/20/06

 

50,000

 

$

4.77

 

$

159,000

 

 

 

12/17/07

 

40,000

 

$

6.10

 

118,336

 

 

 

 

 

90,000

 

 

 

$

277,336

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John A. Schofield

 

02/17/09

 

50,000

 

$

1.25

 

$

32,505

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott E. Schubert

 

03/16/09

 

50,000

 

$

1.84

 

$

47,850

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul J. Severino

 

05/11/01

 

10,000

 

$

29.00

 

$

265,700

 

 

 

05/02/02

 

10,000

 

$

2.51

 

21,940

 

 

 

05/07/03

 

10,000

 

$

3.31

 

29,200

 

 

 

12/29/04

 

10,000

 

$

5.52

 

46,800

 

 

 

10/12/05

 

20,000

 

$

4.95

 

75,698

 

 

 

12/17/07

 

40,000

 

$

6.10

 

118,336

 

 

 

 

 

100,000

 

 

 

$

557,674

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H. Brian Thompson

 

10/24/03

 

14,583

 

$

7.65

*

$

98,556

 

 

 

10/24/03

 

35,417

 

$

8.38

*

239,419

 

 

 

12/29/04

 

10,000

 

$

5.52

 

46,800

 

 

 

10/12/05

 

20,000

 

$

4.95

 

75,698

 

 

 

12/17/07

 

45,000

 

$

6.10

 

133,128

 

 

 

 

 

125,000

 

 

 

$

593,601

 

 


*  Exercise prices for these awards, although granted on the same day, differ due to the restatement of the Company’s historical financial statements, which was completed in fiscal year 2007, and which resulted in the repricing of certain previously awarded stock option grants.

 

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE REGISTRANT

 

The executive officers of the Company as of the date hereof are listed below.

 

Name

 

Age

 

Position

Richard N. Nottenburg

 

56

 

President and Chief Executive Officer

Gurudutt Pai

 

44

 

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Jeffrey M. Snider

 

46

 

Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Wayne Pastore(1)

 

45

 

Vice President, Finance, Interim Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Treasurer and Corporate Controller

Mohammed Shanableh

 

40

 

Vice President, Worldwide Sales

Kathy Harris

 

51

 

Vice President, Human Resources

Gale England

 

60

 

Vice President, Product Operations

Matt Dillon

 

49

 

Vice President, Global Services

Kumar Vishwanathan

 

40

 

Vice President, Engineering and Chief Architect

 


(1) Mr. Pastore succeeded Richard Gaynor, who resigned in February 2010 and was our Chief Financial Officer for the full fiscal year 2009.

 

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Biographical information regarding each executive officer other than Richard N. Nottenburg is set forth below. Dr. Nottenburg’s biographical information is set forth above under Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance – Board of Directors.

 

Gurudutt Pai has served as or our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since February 2010. Mr. Pai joined Sonus in December 2008 as Senior Vice President and General Manager.  Mr. Pai has over 20 years experience in the telecommunications industry. Mr. Pai joined Sonus from Veveo, Inc., where he was Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. Prior to joining Veveo, Inc., Mr. Pai was Vice President of the Core Networks division of Motorola, Inc. Mr. Pai joined Motorola, Inc. in April 2003 through its acquisition of Winphoria Networks, Inc., where he was Vice President of Business Development, Product Management and Marketing. Prior to joining Winphoria Networks, Inc., he was a Sales Vice President at Lucent Technologies for emerging markets. Prior to Lucent Technologies, he held various positions in systems engineering and technical planning for the optical, switching, and wireless divisions of AT&T and AT&T Bell Laboratories. Mr. Pai holds a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Science in electrical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Kamatak University in India.

 

Jeffrey M. Snider has served as our Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary since June 2009. Prior to joining Sonus, Mr. Snider served in a dual legal and operating role as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Bankruptcy Management Solutions, Inc., a provider of hardware, software and services to the bankruptcy industry. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Snider was the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Geac Computer Corporation, Ltd., a global software and services provider. Prior to Geac Computer Corporation, Ltd., Mr. Snider was Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Lycos, Inc., an industry-leading Internet conglomerate. Prior to his in-house career, Mr. Snider was a member of the Boston law firm of Hutchins & Wheeler. Mr. Snider served as a Director on the Board of the New England Legal Foundation from 2001 to 2009, and was a Trustee of the Boston Bar Foundation from 2003 to 2007. Mr. Snider is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law.

 

Wayne Pastore has served as our Interim Chief Financial Officer since February 2010, our Treasurer since April 2010 and has been our Vice President, Finance, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer since May 2008. He had previously been our Director, Business Process Improvement from February 2008 to May 2008. Prior to joining the Company, from September 2006 to February 2008, Mr. Pastore was Director of Financial Planning and Analysis of Sycamore Networks, Inc., an optical switching company. From December 2003 to September 2006, he was Corporate Controller of Spotfire, Inc., a business analytics software company.  Mr. Pastore was also the Corporate Controller at eXcelon, Inc., a database software company, from 2000 to 2003. Mr. Pastore spent thirteen years in public accounting prior to his work in-house.  He has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Massachusetts/Lowell and a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School.

 

Mohammed Shanableh joined Sonus in September 2004. He has been our Vice President, Worldwide Sales since August 2007. From October 2006 to July 2007, he was Vice President, Sales Engineering, and was Vice President, Network Technology Solutions, from September 2004 to October 2006. Mr. Shanableh was Director, Carrier Strategy at Telica, a developer of intelligent multi-service broadband switching systems for next generation service providers, from January 2002 to September 2004. He co-founded Valiant Networks, where he was served as Vice President, Professional Services, from December 1999 to December 2001.

 

Kathy Harris has been our Vice President, Human Resources since July 2007 and has more than 20 years of experience in human resources. Prior to joining Sonus, Ms. Harris held the position of Vice President, Human Resources at Lightbridge, from 2000 to 2007. Prior to Lightbridge, Ms. Harris was Vice President, Human Resources at Trend-Lines, Inc. Ms. Harris holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in Government from Suffolk University, Boston. Ms. Harris is a member of the Human Resources Leadership Forum, Society for Human Resources Management and the Northeast Human Resources Association.

 

Gale England has been our Vice President, Product Operations since May 2005. Prior to joining Sonus, Mr. England was the Chief Executive Officer and President of Numetrix Inc., a San Francisco-based software applications company. From 2000 to 2001, he was General Manager and Vice President of Engineering Development at VillaMontage Systems, a broadband access solution funded by Convergence Partners. Prior to 2000, Mr. England had also held senior management positions at Digital Equipment Corp., Wellfleet Communications, Inc., Bay Networks and Nortel Networks, Inc.

 

Matt Dillon has been our Vice President, Global Services since 2001. Prior to joining Sonus, from 1987 to 2000, he was a founding member of Boston Technology (later purchased by Comverse Technology Corp.), which created the de-facto standard in scalable central office-based voicemail platforms for Bell Atlantic. From 1984 to 1987, Mr. Dillon was Vice President of Operations for Technology Enterprises.

 

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Kumar Vishwanathan has been our Vice President, Engineering and Chief Architect since August 2009. Mr. Vishwanathan holds 15 patents and has more than ten applications pending in telephony, multimedia and collaboration. Prior to joining Sonus, Mr. Vishwanathan served as the co-founder and Vice President of Solutions for envIO Networks, a mobile content and social marketing platform provider. Mr. Vishwanathan was part of the founding team at Winphoria Networks, Inc., helping the company to pioneer technology in the wireless softswitch and push-to-talk over cellular markets. After Motorola, Inc.’s acquisition of Winphoria Networks, Inc. in May 2003, Mr. Vishwanathan served as the Senior Director of Engineering where he was responsible for overseeing the development of the company’s Core Networks product line. Prior to joining Winphoria Networks, Inc. in 2000, Mr. Vishwanathan worked at Lucent Bell laboratories defining the early softswitch architectures and the development of the Lucent SoftSwitch.

 

SECTION 16(a) BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING COMPLIANCE

 

Section 16(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, requires our executive officers, directors and persons who beneficially own more than 10% of our common stock to file reports of initial ownership and subsequent changes in that ownership with the SEC. Based solely on a review of the copies of reports furnished to us and the written representations of our directors and executive officers, we believe that during the year ended December 31, 2009, our directors, executive officers and greater than 10% stockholders complied with all Section 16(a) filing requirements, except that Matt Dillon had one report covering one transaction filed late with respect to 2009, one report covering two transactions filed late with respect to 2008 and one report amending one transaction with respect to 2007.

 

Item 11.  Executive Compensation

 

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

 

Compensation Discussion and Analysis

 

Overview of the Compensation Program

 

The Compensation Committee of the Board oversees our executive compensation program, approves all compensation policies applicable to our executive officers in accordance with our compensation philosophy and makes decisions regarding all forms of compensation to executive officers.

 

Philosophy and Objectives

 

The Compensation Committee believes that the most effective compensation programs are designed to attract, retain, motivate and reward executive talent as well as to align the interests of our executive officers with those of our stockholders.

 

Compensation awarded or paid to our executive officers is based upon their scope of responsibilities, experience and demonstrated performance.  The Compensation Committee relies upon its experience and judgment and not upon rigid guidelines or formulas in determining the amount and mix of compensation elements for each executive officer.  The Compensation Committee believes that the executive compensation program should include competitive cash and stock-based compensation components that reward performance as measured against established goals.  The Compensation Committee annually reviews market data and information, which is provided from time to time by a compensation consultant, to determine the appropriate level and combination of incentive and non-incentive, cash and equity-based compensation, based upon competitive data.  The Compensation Committee believes that as a growth-oriented company, Sonus should continue to provide significant equity incentives as a component of compensation.

 

The Compensation Committee evaluates executive compensation to ensure that we have an effective executive compensation program. The Compensation Committee believes that such a program should be tied to annual and long-term strategic goals for the business and should align executives’ interests with those of the stockholders by rewarding performance

 

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that achieves those goals with the objective of ultimately increasing shareholder value. As the Compensation Committee believes that our executives should have incentives to bring us to a higher level of performance as compared to our peer group, total direct compensation is intended to represent a strong competitive position (60th percentile opportunity if goals are achieved) as compared to our peer group.  For further information on our peer group, please see below.

 

Our executive compensation program is designed to: (i) offer compensation opportunities that attract highly talented executives; (ii) motivate individuals to perform at their highest levels; (iii) reward outstanding initiative and achievement; (iv) reinforce critical measures of performance derived from our business strategy and key success factors; and (v) retain those individuals with the leadership abilities and skills necessary to build long-term shareholder value by supporting executive ownership and shareholder alignment.

 

The Compensation Committee reviews our executive compensation program to ensure that it does not encourage excessive risk taking.  More specifically, this review includes the executive cash-based incentive program that covers all executives, except for our Vice President of Worldwide Sales. Based on the Compensation Committee’s review of our executive compensation program, it concluded that such program does not encourage excessive or inappropriate risk taking by our executive officers for the following reasons, among others: our executive compensation program pays for performance against financial targets that are set to be challenging to motivate a high degree of business performance, with an emphasis on longer-term financial success and prudent risk management; and qualitative factors beyond the quantitative financial metrics are a significant consideration in the determination of individual executive compensation payments — how our executive officers achieve the financial results and demonstrate leadership consistent with the Sonus values are critical to individual compensation decisions.  The Compensation Committee is confident that our executive compensation program is aligned with the interests of our stockholders and rewards for performance.

 

In order to achieve the objectives of our program, the Compensation Committee believes that the executive compensation program must include competitive cash and stock incentive-based compensation components that reward performance and that are heavily weighted towards incentive-based compensation rather than fixed base salaries as a percentage of total compensation. Consistent with this philosophy, the executive compensation program historically was structured with executive base salaries that were below the median of our peer group, but with annual cash incentives designed to make us competitive with our peer group (total cash compensation at the 50th percentile opportunity if annual goals were achieved), and long-term equity incentives that were highly competitive with our peer group (75th percentile opportunity if goals were achieved). More recently, however, the performance of the stock markets in general, and the Company’s stock in particular, have diminished the value of the Company’s equity incentives, and as a result, the Compensation Committee and management have been required to increase the base salaries in order to attract and retain talented executives necessary to create a company with strong growth and earnings potential.

 

The Compensation Committee compared the Company’s programs with a peer group of global telecommunications companies, which was selected with the help of compensation consultant Frederic W. Cook & Company.  The peer companies included Acme Packet, Inc., ADTRAN, Inc., Airvana, Inc. (which recently announced that it is to be acquired by a group of private equity firms), Blue Coat Systems, Inc., Digi International Inc., EMS Technologies, Inc., Emulex Corporation, Extreme Networks, Inc., Harmonic Inc., Ixia, Starent Networks LLC (which recently announced that it is to be acquired by Cisco Systems) and Tekelec.  The peer group selection factors included revenue size (primarily companies in the $100 million to $500 million annual revenue range with medium revenue of $357 million) and industry (including all high-technology companies with a majority in the networking/telecommunications industry). A new group was used for purposes of 2009 compensation decisions. The Compensation Committee no longer included Juniper Networks, Inc., LEAP Wireless International, Inc., UT Starcom, Inc., Ciena Corporation and XO Communications, LLC because each of these companies had significantly higher revenues, total assets and headcount than Sonus and its other peer companies.  Sycamore Networks, Inc. was not included because it had significantly less revenue than Sonus and its other peer companies.  Red Hat, Inc. was not considered a peer because it is in the systems software business and LEAP Wireless International, Inc. was not considered a peer because it is in the wireless telecommunications services industry.  The Compensation Committee believed that the 2009 peer group was more cohesive than the 2008 peer group, as the updated peer companies had similar revenues ranging from $116 million to $501 million and hired similar types of employees with comparable skill sets. Additionally, each of the companies in our 2009 peer group was classified under the “Communications Equipment” Global Industry Classification Standard sub-industry description. As a result of recently announced acquisitions of companies within our peer group, the Compensation Committee has amended the peer group for 2010.

 

While our executive compensation program is intended to provide competitive, incentive-based compensation to our executives, actual executive compensation can vary greatly. The amount of incentive-based cash compensation awarded is based on measures of profitability and revenue and therefore, executives are only awarded such compensation if they achieve the annual corporate performance goals set by our Board and their individual measures of performance. Over the last several

 

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years, although target annual cash incentives and target long-term equity incentives have been competitive and highly competitive, respectively, with our peer group, because we have not achieved our target performance goals, executives have been compensated well below target levels and below that of our peer group and survey market references. Please see “Determining Executive Compensation.

 

Over the last several years, it has become even more important to maintain target incentive-based compensation at the higher level of the annual revenue range within our peer group because executive retention and motivation have been affected by the challenging market environment and the price of our stock has not led to appreciation in the value of previously granted stock options. Executive turnover has influenced executive compensation decision-making as we promoted a new Chief Operating Officer and a new Interim Chief Financial Officer in February 2010, hired a new Vice President, Engineering and Chief Architect in August 2009, a new Senior Vice President and General Counsel in June 2009, a new Senior Vice President and General Manager in December 2008 (who was later promoted to Chief Operating Officer in January 2010), and a new President and Chief Executive Officer in June 2008. With the need to attract these new hires, our executive compensation became market-driven. We face competition for executives from larger companies with significantly greater cash compensation and from smaller private companies with greater perceived equity growth potential through an initial public offering or acquisition and therefore must be competitive in our total compensation in order to attract and retain highly talented executives.

 

Compensation Components

 

Our executive compensation program has three major components: (i) base salary, (ii) cash-based incentives and (iii) equity-based incentives. The Compensation Committee reviews the executive compensation program on an annual basis.

 

Base Salary.  Aggregate base salaries are designed to reflect the scope of responsibilities, performance and competencies of the individual executives. Increases in salary are based on an evaluation of the individual’s performance and level of pay compared to benchmark data for similar positions at peer companies. The salary for each Named Executive Officer, other than our Vice President of Worldwide Sales, was originally determined in their respective employment agreements, is reviewed on an annual basis, as well as at the time of a promotion or other change in responsibilities. For 2009, the Compensation Committee, based on recommendations by management, decided that in light of the overall economic environment and business conditions, executive salaries would be frozen at 2008 levels.

 

Cash-based Incentives.  Cash-based incentives are expected to represent a substantial part of total compensation for our executives and are based on measures that reflect annual financial and management objectives, as applicable. A significant portion of each executive officer’s cash-based compensation is tied to the achievement of both corporate financial goals and individual performance objectives, while Dr. Nottenburg’s bonus compensation is tied to the achievement of corporate financial goals. The Compensation Committee determined that Dr. Nottenburg should be focused solely on corporate financial goals and therefore, his individual goals for 2009 were our corporate financial goals for 2009. While the Compensation Committee has the discretion to pay Dr. Nottenburg even if the corporate financial goals are not achieved, they did not exercise such discretion relating to Dr. Nottenburg’s bonus compensation for 2009 because we achieved our corporate goals for 2009.

 

Under the 2009 executive cash-based incentive program, which covered all executive officers other than the Vice President of Worldwide Sales, the Compensation Committee set each executive’s cash-based incentive as a percentage of his or her base salary. (The incentive compensation for the Vice President of Worldwide Sales was based on a commission plan more fully described under the Summary Compensation Table and under “Employment, Severance and Change of Control Arrangements” below.) One hundred percent of the cash incentive bonus for our Chief Executive Officer, which was targeted at 80% of his base salary, was based upon the achievement of corporate goals alone.  Each of the other executives was allocated a target cash incentive as a percentage of base salary ranging from 20% to 60%, as determined by the Compensation Committee, and awarded 50% based upon achievement of corporate operating and financial goals and 50% based upon achievement of individual performance objectives established for each executive, subject to the discretion of the Compensation Committee. The target bonus levels were chosen based upon competitive market and peer group data and analysis as described in “Determining Executive Compensation” below. The corporate goals were chosen based upon financial metrics which are generally used by investors and financial analysts in measuring our corporate performance. Individual objectives included product development and quality metrics, improvement of corporate processes, development of strategic partnerships, expansion of geographic infrastructure, growth of customer base and supply chain improvement.

 

The corporate goals for the 2009 executive cash-based incentive program consisted of three measures, which were calculated independently. Each had designated thresholds as indicated below and a maximum payout at 125% of the measurement metric. Given the uncertain economic environment in 2009, one of our corporate goals was to preserve cash.

 

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Therefore, one cash metric, which was designed to reward our executives if the cash goal exceeded 100%, had an accelerator of two times the incremental portion of the award which exceeded 100% of target:

 

Corporate Goal

 

% of Target

 

Threshold
Performance Level

 

1. Revenue

 

10

%

85

%

2. Full Year Operating Earnings (Loss)

 

15

%

60

%

3. Cash

 

25

%

85

%

 

 

50

%

 

 

 

The potential payout of individual goals was based upon performance levels ranging from 70% to 130%.

 

The formula for calculating the payment under the 2009 executive cash-based incentive program was as follows: corporate revenue goal achievement % × 0.10 (target incentive dollars) plus corporate full year operating earnings (loss) achievement % × 0.15 (target incentive dollars) plus corporate cash achievement % × 0.25 (target incentive dollars) plus individual management bonus objectives, or MBO, achievement % × 0.5 (target incentive dollars) plus accelerators, if earned for cash goal exceeding 100%.

 

The corporate goals target for the 2009 executive cash-based incentive program was based upon achievement of corporate goals as follows:

 

Weight

 

Objective

 

Measurement
Metrics

 

Achievement
Leverage
Factor

 

Accelerator(4)

 

Achievement
Percentage

 

10%

 

Revenue(1)

 

$

225,000,034

 

85-125%

 

0

 

101.2%

 

15%

 

Full Year Operating Earnings (Loss) (2)

 

$

(14,918,000

)

60-125%

 

0

 

125%

 

25%

 

Cash (3)

 

$

353,489,000

 

85-125%

 

2x for delta if metric exceeds $353,489,000

 

119%

 

50%

 

Individual MBO

 

 

 

70-130%

 

 

 

Varies based on individual performance

 

Total: 100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(1)

If this measure was not achieved, it would be deemed achieved if the sum of (i) the actual performance of this measure and (ii) the amount of any positive change in deferred revenue for 2009 met or exceeded the target performance for this measure. However, the impact of any positive change in deferred revenue did not count towards greater than 100% achievement for this measure.

 

 

(2)

Operating earnings (loss) is a non-GAAP measure that excluded stock-based compensation expense, amortization of intangible assets and restructuring expense in 2009. In addition, this metric excludes any effect of activities relating to mergers and acquisitions.

 

 

(3)

This metric excludes any effect of activities relating to mergers and acquisitions.

 

 

(4)

Accelerator only applied if the achieved metric was over 100%.

 

As an example, the bonus calculation for an executive who achieved 100% of his individual performance objectives and whose target cash incentive was $100,000 is set forth below, based on a range of performance levels of corporate goals:

 

Weight

 

Objective

 

Accomplish
85% of
Corporate
Objectives
($)

 

Accomplish
100% of
Corporate
Objectives
($)

 

Accomplish
105% of
Corporate
Objectives
($)

 

Accomplish
150% of
Corporate
Objectives
($)

 

10%

 

Revenue

 

$

8,500

 

$

10,000

 

$

10,500

 

$

12,500

 

15%

 

Full Year Operating Earnings (Loss)

 

12,750

 

15,000

 

15,750

 

18,750

 

25%

 

Cash

 

21,250

 

25,000

 

25,000

 

25,000

 

 

 

Accelerator

 

 

 

2,500

 

12,500

 

50%

 

Individual MBO

 

50,000

 

50,000

 

50,000

 

50,000

 

 

 

Total

 

$

92,500

 

$

100,000

 

$

103,750

 

$

118,750

 

 

The Compensation Committee has established a Senior Management Cash Incentive Plan, effective as of February 23, 2010, pursuant to which the Compensation Committee expects to create cash-based award opportunities for 2010 based upon the achievement of financial metrics consistent with our 2010 operating plan and the financial objectives associated with that plan. We consider our corporate goals to be confidential and their disclosure would cause competitive harm for us and, therefore, we do not disclose these goals for performance periods not yet completed. We reasonably believe we will achieve

 

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these targets; based on past experience, we achieved approximately 100% of the corporate goals for 2006, 64% of the corporate goals for 2007, 14.8% of the corporate goals for 2008 and 117% of the corporate goals for 2009.  A high level of performance by management will be required to achieve the corporate goals for 2010. The 2010 individual MBOs will be based upon the achievement of certain financial, operating and strategic goals.

 

Equity-based Incentives.  Equity-based incentives are provided to executives whose decisions and actions have a direct impact upon our performance and success. Stock options and restricted stock are awarded to our executive officers in order to tie compensation directly to our long-term success and to increase in shareholder value. In determining the size of the stock option and/or restricted stock grants awarded to each executive officer, the Compensation Committee takes into account the executive officer’s position, past performance, anticipated contribution to our long-term goals, and industry practices and norms. Long-term incentives granted in prior years and existing levels of stock ownership are also taken into consideration. The Compensation Committee believes that a combination of stock options and restricted stock is most effective in meeting the key objectives of employee retention, motivation, and shareholder alignment, and is the most cost effective and efficient manner of share usage, taking into account stock-based compensation expense and cash flow. Under the 2007 Plan, a finite number of shares are available. The aggregate number of shares under the 2007 Plan was based upon projected requirements in the normal course of business over a two-year period, within recommended guidelines, assuming similar usage rates to prior years based upon our hiring and annual stock incentive programs, as well as the use of restricted stock in addition to stock options. The historical practice of allocating equity awards to top performers and critical positions will be continued.

 

Determining Executive Compensation

 

The Compensation Committee evaluates and approves goals and objectives of the Chief Executive Officer; reviews and approves goals and objectives of other key executive officers; evaluates the performance of the executives in light of those goals and objectives; determines and approves the compensation level for the Chief Executive Officer; reviews and sets compensation levels of other key executive officers; evaluates and approves all grants of equity-based compensation to executive officers and recommends to our Board compensation policies for outside directors. The Compensation Committee may form and delegate authority to one or more subcommittees as it deems appropriate from time to time.

 

At the outset of the fiscal year, our Board sets the overall corporate performance goals for the year, while the Compensation Committee reviews and approves each executive’s individual MBOs and target bonus, except as otherwise predetermined by an employment agreement. After the end of the fiscal year, the Compensation Committee reviews the actual corporate and individual performance against the predetermined corporate performance goals and individual MBOs to determine the appropriate bonus amount, as well as other performance considerations related to unforeseen events during the year. For each of the performance goals, a formula establishes a payout range based upon the target bonus allocation. The formula also determines the percentage of the target bonus to be paid based on a percentage of goal achievement.

 

The Compensation Committee has the authority to retain compensation consultants and other outside advisors to assist in the evaluation of executive officer compensation. The Compensation Committee reviews each component of the executive’s compensation against executive compensation surveys. The surveys used for comparison reflect compensation levels and practices for persons holding comparable positions at certain of our peer group companies. The Compensation Committee also solicits appropriate input from our Chief Executive Officer, who works with our Vice President of Human Resources, to recommend compensation for those executives reporting directly to him. The Compensation Committee considers, but is not bound by, recommendations made by Company management. Similarly, the Compensation Committee may accept, reject or modify any recommendations by compensation consultants or other outside advisors. All decisions regarding the Chief Executive Officer’s compensation are made by the Compensation Committee in executive session, without the Chief Executive Officer present.

 

For fiscal 2009, the Compensation Committee retained Frederic W. Cook & Company as its compensation consultant to provide an analysis of the total compensation practices for our executive and senior management positions. The purpose of the study was to provide management and the Compensation Committee with current information on the competitiveness of our total cash and long-term incentive compensation. The study provided a significant amount of comparative information, using peer group and market data. The Compensation Committee determined the need to review the current compensation strategy and the market reference peer group based on larger company metrics, considering our current and future growth potential. Our 2009 target compensation was compared to both our peer group and survey data.  While the competitive positioning of individual executives varied, in the aggregate, the findings by Frederic W. Cook & Company indicated that our base salaries were generally commensurate with that of our peer group and survey medians; for eight of the nine executives whose target bonuses were scheduled to be reduced by 50% in 2009, target total annual cash compensation was generally below the peer group and survey medians; and target total direct compensation was above the peer group and survey medians for the top five executives but below the survey medians for the next four highest paid executives.  Due to the uncertainty of macroeconomic

 

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conditions and business results and because base salaries were generally commensurate with that of our peer group and survey medians, the Compensation Committee determined to keep 2009 executive compensation at 2008 levels.

 

For 2009, the methodology for the compensation review conducted by Frederic W. Cook & Company included a compensation analysis and comparison on a job description level with peer companies based upon information derived from publicly-disclosed information provided on proxy statements.  The primary peer group included Acme Packet, Inc.,  ADTRAN, Inc., Airvana, Inc. (which recently announced that it is to be acquired by a group of private equity firms), Blue Coat Systems, Inc., Digi International Inc., EMS Technologies, Inc., Emulex Corporation, Extreme Networks, Inc.,  Harmonic Inc., Ixia, Starent Networks LCC (which recently announced that it is to be acquired by Cisco Systems) and Tekelec.  The peer group selection factors included revenue size (primarily companies in the $100 million to $500 million annual revenue range with medium revenue of $357 million) and industry (including all high technology companies with a majority in the networking/telecommunications industry).

 

Our compensation philosophy is that the overall compensation structure should be competitive within the industry in order to attract and retain talented executives and motivate our executive officers to achieve our business goals.

 

Annual Bonus

 

The Company’s compensation program includes eligibility for an annual performance-based incentive program in the case of all management employees with a management title of “Director” or higher. The award of an annual incentive bonus, which is paid in cash, creates an incentive for management employees to achieve desired short-term corporate goals that are in furtherance of the Company’s long-term objectives. The program establishes target bonuses, set as a percentage of base salary, for each position. The target bonus for executive officers included, in fiscal 2009, a weighting of annual corporate and individual performance goals. In fiscal 2009, the target bonuses for our officers ranged from 20% to 60% of their base salary, and the portion of the bonus that was tied to corporate performance was 50%. The Compensation Committee annually reviews target bonuses as a component of executive compensation against the peer group data.  It believed the target bonuses for our executive officers for 2009 were within the appropriate range as a percentage of base salary and overall total compensation.

 

Non-executive vice presidents and management directors are eligible for a similar performance-based bonus with their target bonus at a lower percentage of salary. All other eligible employees have target bonuses at 10% to 30% of salary, with their actual bonus awards dependent on the achievement of corporate goals and individual MBOs. The 2010 annual performance-based incentive program will include all employees, except for commissioned sales employees.

 

The Compensation Committee determines the annual bonus to be paid to the Chief Executive Officer given his target bonus, achievement of corporate goals, and the Compensation Committee’s overall assessment of performance based on achievement of such corporate goals.  For the Chief Executive Officer’s direct reports, the Compensation Committee reviews and approves the annual bonuses to be paid to such individuals, based upon the Chief Executive Officer’s recommendations.  The Chief Executive Officer determines the annual bonus to be paid to all other management employees with a management title of “Director” or higher who are not his direct reports. The Board may approve, modify or override the determination of the Compensation Committee or the Chief Executive Officer, as applicable, of a management employee’s bonus payment based on its view of the achievement of performance goals.

 

When Dr. Nottenburg joined the Company in June 2008, pursuant to his employment agreement with the Company, for fiscal year 2008, Dr. Nottenburg was guaranteed a bonus of 80% of his base salary pro rated for the days in 2008 he was employed by us. Similarly, when our Senior Vice President and General Counsel Jeffrey Snider joined us in June 2009, pursuant to his employment agreement with the Company, for fiscal year 2009, Mr. Snider was guaranteed a bonus of 50% of his base salary pro rated for the days in 2009 he was employed by us.  Dr. Nottenburg and Mr. Snider were each guaranteed an initial pro-rated bonus as an incentive to join the Company.  They also received such a bonus because it would be difficult for the Compensation Committee to determine the effect each would ultimately have during their first year at the Company.  The decision by the Compensation Committee to guarantee such bonuses is made on a case-by-base basis.

 

The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for determining the level of achievement of each executive, including his direct reports, against the stated corporate goals and the executive’s achievement of certain individual goals.  The Chief Executive Officer works with each of the Named Executive Officers to identify individual goals that are aligned with corporate objectives, strategic plan objectives and individual department objectives that are unique to each Named Executive Officer’s position and scope of responsibility.  Individual goals typically pertain to meeting financial targets, leading and overseeing major projects, operational efficiencies, reliability and compliance. For each Named Executive Officer’s performance (other than the Chief Executive Officer), the Chief Executive Officer bases his evaluation on his conversations with the Vice President of Human Resources regarding the development and objectives of each Named Executive Officer, his knowledge of the

 

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individual’s accomplishments as well as discussions with each of the Named Executive Officers.  The achievement level is determined in the first quarter of each year based on the performance in the preceding year. In fiscal 2009, the corporate goals included revenue of $225,000,034, operating loss of $14,918,000, and cash of $353,489,000. Fiscal 2009 corporate goals incorporated an operating loss because of the economic outlook for fiscal 2009 as well as lower revenues as compared to fiscal 2008. Based on the Company’s performance in fiscal 2009, the Compensation Committee determined that the metric payout level of achievement against fiscal 2009 corporate goals was 113.38%.  Achievement of the individual fiscal goals was as follows: 101.2% of the revenue goal, 125% of the operating earnings goal and 119% of the cash goal.

 

With the exception of Dr. Nottenburg’s 2009 executive cash incentive program, which consisted entirely of corporate achievement metrics, the Company’s 2009 executive cash incentive program consisted of both individual and corporate achievement metrics.  Over sixty executives and senior managers were eligible to participate in the program.  After the 2009 corporate metrics were approved on February 20, 2009, however, the Compensation Committee determined to reduce the payout at target to 50% of the original amount on April 24, 2009.  This was approved for several reasons, including the willingness of our executives and senior managers to demonstrate to non-executive employees that our executives and senior managers were willing to sacrifice their compensation at the same time headcount restructuring efforts were undertaken by us throughout 2009; the desire to implement such changes to the 2009 executive cash incentive program without amending the individual metrics on which each of the executives’ and senior managers’ incentives was based; and the uncertainty of macroeconomic conditions and business results.  In light of the Company’s performance for 2009, and significant efforts undertaken by executives and senior managers to achieve that performance, on January 27, 2010, the Compensation Committee ultimately determined to increase the payout at target to 75% of the original amount.

 

Target bonus levels were determined based upon competitive market and peer group data and analysis.

 

For fiscal 2009, individual performance of an executive officer was assessed based on the level of achievement of individual goals. Each executive was given a performance ranking based on this assessment. For all executive officers other than the Chief Executive Officer and his direct reports, the Compensation Committee considered the recommendations of the Chief Executive Officer and his direct reports. According to Dr. Nottenburg’s employment agreement, he will be entitled to two performance stock grants of 250,000 shares each upon our achieving certain performance metrics between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, as approved by the Compensation Committee.

 

The Chief Executive Officer and/or his direct reports reviewed the performance reviews for all management employees and presented the performance data and his recommendations to the Compensation Committee based on the guidelines previously established by management for review. Similar to awards by the Company of equity-based incentives, Mr. Snider’s and Mr. Vishwanathan’s respective target bonus levels were based upon competitive data, including peer group and survey data, their positions in the Company, and their anticipated contributions to our long-term goals. As new hires, their respective experiences were also taken into consideration. The Chief Executive Officer provided a recommendation as to Messrs. Snider’s and Vishwanathan’s target bonuses to the Compensation Committee for the Compensation Committee’s approval. Pursuant to Mr. Snider’s employment agreement, during each year he is employed by the Company, Mr. Snider is eligible to receive a target bonus of 50% of his then-current annual base salary.  For 2009, his target bonus was pro-rated because he joined the Company in June 2009, and his 2009 target bonus of $77,188 was guaranteed and payable by April 15, 2010. Pursuant to Mr. Vishwanathan’s employment agreement, during each year he is employed by the Company, Mr. Vishwanathan is eligible to receive a target bonus of 50% of his then-current annual base salary.  For 2009, his target bonus was pro-rated because he joined the Company in August 2009.  Mr. Vishwanathan will also be entitled to one performance stock grant of 75,000 shares upon our achieving certain performance metrics for each of the three fiscal years ending December 31, 2009, 2010 and 2011. 3,860,860 shares were granted as equity incentive awards by the Compensation Committee in 2009 under the 2007 Plan.

 

As Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Mr. Shanableh’s cash incentives were based upon the achievement of goals related to revenue and sales orders, which supported our corporate goals.  Mr. Shanableh’s cash incentive was based upon commissions as a percentage of sales orders and revenue quotas achieved and he was eligible for additional commissions based upon achievement of 80% of the sales order and 80% of the revenue goals.  For 2009, Mr. Shanableh’s commission rates on sales orders up to 80% of quotas was 0.03739% and his commission rates on revenues up to 80% was 0.03988%.  The rates for achievement of sales orders and revenue in excess of quotas were 0.18694% and 0.19940%, respectively. Mr. Shanableh also received commissions based upon annual gross margin attainment of 60%, which was payable quarterly and at a rate of $672.98 per gross margin percentage in 2009.  Mr. Shanableh’s compensation plan provided an incentive bonus of $25,000 for achieving $225,000,000 in revenue and an additional bonus of $25,000 for achieving $225,000,000 in revenue and 62% in gross margin.

 

Based on the criteria described above, the Compensation Committee approved cash bonuses for our management officers in February 2010. The annual cash incentive bonus paid to our Named Executive Officers in February 2010 is set forth in the Summary Compensation Table following this report.

 

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In January 2010, our Board, based upon the recommendation of the Compensation Committee, approved our fiscal 2010 bonus plan.  This plan is based on the following design: corporate metrics, team goals, individual goals and/or performance. The Compensation Committee set such target at a level where the executives would be expected to be paid 100% of their target bonus if the Company achieves its fiscal 2010 projected pre-bonus adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, subject to adjustments for actual performance above or below the projection up to a maximum of 225% of the executive’s targeted bonus under extraordinary circumstances.

 

Severance and Retention Program and Agreements

 

In February 2010, Mr. Gaynor, our former Chief Financial Officer, resigned from the Company. He was not eligible to receive, and did not receive, any compensation package or severance pursuant to the terms of his Executive Severance and Arbitration Agreement or his employment agreement.

 

In 2008, the Compensation Committee approved a severance and retention program and agreement for certain executive officers, including our former principal financial officer. The Compensation Committee considered the value of services provided by such officers and their unique capabilities. The Compensation Committee engaged an executive compensation consultant, the Wilson Group, and the Compensation Committee negotiated a compensation package and terms for such officers. The Compensation Committee concluded it was in our best interests to provide a retention package with incentives based on performance and appreciation of stock value. Our former principal financial officer and certain other key employees each entered into an Executive Severance and Arbitration Agreement with us on October 7, 2008, which is described below under “Employment, Severance and Change of Control Arrangements”.

 

Benefits and Other Compensation

 

Executives are eligible for the same benefits that are available to all employees, which include group health insurance, life and disability insurance, dental insurance, and paid holidays. All employees begin accruing three weeks vacation upon date of hire. We offer a 401(k) program and an Amended and Restated 2000 Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

 

We do not typically offer perquisites or employee benefits to executive officers that are not also made available to employees on a broad basis.

 

Stock Option Grant Policy

 

We have granted stock options under the 2007 Plan as a means of promoting the long-term success of our business because we believe that sharing ownership with our employees aligns their interests with our interests and the interests of our stockholders and encourages our employees to devote the best of their abilities and efforts to our company. Each stock option award specifies the exercise price that the employee must pay to purchase shares of common stock when the option is exercised. The exercise price per share is set at the closing market price of a share of our common stock on the date the option is granted. Employees receive value from their options only by exercising their rights under the options to purchase shares of common stock and subsequently selling the purchased shares at a price that exceeds their purchase price.

 

Exchange Program

 

On May 10, 2005, we filed a Registration Statement, or the Prior Registration Statement, on Form S-8 (333-124777) with the SEC to register 40,000,000 shares of common stock, which had been authorized and reserved for issuance under the Amended and Restated Sonus Networks, Inc. 1997 Stock Incentive Plan, or the 1997 Plan.  At our annual meeting of stockholders held on November 12, 2007, our stockholders approved the Sonus Networks, Inc. 2007 Stock Incentive Plan.  At the our annual meeting of stockholders held on June 19, 2009, or the 2009 Annual Meeting, our stockholders approved a proposal to engage in the Exchange Program, whereby we would offer to certain employees, subject to specified conditions, the right to exchange some or all of their outstanding stock options for shares of restricted stock.  In connection with the Exchange Program, our stockholders also approved the 2007 Plan at the 2009 Annual Meeting.  The 2007 Plan was amended to reserve an additional number of shares of common stock to be tendered pursuant to the Exchange Program.  The Exchange Program began on September 8, 2009 and expired on October 5, 2009, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  At the conclusion of the Exchange Program, options to purchase 5,476,701 shares of our common stock were tendered, which we accepted for cancellation, and in exchange, we issued 1,015,360 shares of restricted stock.

 

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The Exchange Program allowed us to provide our employees, who are important to our future growth, with restricted shares that would provide them with a more certain measure of realizable value in accordance with the vesting schedule. Our executive officers, however, were not eligible to participate in the Exchange Program. The Compensation Committee believed that the Exchange Program would improve employee morale and increase employee retention, while aligning employee and stockholder interests.

 

New Hire Grants

 

The Compensation Committee has delegated authority to our Chief Executive Officer to grant new hire options consistent with approved guidelines and restrictions governing the delegation. These guidelines are as follows:

 

·      Such options are granted pursuant to the 2007 Plan;

 

·      Such options are on the terms of our standard form of stock option agreement;

 

·      Such options must, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable federal tax laws, be granted as incentive stock options;

 

·      The grant date is the 15th day of the month following the employee’s start date and the exercise price of these options is equal to the closing price of our common stock on that grant date, or the next business day in the event that the 15th day falls on a day that the NASDAQ Stock Market is closed;

 

·      The Chief Executive Officer is not authorized to grant options (a) to himself or to any of our executive officers, or (b) to any new employee for more than 100,000 shares of our common stock;

 

·      The Chief Executive Officer is authorized to delegate his authority to our Chief Financial Officer and/or Vice President of Human Resources (or the most senior human resources executive); and

 

·      The Chief Executive Officer must maintain a list of the options granted pursuant to the delegated authority and must, upon request, report to the Compensation Committee regarding the options granted.

 

The Compensation Committee reviews all new hire grants issued under the delegation of authority. The Compensation Committee also reviews and, if appropriate, approves the grants to new hires in excess of 100,000 shares at a Compensation Committee meeting. The actions taken at the meetings are documented in meeting minutes subsequently approved by the Compensation Committee. The list of proposed individual grants is provided in advance of the Compensation Committee meeting and is included in the meeting minutes.

 

Annual Equity Incentive Grants

 

The Compensation Committee annually considers an equity incentive grant for certain of our key employees, including executives, in connection with its annual review of employee and executive compensation. At a Compensation Committee meeting, the Compensation Committee reviews a proposed plan for the granting of equity awards to executives and employees in connection with the annual equity incentive program. Typically, employee eligibility is based upon hire date with a required minimum of one year of service. Among the eligible employees, awards are allocated to employees based upon management’s evaluation of employee performance and other business criteria.

 

The proposed plan includes overall parameters of the plan and a pool of shares to be allocated under the plan. The Compensation Committee discusses the plan with management and then requests that management provide the Compensation Committee with a specific list of individual grants for employees consistent with the Compensation Committee’s guidance. The Compensation Committee determines specific grants for executives. Management then prepares a list of individual grants for employees and executives and submits to the Compensation Committee the list of individual grants for employees and executives. The Compensation Committee reviews and, if appropriate, approves the list of individual grants at a Compensation Committee meeting. The actions taken at the meetings are documented in meeting minutes subsequently approved by the Compensation Committee. The list of individual grants is attached to the meeting minutes.

 

The Compensation Committee has established the grant date for annual equity incentive grants to be August 15 of each year, or the next business day following August 15 if August 15 falls on a weekend or holiday. The Compensation

 

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Committee retains the right to change this date based on business events that might warrant using another date for the annual equity incentive grant date.

 

The Compensation Committee followed this practice for 2009 equity incentive grants.  However, based upon the recommendation of management, the Compensation Committee made the decision to refrain from implementing a broad-based equity incentive grant program to employees, including the Named Executive Officers, in 2009. The recommendation was based upon a consideration of the number of shares that remained available for grant under the 2007 Plan and an estimate of the number of shares which would be required to fulfill our employee hiring plans.

 

Promotion and Achievement Grants

 

From time to time, our management recommends to the Compensation Committee promotion or achievement grants to our employees or executives. Our management includes all recommended individual stock option grants for approval by the Compensation Committee in the meeting materials provided in advance of the meeting. We document all Compensation Committee meetings with minutes reflecting any stock option grants approved during the meeting. The Compensation Committee approves promotion or achievement grants at Compensation Committee meetings. The actions taken at the meetings are documented in meeting minutes. Promotion and achievement grants typically have a grant date of the 15th day of the month following the Compensation Committee’s approval of the grant, or the next business day if such 15th day of the month is a weekend or holiday.

 

No such awards were made in 2009 to any of the Named Executive Officers.

 

Vesting

 

Provided that an employee continues his or her employment with us, on the applicable vesting date, options will vest and become exercisable as follows: (i) new hire grants: 25% of the shares vest on the first anniversary of the date that employment with us commences, or the employment date, and the remaining 75% of the shares vest in equal increments of 2.0833% monthly thereafter through the fourth anniversary of the employment date; (ii) all other option grants: 25% of the shares vest on the first anniversary of the grant date (as defined in the applicable notice of grant of stock options and option agreement) and the remaining 75% of the shares vest in equal increments of 2.0833% monthly thereafter through the fourth anniversary of the grant date; and (iii) restricted stock grants: 25% of the shares vest on the first anniversary of the employment date or the grant date and the remaining 75% vest in equal increments of 12.5% semi-annually through the fourth anniversary of the employment date or the date of the grant.

 

Grants to non-employee directors have the same vesting schedule as specified above subject to continued service on our Board.

 

For more disclosure relating to outstanding equity awards granted to the Named Executive Officers, please see page 30, below.

 

Termination

 

Options typically terminate on the tenth anniversary of the grant date (or the fifth anniversary of the grant date, if the optionee owns more than 10% of our common stock), provided that if an employee’s employment relationship with us terminates, the option termination date is determined based upon the reason for employment termination as follows: (i) death or total and permanent disability of optionee (as defined in Section 22(e)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended or the Code) — 180 days thereafter; or (ii) termination for any other reason — 30 days thereafter under the 1997 Plan or 90 days thereafter under the 2007 Plan, unless otherwise extended.

 

We have entered into agreements with certain executives providing for extended terms for stock option grants following the executive’s termination, as described under “Employment, Severance and Change of Control Arrangements” below.

 

Acceleration

 

In the event of an acquisition of us, or the Acquisition, as defined in the 2007 Plan, our standard stock option and restricted stock agreement and stock plan documents provide a pre-determined vesting schedule for such Awards.

 

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Under our standard stock option agreement, effective immediately prior to the occurrence of an Acquisition, the lesser of the number of then unvested shares subject to a stock option Award or 25% of the total number of shares subject to that stock option Award will become vested.  In such event, the balance of the unvested shares subject to a stock option Award will continue to vest pursuant to the vesting schedule set forth in the Award.  Additionally, the vesting schedule will be shortened by 12 months.

 

Under our standard restricted stock agreement, effective immediately prior to the occurrence of an Acquisition, an additional 25% of the number of shares covered by the restricted stock Award will become vested and the remaining unvested shares subject to the restricted stock Award will continue to vest pursuant to the vesting schedule set forth in the Award.  Additionally, the vesting schedule will be shortened by 12 months.

 

Under our standard restricted stock agreement executed pursuant to the Exchange Program, effective immediately prior to the occurrence of an Acquisition, an additional 33 1/3% of the number of shares covered by such restricted stock Award will become vested and the remaining unvested shares subject to the restricted stock Award will continue to vest pursuant to the vesting schedule set forth in the Award.  Additionally, the vesting schedule will be shortened by 12 months.

 

We have entered into agreements with certain executives providing for acceleration of the vesting of stock options and restricted stock upon a change of control as described under “Employment, Severance and Change of Control Arrangements” below.

 

Tax and Accounting Considerations

 

Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation.  We account for stock-based compensation in accordance with ASC 718.

 

Incentive Stock Options.  Options granted to employees are intended to qualify as “incentive stock options” under Section 422 of the Code. However, we make no representation or warranty as to the tax treatment to the optionee upon receipt or exercise of the option or sale or other disposition of the shares covered by the option. In addition, options will not be treated as incentive stock options for tax purposes to the extent that options covering in excess of $100,000 of stock (based upon fair market value of the stock as of the respective dates of grant of such options) become exercisable in any calendar year; and such options will be subject to different tax treatment.

 

Policy on Deductibility of Executive Compensation.  The Internal Revenue Service, pursuant to Section 162(m) of the Code, generally disallows a tax deduction for compensation in excess of $1.0 million paid to our Chief Executive Officer and to each other officer (other than the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer) whose compensation is required to be reported to our stockholders pursuant to the Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, by reason of being among our three most highly paid executive officers. Certain compensation, including qualified performance-based compensation, will not be subject to the deduction limit if certain requirements are met. The Compensation Committee reviews the potential effect of Section 162(m) of the Code periodically and uses its judgment to authorize compensation payments that may be subject to the limit when the Compensation Committee believes such payments are appropriate and in our best interests and our stockholders best interests, after taking into consideration changing business conditions and the performance of our employees.  Of the total $1,970,937 compensation expense recorded in fiscal 2009, $1,369,467 was disallowed for tax purposes under Section 162(m) of the Code.

 

COMPENSATION COMMITTEE REPORT

 

The Compensation Committee consists of Paul J. Severino (Chairman), John A. Schofield, Beatriz V. Infante and H. Brian Thompson. The Compensation Committee has reviewed and discussed the Compensation Discussion and Analysis required by Item 402(b) of Regulation S-K with our management. Based on this review and discussion, the Compensation Committee recommended to our Board of Directors that the Compensation Discussion and Analysis be included in this Amendment.

 

 

Submitted by,

 

COMPENSATION COMMITTEE:

 

Paul J. Severino (Chairman)

 

Beatriz V. Infante

 

John A. Schofield

 

H. Brian Thompson

 

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The information contained in the foregoing report shall not be deemed “filed” or to be “soliciting material” with the Securities and Exchange Commission, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, except to the extent that the Company specifically incorporates it by reference.

 

Compensation Program as it Relates to Risk

 

Sonus management and the Compensation Committee review Sonus’ compensation practices to ensure that they do not encourage excessive risk taking.  Based upon our comprehensive review of our compensation program, we concluded that our compensation program does not encourage excessive or inappropriate risk taking for the following reasons, among others:

 

·      We structure our pay to consist of both fixed and variable compensation.

 

·      Our stock option awards generally vest over a period of four years and are only valuable if our stock price increases over time.

 

·      Our incentive plans include a profit metric as a significant component of performance to promote disciplined progress toward financial goals.  None of Sonus’ incentive plans are based solely on signings or revenue targets, which mitigates the risk of employees focusing exclusively on the short term.

 

We are confident that our compensation program for 2009 was aligned with the interests of our stockholders and rewards for performance.

 

The Compensation Committee and our management recognize that depending on the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Company, other compensation practices might also be appropriate.  Therefore, the Compensation Committee and our management are committed to reviewing this determination on an annual basis.

 

Executive Compensation Tables

 

Summary of Executive Compensation

 

The following table sets forth, for the year ended December 31, 2009 and for either of the two years prior thereto in which the individual was a Named Executive Officer, the compensation earned by our Chief Executive Officer, our former Chief Financial Officer and the other three most highly compensated executive officers serving as executive officers at December 31, 2009 (collectively, the Named Executive Officers).

 

SUMMARY COMPENSATION TABLE

 

Name and Principal
Positions

 

Year

 

Salary
($)

 

Bonus
($)(1)

 

Stock
Awards
($)(2)

 

Option
Awards
($)(3)

 

Non-Equity
Incentive Plan
Compensation
($)(4)

 

All Other
Compensation
($)(5)

 

Total
($)

 

Richard N. Nottenburg

 

2009

 

$

500,000

 

$

 

$

2,175,000

 

$

405,300

 

$

380,310

 

$

2,322

 

$

3,462,932

 

President and Chief

 

2008

 

$

272,756

 

$

216,667

 

$

2,175,000

 

$

1,647,800

 

$

 

$

673

 

$

4,312,896

 

Executive Officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard J. Gaynor(6)

 

2009

 

$

285,010

 

$

 

$

 

$

 

$

139,003

 

$

4,148

 

$

428,161

 

Former Chief

 

2008

 

$

285,000

 

$

 

$

448,000

 

$

 

$

262,549

 

$

10,749

 

$

1,006,298

 

Financial Officer

 

2007

 

$

67,500

 

$

40,500

 

$

209,300

 

$

1,015,070

 

$

 

$

99

 

$

1,332,469

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeffrey M. Snider(7)

 

2009

 

$

160,952

 

$

77,188

 

$

407,400

 

$

217,707

 

$

10,328

 

$

3,747

 

$

877,322

 

Senior Vice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President, General

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Counsel and Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mohammed Shanableh

 

2009

 

$

241,960

 

$

 

$

 

$

 

$

497,149

 

$

3,725

 

$

742,834

 

Vice President,

 

2008

 

$

264,878

 

$

 

$

416,670

 

$

345,288

 

$

330,823

 

$

15,634

 

$

1,373,293

 

Worldwide Sales

 

2007

 

$

197,916

 

$

 

$

141,000

 

$

749,625

 

$

289,424

 

$

16,310

 

$

1,394,275

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kumar Vishwanathan(8)

 

2009

 

$

81,250

 

$

 

$

289,500

 

$

139,590

 

$

46,061

 

$

2,510

 

$

558,911

 

Vice President,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief Architect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(1)           These amounts represent a guaranteed bonus for the year in which each Named Executive Officer joined us.

 

(2)           The amounts in this column do not reflect compensation actually received by the Named Executive Officer. Instead, the amounts reflect the grant date fair value of awards calculated in accordance with ASC 718.

 

(3)           The amounts shown in this column do not reflect compensation actually received by the Named Executive Officer. Instead, the amounts reflect the grant date fair value of each option award granted to each Named Executive Officer. The grant date fair values of option awards were estimated in accordance with ASC 718 using the Black-Scholes valuation model with the following assumptions, excluding the options granted to Dr. Nottenburg:

 

 

 

Year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2009

 

2008

 

2007

 

Risk-free interest rate

 

1.76% - 2.47%

 

2.18% - 3.12%

 

4.5

%

Expected dividend yield

 

 

 

 

Weighted average volatility

 

64.3%

 

71.75%

 

60.1

%

Expected life (years)

 

4.5

 

4.5

 

4.5

 

 

The grant date fair values of Dr. Nottenburg’s option awards were estimated in accordance with ASC 718 using the Black-Scholes valuation model with the following assumptions:

 

 

 

January 15, 2009
award

 

June 16, 2008
award

 

Risk-free interest rate

 

2.0

%

3.84

%

Expected dividend yield

 

 

 

Weighted average volatility

 

70.24

%

77.25

%

Expected life (years)

 

6.0

 

6.0

 

 

For further discussion regarding the assumptions used in calculating the amounts in this column, please see Note 14 to our audited consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009.

 

(4)           Please see “Compensation Discussion and Analysis - Compensation Components - Cash-based Incentives” for a description of our incentive compensation program.  For 2009, target bonuses and actual payments under the incentive compensation program for each current Named Executive Officer, other than the Vice President of Worldwide Sales, were as follows:

 

Dr. Nottenburg’s target bonus was 80% of his base salary.

 

Mr. Gaynor’s target bonus was 60% of his base salary.

 

Mr. Snider’s target bonus was $77,188 and represents 50% of his base salary, prorated for 2009.  This guaranteed amount is reported in the “Bonus” column.

 

As Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Mr. Shanableh’s cash incentives were based upon the achievement of goals related to revenue and sales orders, which supported our corporate goals.  Mr. Shanableh’s cash incentive was based upon commissions as a percentage of sales orders and revenue quotas achieved and he was eligible for additional commissions based upon achievement of 80% of the sales order and 80% of the revenue goals.  In 2009, Mr. Shanableh’s commission rates on sales orders up to 80% of quotas was 0.03739% and his commission rates on revenues up to 80% was 0.03988%.  The rates for achievement of sales orders and revenue in excess of quotas were 0.18694% and 0.19940%, respectively. Mr. Shanableh also received commissions based upon annual gross margin attainment of 60%, which was payable quarterly and at a rate of $672.98 per gross margin percentage in 2009. Mr. Shanableh’s compensation plan provided an incentive bonus of $25,000 for achieving $225,000,000 in revenue and an additional bonus of $25,000 for achieving $225,000,000 in revenue and 62% in gross margin. Gross margin is a non-GAAP measure and excludes stock based compensation expense, amortization of intangible assets, change in estimate — reduction of contingency for employment tax audit. In addition, this metric excludes any effect of activities relating to mergers and acquisitions.

 

Mr. Vishwanathan’s target bonus was 50% of his base salary, prorated for 2009.

 

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(5)                                  Dr. Nottenburg’s ‘other’ compensation of $2,322 for 2009 relates to group term life insurance.

 

Mr. Gaynor’s ‘other’ compensation of $4,148 for 2009 is comprised of $3,500 for our 401(k) matching contribution and $648 for group term life insurance.

 

Mr. Snider’s ‘other’ compensation of $3,747 for 2009 is comprised of $3,500 for our 401(k) matching contribution and $247 for group term life insurance.

 

Mr. Shanableh’s ‘other’ compensation of $3,725 for 2009 is comprised of $3,500 for our 401(k) matching contribution and $225 for group term life insurance.

 

Mr. Vishwanathan’s ‘other’ compensation of $2,510 for 2009 is comprised of $2,438 for our 401(k) matching contribution and $72 for group term life insurance.

 

(6)           Mr. Gaynor resigned as our Chief Financial Officer in February 2010.

 

(7)           Mr. Snider joined the Company in June 2009.

 

(8)           Mr. Vishwanathan joined the Company in August 2009.

 

Plan-Based Awards

 

The following table sets forth information about incentive plan awards made to the Named Executive Officers during the year ended December 31, 2009:

 

2009 GRANTS OF PLAN-BASED AWARDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Other

 

All Other

 

 

 

Date

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock

 

Option

 

 

 

Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awards:

 

Awards:

 

Exercise

 

Value

 

 

 

 

 

Date of

 

Estimated Future Payouts Under

 

Estimated Future Payouts

 

Number

 

Number of

 

or Base

 

of Stock

 

 

 

 

 

Compensation

 

Non-Equity Incentive Plan

 

 Under

 

of Shares

 

Securities

 

Price of

 

And

 

 

 

 

 

Committee

 

Awards(1)

 

Equity Incentive Plan Awards

 

of Stock

 

Underlying

 

Option

 

Option

 

 

 

Grant

 

Action

 

Threshold

 

Target

 

Maximum

 

Threshold

 

Target

 

Maximum

 

or Units

 

Options

 

Awards

 

Awards

 

Name

 

Date

 

(2)

 

($)

 

($)

 

($)

 

(#)

 

(#)(3)

 

(#)(3)

 

(#)

 

(#)

 

($/Sh)

 

($)(3)(4)

 

Richard N. Nottenburg

 

1/15/09

 

5/9/08

 

 

$

400,000

 

$

550,000

 

 

 

 

500,000

 

500,000

 

$

1.28

 

$

2,580,300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard J. Gaynor

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

 

$

142,506

 

$

190,602

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeffrey M. Snider

 

6/15/09

 

6/19/10

 

$

77,188

 

$

77,188

 

$

103,239

 

 

 

 

210,000

 

210,000

 

$

1.94

 

$

625,107

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mohammed Shanableh

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

 

$

403,790

(5)

(6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kumar Vishwanathan

 

8/17/09

 

06/30/09

 

 

$

40,625

 

$

54,336

 

 

 

 

75,000

 

150,000

 

$

1.74

 

$

270,090

 

 

 

12/29/09

 

06/30/09

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

 

50,000

 

25,000

 

 

 

$

53,000

 

 


(1)                              Amounts reflect potential cash award amounts payable under our incentive compensation program for 2009 described above in “Compensation Discussion and Analysis.”  Actual award amounts are set forth in the “Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation” column of the Summary Compensation Table.

 

(2)                              Date on which Compensation Committee took action to approve the award.

 

(3)                              Mr. Vishwanathan is entitled to receive two performance-based stock awards of 25,000 shares of common stock each upon the satisfaction of certain individual performance conditions for each of the two years ended December 31, 2010 and 2011.  The aggregate grant date fair value of these unearned awards is $106,000.

 

(4)                              Amounts reflect the fair value of the restricted stock awards and stock option grants as of the respective grant dates. The terms of the grants are as follows:

 

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Dr. Nottenburg was granted an option to purchase 500,000 shares of our common stock at an exercise price equal to the closing price of our common stock on the NASDAQ Stock Market on the date of grant pursuant to his Employment Agreement described under “Employment, Severance and Change of Control Arrangements” below.

 

Mr. Snider was granted an award of 210,000 shares of restricted stock which vest over four years, with 25% of the shares vesting on the first anniversary of the grant date and the remaining 75% vesting in equal increments semi-annually thereafter through the fourth anniversary of the grant date.  Mr. Snider was also granted an option to purchase 210,000 shares of our common stock at an exercise price of $1.94 per share, the closing price of our common stock on the date of grant, with 25% of the shares vesting on the first anniversary of the grant date and the remaining 75% vesting in equal monthly increments thereafter through the fourth anniversary of the grant date.

 

Mr. Vishwanathan was granted an award of 75,000 shares of restricted stock, which vests over four years, with 25% of the shares vesting on the anniversary of the grant date and the remaining 75% vesting in equal increments semi-annually thereafter through the fourth anniversary of the grant date.  Mr. Vishwanathan was also granted an option to purchase 150,000 shares of our common stock at an exercise price of $1.74 per share, the closing price of our common stock on the date of grant, with 25% of the shares vesting on the first anniversary of the grant date and the remaining 75% vesting in equal monthly increments thereafter through the fourth anniversary of the grant date.  Mr. Vishwanathan earned 25,000 shares of common stock related to his performance-based stock award as a result of the satisfaction of the related performance conditions in 2009.  These shares had a grant date fair value of $53,000 and were issued to Mr. Vishwanathan on March 15, 2010.

 

(5)                                  The target amount is calculated using Mr. Shanableh’s commission targets for 2009.

 

(6)                                  Mr. Shanableh’s sales commissions are not capped.

 

Option Holdings

 

The following table sets forth information concerning stock options and unvested stock awards held by the Named Executive Officers as of December 31, 2009:

 

OUTSTANDING EQUITY AWARDS AT 2009 FISCAL YEAR-END

 

 

 

Option Awards

 

Stock Awards

 

Name

 

Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Options (#)
Exercisable

 

Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Options (#)
Unexercisable(1)

 

Equity
Incentive
Plan Awards:
Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Unearned
Options
(#)

 

Option
Exercise
Price
($)

 

Option
Expiration
Date

 

Number
of
Shares or
Units of
Stock
that
Have Not
Vested
(#)(2)

 

Market
Value of
Shares or
Units of
Stock That
Have Not
Vested
($)(3)

 

Equity
Incentive
Plan
Awards:
Number of
Unearned
Shares,
Units or
Other
Rights
That Have
Not Vested
(#)

 

Equity
Incentive
Plan
Awards:
Market or
Payout
Value
of Unearned
Shares,
Units or
Other
Rights
That Have
Not Vested
($)(3)(4)

 

Richard N. Nottenburg

 

187,500

 

312,500

 

 

$

4.75

 

6/16/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

187,500

 

312,500

 

 

$

1.28

 

1/15/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

625,000

 

$

1,318,750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500,000

 

$

1,055,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard J. Gaynor (5)

 

189,583

 

160,417

 

 

$

5.98

 

10/15/2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17,500

 

$

36,925

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

150,000

 

$

316,500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeffrey M. Snider

 

 

210,000

 

 

$

1.94

 

6/15/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

210,000

 

$

443,100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mohammed Shanableh

 

110,000

 

 

 

$

5.79

 

9/20/2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

 

 

 

$

4.91

 

9/9/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20,000

 

 

 

$

5.37

 

9/15/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

145,833

 

104,167

 

 

$

5.64

 

8/15/2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46,875

 

78,125

 

 

$

4.75

 

6/16/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12,500

 

$

26,375

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12,500

 

$

26,375

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15,625

 

$

32,969

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

99,750

 

$

210,473

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kumar Vishwanathan

 

 

150,000

 

 

$

1.74

 

8/17/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

75,000

 

$

158,250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000

 

$

105,500

 

 

30



Table of Contents

 


(1)                              Of Dr. Nottenburg’s 625,000 unvested stock options, 20,832 will vest on the fourteenth of each month through June 14, 2012.

 

Of Mr. Gaynor’s 160,417 unvested stock options, 7,292 would have vested on the first of each month through September 30, 2011.  Mr. Gaynor resigned his position effective February 8, 2010; accordingly, 14,584 unvested stock options vested in 2010 through his termination date.  The remaining 145,833 unvested stock options will not vest and have been forfeited.

 

Of Mr. Snider’s 210,000 unvested stock options, 52,500 stock options will vest on June 9, 2010 and 4,375 will vest on the ninth of each month beginning July 9, 2010 through June 9, 2013.

 

Of Mr. Shanableh’s 104,167 unvested stock options from the August 15, 2007 grant, 5,208 stock options will vest monthly on the fifteenth of each month through August 15, 2011. Of Mr. Shanableh’s 78,125 unvested stock options from the June 16, 2008 grant, 2,604 stock options will vest monthly on the sixteenth of each month through June 16, 2012.

 

Of Mr. Vishwanathan’s 150,000 unvested stock options, 37,500 stock options will vest on August 4, 2010 and 3,125 will vest monthly on the fourth of each month beginning September 4, 2010 through August 4, 2013.

 

(2)                                  Dr. Nottenburg’s 625,000 unvested shares of restricted stock will vest as follows:

 

Vest Date

 

Shares

 

June 13, 2010

 

125,000

 

December 13, 2010

 

125,000

 

June 13, 2011

 

125,000

 

December 13, 2011

 

125,000

 

June 13, 2012

 

125,000

 

 

Mr. Gaynor’s 167,500 unvested shares of restricted stock would have vested as follows had he not resigned from the Company effective February 8, 2010:

 

Vest Date

 

Shares

 

April 1, 2010

 

4,375

 

September 15, 2010

 

50,000

 

October 1, 2010

 

4,375

 

April 1, 2011

 

4,375

 

September 15, 2011

 

100,000

 

October 1, 2011

 

4,375

 

 

Mr. Snider’s 210,000 unvested shares of restricted stock will vest as follows:

 

Vest Date

 

Shares

 

June 8, 2010

 

52,500

 

December 8, 2010

 

26,250

 

June 8, 2011

 

26,250

 

December 8, 2011

 

26,250

 

June 8, 2012

 

26,250

 

December 8, 2012