The purposes of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee (the “Committee”) of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of The Wet Seal, Inc. (the “Company”) shall be to recommend to the Board individuals qualified to serve as directors of the Company and on committees of the Board; to advise the Board with respect to the Board composition, procedures and committees; to develop and recommend to the Board a set of corporate governance guidelines applicable to the Company; to oversee the evaluation of the Board; and to attend to any additional matters for which the Committee is charged with responsibility under applicable law or the rules and listing standards of the NASDAQ Stock Market, as they may be amended from time to time (the “Nasdaq Rules”)
Composition of the Committee and Delegation
The Committee shall be comprised of two or more directors, with the exact number being determined by the Board. Each of the members of the Committee will be an “independent director” as defined under the Nasdaq Rules, except as may otherwise be permitted by such rules.
The Board will select members of the Committee who will be approved by a majority vote of the members of the Board. Committee members will serve during their respective term as a director, subject to earlier removal by a majority vote of the Board. Unless a Chair is elected by the full Board, the members of the Committee may designate a Chair by majority vote of the Committee membership.
The Committee shall have the authority to delegate responsibilities listed herein to subcommittees of the Committee if the Committee determines that such delegation would be in the best interest of the Company.
Meetings and Procedures of the Committee
The Committee may fix its own rules of procedure, which shall be consistent with the Bylaws of the Company and this Charter. The Committee shall meet at least two times annually or more frequently as circumstances or such rules of procedure as it may adopt require. The Chair of the Committee shall be responsible for leadership of the Committee, including preparing the agenda, presiding over Committee meetings, making Committee assignments and reporting the Committee’s actions to the Board from time to time as requested by the Board. The Committee shall report to the Board on a regular basis and not less than once per year.
The Committee may request that any directors, officers or employees of the Company, or other persons whose advice and counsel are sought by the Committee, attend any meeting of the Committee to provide such pertinent information as the Committee requests.
Following each of its meetings, the Committee shall deliver a report on the meeting to the Board, including a summary description of actions taken by the Committee at the meeting. The Committee shall keep written minutes of its meetings, which minutes shall be maintained with the books and records of the Company.
In carrying out its responsibilities, the Committee’s policies and procedures should remain flexible to enable the Committee to react to changes in circumstances and conditions so as to ensure the Company remains in compliance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements. In addition to such other duties as the Board may from time to time assign, the Committee shall have the following responsibilities:
1. Board Candidates and Nominees
The Committee shall have the following goals and responsibilities with respect to Board candidates and nominees:
(a) To recommend to the Board the director nominees for election by the stockholders or appointment by the Board, as the case may be, pursuant to the Bylaws of the Company, which recommendations shall be consistent with the director qualification standards adopted by the Board for selecting new directors. Such criteria shall include the possession of such knowledge, experience, skills, expertise and diversity as may enhance the Board’s ability to manage and direct the affairs and business of the Company, including, when applicable, as may enhance the ability of committees of the Board to fulfill their duties. The Committee shall also take into account, as applicable, the satisfaction of any independence requirements imposed by law, regulation and the Nasdaq Rules. Any new candidate proposed by the Committee for election to the Board shall be discussed with and receive concurrence from the whole Board prior to the Chairman of the Board extending a formal invitation to the candidate to join the Board.
(b) To establish procedures for evaluating the suitability of potential director nominees proposed by the directors, management or stockholders. Independent director oversight of director nominations shall not apply in cases where the right to nominate a director legally belongs to a third party. However, this does not relieve the Committee’s obligations to comply with the committee composition requirements as described under the heading “Composition of the Committee and Delegation” in this Charter.
(c) To review the suitability for continued service as a director of each Board member when his or her term expires and when he or she has a significant change in status, including but not limited to an employment change, and to recommend whether or not the director should be re-nominated.
2. Board Composition
The Committee shall have the following goals and responsibilities with respect to the composition and procedures of the Board as a whole:
(a) To review annually with the Board the size and composition of the Board as a whole and to recommend, if necessary, measures to be taken so that the Board (i) reflects the appropriate balance of knowledge, experience, skills, expertise and diversity required or desirable for the Board as a whole and (ii) includes at least the minimum number of independent directors required by the Nasdaq Rules or such greater number or percentage of independent directors as the Committee may, from time to time, recommend to the Board.
(b) To make recommendations on the frequency and structure of Board meetings.
(c) To make recommendations concerning any other aspect of the procedures of the Board that the Committee considers warranted, including but not limited to procedures with respect to the waiver by the Board of any Company rule, guideline, procedure or corporate governance guideline.
3. Board Committees
The following shall be the goals and responsibilities of the Committee with respect to the committee structure of the Board:
(a) To make recommendations to the Board, in consultation with the Chairman of the Board, regarding the size, composition and chair, if any, of each standing committee of the Board, including the identification of individuals qualified to serve as members of a standing committee, including the Committee, and to recommend to the Board individual directors to fill any vacancy that might occur on a committee, including the Committee.
(b) To monitor the functioning of the standing committees of the Board and to make recommendations for any changes, including the creation and elimination of any standing or special committees.
(c) To review annually standing committee assignments and rotation of standing committee memberships and/or chairs, and to report any recommendations to the Board.
4. Corporate Governance
The following shall be the goals and responsibilities of the Committee with respect to corporate governance:
(a) To assist in the certification by the Company that it has adopted a formal written charter or board resolution, as applicable, addressing the nominations process and such related matters as may be required under the federal securities laws or the Nasdaq Rules.
(b) To develop and recommend to the Board a set of corporate governance guidelines for the Company, which shall be consistent with any applicable laws, regulations and listing standards. At a minimum, the corporate governance guidelines developed and recommended by the Committee shall address the following:
(i) Director qualification standards. The Committee shall develop and recommend director qualification standards to be adopted by the Board; and such standards must reflect at a minimum the independence requirements of the Nasdaq Rules. The Committee shall also develop policies regarding director tenure, retirement and succession, and may consider whether it is in the best interest of the Company to limit the number of corporate boards on which a director may serve.
(ii) Director responsibilities.
(iii) Director access to management and, as necessary and appropriate, independent advisors.
(iv) Director orientation and continuing education.
(v) Management succession, including policies and principles for the selection and performance review of the Chief Executive Officer (other than with respect to compensation-related matters to be addressed by the Compensation Committee), as well as policies regarding succession of the Chief Executive Officer in the event of his or her death or retirement.
(vi) Director attendance at annual meetings of the Company’s stockholders.
(c) To review periodically, and at least annually, the corporate governance guidelines adopted by the Board to assure that they are appropriate for the Company, and to recommend any desirable changes therein to the Board. In formulating its recommendations pursuant to this Charter, the Committee shall work closely with the Chairman of the Board of the Company.
(d) To periodically review the Company’s Restated Certificate of Incorporation, as amended, and Bylaws as they relate to corporate governance issues, including any modifications and enhancements to the Company’s takeover and structural defenses or mechanisms for stockholder participation in corporate governance.
5. Evaluation of the Board
The Committee shall be responsible for overseeing the annual evaluation of the Board as a whole. The Committee shall establish procedures to allow it to exercise this oversight function.
A Committee member (including the Chair) may be removed at any time, with or without cause, by a majority vote of the Board. No person may be made a member of the Committee if his or her service on the Committee would violate any restriction on service imposed by any rule or regulation of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or the Nasdaq Rules.
Annual Evaluation Procedures
The Committee shall on an annual basis evaluate its performance, which evaluation should among other things: (i) compare its performance with the requirements of this Charter, (ii) evaluate its performance against its goals and objectives for the previous year, and (iii) set forth its goals and objectives for the upcoming year. The evaluation should include a review and assessment of the adequacy of this Charter. The Committee shall address all matters that it considers relevant to its performance, including at least the following: the adequacy, appropriateness and quality of the information and recommendations presented by the Committee to the Board, the manner in which they were discussed or debated, the quality of the written materials and presentations and whether the number and length of meetings of the Committee were adequate for it to complete its work in a thorough and thoughtful manner.
The Committee shall report the results of its evaluation to the Board, including any recommended amendments to this Charter and any recommended changes to the Company’s or the Board’s policies or procedures.
Investigations and Studies; Outside Advisors
The Committee may conduct or authorize investigations into or studies of matters within the Committee’s scope of responsibilities, and may retain, at the Company’s expense, such independent counsel or other advisors as it deems necessary to assist the Committee in any such investigations or studies. The Committee shall have the sole authority to retain or terminate any search firm to be used to identify director candidates, including sole authority to approve the search firm’s fees and other retention terms, such fees to be borne by the Company. In selecting any outside advisor, the Committee shall consider such factors as may be required by applicable law and the Nasdaq Rules and such other factors it deems appropriate, which factors may include the independence of, or any conflicts of interest associated with retaining, any outside advisor.
Nothing contained in this Charter is intended to expand applicable standards of liability under statutory or regulatory requirements for the directors of the Company or members of the Committee. The purposes and responsibilities outlined in this Charter are meant to serve as guidelines rather than as inflexible rules and the Committee is encouraged to adopt such additional procedures and standards as it deems necessary from time to time to fulfill its responsibilities. This Charter, and any amendments thereto, shall be displayed on the Company’s web site and a printed copy of such shall be made available to any stockholder of the Company who requests it.