2004 Committee Charter : CEY
The primary function of the Audit Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities for (1) the integrity of the Company's financial reports and other financial information provided to any governmental body or the public; (2) the Company's internal controls and procedures for financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures; (3) legal and regulatory compliance and ethics; and (4) the auditing process, including the performance of the independent accountants and internal auditors and the independence and qualifications of the independent accountants. Consistent with this function, the Audit Committee should encourage continuous improvement of, and should foster adherence to, the Company's policies, procedures and practices at all levels.
The Committee has the authority to access internal and external resources as the Committee may require, including the authority to retain independent legal, accounting and other advisors as it determines necessary or appropriate to carry out its duties. The Company shall provide for funding, as determined by the Committee, for payment of compensation to any advisors retained by the Committee.
The Audit Committee will consist of three or more directors as determined and elected by the board. Each of these directors shall be independent as determined by the board in accordance with New York Stock Exchange listing standards and any independence standards or principles adopted by the board from time to time. All Committee members must be financially literate, and at least one Committee member must be an Ďaudit committee financial expert' within the meaning of the rules of the Securities & Exchange Commission and shall have any other qualifications required by New York Stock Exchange listing standards. Audit Committee members shall not simultaneously serve on the audit committees of more than two other public companies, unless the board determines that such simultaneous service would not impair the ability of such member to serve effectively on the Audit Committee.
The Committee will meet at least four times annually, or more frequently as circumstances dictate. To foster open communication, the Committee will meet with management, the officer of the Company with primary responsibility for the internal audit function and the independent accountants in separate sessions to discuss any matters that should be discussed privately. The Committee will report its activities and findings to the board on a regular basis.
The Board may appoint a Chair of the Committee. The Chair will preside, when present, at all meetings of the Committee. One-third of the members, but not less than two, will constitute a quorum. A majority of the members present at any meeting at which a quorum is present may act on behalf of the Committee. The Committee may meet by telephone or video conference and may take action by written consent.
IV. RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES
The Audit Committee, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, shall:
1. Review and update this Charter, at least annually or as conditions dictate.
2. Review the audited financial statements, the Management's Discussion and Analysis section and other material financial content of the Company's annual report to shareholders and annual report on Form 10-K with management and the independent accountants prior to publication of the annual report to shareholders and the filing of the Company's Form 10-K.
3. Review the unaudited financial statements, the Management's Discussion and Analysis section and other material financial content of each quarterly report on Form 10-Q with management and the independent accountants prior to filing the Form 10-Q. To the extent permissible under New York Stock Exchange listing standards, the Committee may delegate this review to the Chair or another member.
4. Review earnings press releases and financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies prior to the release or dissemination of such information. In lieu of reviewing each such disclosure prior to release or dissemination, the Committee may discuss generally with management the types of information to be disclosed and the types of presentation to be made, and establish policies or guidelines for such disclosures. To the extent permissible under New York Stock Exchange listing standards, the Committee may delegate this review to the Chair or another member.
5. Review periodic internal reports to management prepared by the internal auditors or the independent accountants and management's response along with the status of prior outstanding recommendations.
6. Review and approve on an annual basis the Report of the Audit Committee for inclusion in the Company's annual proxy statement.
Independent Accountants and Internal Auditors
7. Appoint and oversee the activities of the independent accountants, who shall report directly to the Committee. The Committee shall have sole authority to determine the compensation to be paid to the independent accountants for any service. The Committee shall pre-approve all audit and permitted non-audit services provided to the Company by the independent accountants. The Committee may establish pre-approval policies and procedures to approve audit and permitted non-audit services, including by delegating authority to the Chair or another member, to the extent permitted by applicable law. The Committee shall be informed of any approvals granted pursuant to pre-approval policies and procedures at its next meeting following such approval.
8. Obtain and review at least annually a report by the independent accountants describing the independent accountants' internal quality-control procedures; and any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer review, of the independent accountants, 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 such firm, and any steps taken to deal with any such issues.
9. Monitor the independence of the independent accountants, and oversee compliance with the prohibitions of applicable law on the provision by the independent accountants of particular non-audit services. The Committee shall obtain and review at least annually a formal written statement from the independent accountants (required under Independence Standards Board Standard No. 1) delineating all relationships between the independent accountants and the Company. The Committee shall actively engage in a dialogue with the independent accountants with respect to any disclosed relationships or services that may impact the objectivity and independence of the independent accountants and take appropriate action in response to the independent accountants' statement to satisfy itself of the accountants' independence.
10. Develop policies with respect to rendering of permitted non-audit services to the Company by the independent accountants, and consider whether the provision of permitted non-audit services by the independent accountants is compatible with maintaining their independence.
11. Develop the Company's policies with respect to hiring employees or former employees of the independent accountants.
12. Review the performance of the independent accountants at least annually, and discharge and replace the independent accountants when circumstances warrant.
13. Review objectives, activities, organizational structure, qualifications, staffing and budget of the internal audit function.
14. Ratify the appointment, replacement, reassignment or dismissal of the officer of the Company with primary responsibility for the internal audit function.
Financial Reporting and Auditing
15. In consultation with the independent accountants and the internal auditors, review the integrity of the organization's financial reporting processes, both internal and external.
16. Review with the independent accountants, the internal auditors and management the adequacy and effectiveness of the Company's internal controls and procedures for financial reporting, disclosure controls and procedures and the fullness and accuracy of the Company's financial statements. The Committee shall consider the quality of presentation of, among other matters, critical accounting policies, off-balance sheet transactions and financial measures presented on a basis other than in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
17. Consider the independent accountants' judgments about the quality and appropriateness of the Company's accounting principles and underlying estimates as applied in its financial statements.
18. In consultation with the independent accountants, management and the internal auditors, review any major changes or improvements to the Company's financial and accounting principles and practices, internal controls and procedures for financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures.
19. Establish regular and separate systems of reporting to the Committee by the independent accountants and the internal auditors regarding any significant judgments made in management's preparation of the financial statements and the view of each as to the appropriateness of any such judgments.
20. Discuss with management policies with respect to risk assessment and risk management, including the Company's major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures.
21. Discuss, either as a Committee or through its Chair (or designee), with the independent accountants, the internal auditors and management the results of the independent accountants' review of the interim financial information prior to the Company filing its quarterly Form 10-Q with the SEC, to the extent required by generally accepted auditing standards.
23. Obtain and review at least annually within 90 days prior to the filing of the Company's annual report on Form 10-K a report or report update from the independent accountants setting forth: all critical accounting policies and practices to be used in the financial statements; all alternative treatments within generally accepted accounting principles for policies and practices related to material items that have been discussed with management, including the ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments and the treatment preferred by the independent accountants; and any other material communications between the independent accountants and management, such as any management letter or schedule of unadjusted differences.
24. After the annual audit, review with the independent accountants and the internal auditors the matters required under Statement of Auditing Standards Nos. 61 and 90, any significant difficulties encountered during the course of the audit, including any restrictions on the scope of work or access to required information, and any significant disagreements with management. The Committee shall also review any other significant problems or difficulties among the independent accountants, the internal auditors and management related to financial reporting.
25. Review and evaluate the Committee's own performance at least annually.
Ethical and Legal Compliance
26. Oversee the development and maintenance of an appropriate ethics and compliance program, including a code or codes of ethics and business conduct, and periodically review the effectiveness of the Company's program.
27. Review requests for and determine whether to grant or deny waivers of the Company's code of ethics applicable to senior financial officers. The Committee shall also monitor the Company's activities to enforce compliance with the code or codes or ethics and business conduct.
28. Review and approve all transactions to which the Company is a party and in which any Company director and executive officer has a direct or indirect material interest, apart from in their capacity as director or executive officer.
29. Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received regarding accounting, internal controls or audit matters; and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
30. Review legal, tax and regulatory matters that may have a material impact on the financial statements.
31. Perform any other activities or investigations consistent with this Charter, the Company's Bylaws and governing law or as the Committee or the board determines necessary or appropriate.