Audit Committee Charter

( As amended through March 9, 2005 )


The purpose of the Audit Committee is to represent and assist the Board of Directors in its oversight of (1) the integrity of the financial reporting of the Company, (2) the independence, qualifications and performance of the Company's external auditor and the performance of the internal auditors and (3) the Company's compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The Audit Committee also prepares the report required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission to be included in the Company's annual proxy statement.


The Audit Committee shall consist of at least three members of the Board, and all Audit Committee members shall satisfy the independence requirements for directors and audit committee members under the rules of the New York Stock Exchange, as such requirements are interpreted by the Board in its business judgment. The Board shall designate one member as Chairman or delegate authority to designate a Chairman to the Audit Committee. Each member of the Audit Committee shall be financially literate and at least one member of the Audit Committee shall be an “audit committee financial expert” as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Outside Advisors

The Audit Committee shall have the authority to retain such outside legal, accounting or other consultants or advisors as it determines appropriate to assist it in the performance of its functions, or to advise or inform the Committee. The Committee may also meet with investment bankers and financial analysts. The Audit Committee may request any officer or employee of the Company or the Company’s outside counsel or independent auditor to attend a meeting of the Committee or to meet with any members of, or consultants to, the Committee. The Company shall provide for appropriate funding, as determined by the Audit Committee, for payment of compensation to the independent auditor and to any advisors retained by the Audit Committee.

Duties and Responsibilities

On behalf of the Board, the Audit Committee shall, among its duties and responsibilities:

  1. Review the annual audited financial statements with management and the independent auditor, including the Company's disclosures under Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, significant issues and judgments regarding accounting and auditing principles and practices, and the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives on the Company's financial statements, and recommend to the Board whether the financial statements should be included in the Form 10-K. The review of the annual audited financial statements also includes a review of any transactions as to which management obtained a letter pursuant to Statement on Auditing Standards No. 50.
  2. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company's quarterly financial statements prior to filing the Form 10-Q, including the results of the independent auditor's review of them and the Company's disclosures under Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
  3. Review major changes to the Company's auditing and accounting principles and practices as suggested by the independent auditor, internal auditors or management.
  4. Meet periodically with management to review the Company's major financial and business risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures.
  5. The Audit Committee shall be directly responsible, in its capacity as a committee of the Board, for the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of the work of the independent auditor. In this regard, the Audit Committee shall appoint and retain, subject to approval by the Company's shareholders, compensate, evaluate, and terminate when appropriate, the independent auditor, which shall report directly to the Audit Committee.
  6. Preapprove all auditing services and permitted non-audit services (including the fees and terms thereof) to be performed for the Company by its independent auditor and establish policies and procedures for the engagement of the independent auditor to provide auditing and permitted non-audit services.
  7. Obtain and review, at least annually, a report by the independent auditor describing the independent auditor's internal quality-control procedures, and any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer review, or by any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities, within the preceding five years, respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the independent auditor, and any steps taken to deal with any such issues.
  8. Consider at least annually the independence of the independent auditor, and receive from and discuss with the independent auditor the auditor's report regarding its independence.
  9. Meet with the independent auditor prior to the audit to review the scope and planning of the audit.
  10. Review with the independent auditor the results of the annual audit examination, and any issues the auditor may have encountered in the course of its audit work and management's response. This review should include, among other things, any management letter, any restrictions on the scope of activities or access to required information, and changes required in the planned scope of the internal audit.
  11. Discuss with management the Company’s earnings press releases and corporate policies with respect to earnings releases and financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies.
  12. Receive reports from the independent auditor and management regarding, and review the adequacy and effectiveness of, the Company's internal controls, including any significant deficiencies in internal controls and significant changes in such controls reported to the Audit Committee by the independent auditor, the internal auditor or management. Receive reports from managements regarding, and review the adequacy and effectiveness of, the Company's disclosure controls and procedures.
  13. Review with the independent auditor and the internal auditor the scope and results of the internal audit program, including responsibilities and staffing, and review the appointment and replacement of the vice president of the internal audit department.
  14. Review candidates for the positions of chief financial officer and controller of the Company.
  15. Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters, and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
  16. Establish policies for hiring employees and former employees of the independent auditor.
  17. Advise the Board with respect to the Company's policies and procedures regarding compliance with applicable laws and regulations and with the Company's Code of Conduct.
  18. Review with the Company's General Counsel and independent auditor (1) legal matters that may have a material impact on the financial statements, (2) any fraud involving management or other employees who have a significant role in the Company's internal controls, (3) compliance policies, and (4) any material reports or inquiries received from regulators, governmental agencies or employees that raise material issues regarding the Company's financial statements and accounting or compliance policies.
  19. Review this Charter annually and recommend any changes to the Board for approval.
  20. Review the Audit Committee’s own performance annually.


The Audit Committee shall meet at least four times per year, either in person or telephonically, and at such times and places as the Audit Committee shall determine. The Audit Committee shall meet with the chief financial officer, the controller, the vice president of the internal audit department and the independent auditor in separate executive sessions periodically. The Audit Committeeshall report its activities to the Board regularly.