DEF 14A 1 nc10021022x1_def14a.htm DEF 14A

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
SCHEDULE 14A
INFORMATION REQUIRED IN PROXY STATEMENT

SCHEDULE 14A INFORMATION

Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934
(Amendment No.  )
Filed by the Registrant  ☒
Filed by a Party other than the Registrant  
Check the appropriate box:
Preliminary Proxy Statement
Confidential, for Use of the Commission Only (as permitted by Rule 14a-6(e)(2))
Definitive Proxy Statement
Definitive Additional Materials
Soliciting Material under Section 240.14a-12
Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
(Name of Registrant as Specified In Its Charter)

(Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement, if other than the Registrant)
Payment of Filing Fee (Check the appropriate box):
No fee required.
 
 
 
Fee computed on table below per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(4) and 0-11.
 
 
 
 
(1)
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Check box if any part of the fee is offset as provided by Exchange Act Rule 0-11(a)(2) and identify the filing for which the offsetting fee was paid previously. Identify the previous filing by registration statement number, or the Form of Schedule and the date of its filing.
 
 
 
 
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April 7, 2021
Dear Fellow Stockholder:
I am pleased to invite you to attend the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., which will be held at 11:00 a.m. eastern time on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida. The doors will open at 10:30 a.m. eastern time. You may also attend our annual meeting virtually via the Internet at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/RHP2021. Additional information on how to participate in this year’s annual meeting virtually can be found on page 72. Our directors and management team will also be available to answer questions during the annual meeting.
We describe in detail the proposals to be introduced at the annual meeting in the attached Notice of Annual Meeting, Proxy Statement and proxy card. Our 2020 Annual Report to Stockholders, which is not a part of our proxy solicitation materials, is also enclosed.
We intend to conduct the annual meeting both in-person and virtually via the Internet. However, we may impose additional procedures or limitations on in-person meeting attendees, or we may decide to hold the annual meeting entirely online (i.e., a virtual-only meeting), depending on public health and safety concerns and recommendations that public health officials may issue in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. We will issue a press release announcing any changes to the annual meeting, and we will also announce any changes on our proxy website, located at http://ir.rymanhp.com/proxy. We encourage you to check this website in advance if you plan to attend the annual meeting in person.
We encourage you to vote your shares prior to the annual meeting. You can ensure your shares are represented and voted at the annual meeting by promptly voting and submitting your proxy by telephone, by Internet or by completing, signing, dating and returning the enclosed proxy card. Voting instructions are included on the enclosed proxy card. If you attend the annual meeting (whether in-person or virtually), you may continue to have your shares voted as instructed in the proxy, or you may withdraw your proxy at the annual meeting and vote your shares in person.
Thank you for your continued interest in Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., and we look forward to seeing you at the annual meeting.
Sincerely,

Colin V. Reed
Chief Executive Officer & Chairman
of the Board of Directors

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Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders
Thursday,
May 13, 2021
11:00 a.m. eastern time
Gaylord Palms Resort
& Convention Center
6000 West Osceola Parkway
Kissimmee, Florida 34746

and live via the Internet at
www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/RHP2021
Record Date
The close of business
March 26, 2021
Items of Business
To elect the eight (8) nominees identified in this proxy statement for a one-year term
as directors;
To approve, on an advisory basis, our executive compensation;
To ratify the appointment by the Audit Committee of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2021; and
To conduct any other business if properly raised.
You will find more information on the matters for voting in the proxy statement on the following pages. If you are a stockholder of record, you may vote by mail, by toll-free telephone number or the Internet prior to the meeting, or you may vote at the meeting (either in-person or virtually).
Your vote is important to us. We strongly encourage you to exercise your right to vote as a stockholder. Please sign, date and return the enclosed proxy card in the envelope provided, or vote by calling the toll-free number or using the Internet — even if you plan to attend the annual meeting (either in-person or virtually). You may revoke your proxy at any time before the completion of voting for the annual meeting.
You will find instructions on how to vote beginning on page 8. Most stockholders vote by proxy and do not attend the annual meeting in person. However, you are entitled to attend the annual meeting if you were a stockholder of record or a beneficial holder as of the close of business on March 26, 2021, or if you are an authorized representative of any such stockholder or beneficial holder.
By Order of the Board of Directors of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.,
Scott J. Lynn, Secretary
Nashville, Tennessee
April 7, 2021
Important Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders To Be Held on May 13, 2021. This proxy statement and our 2020 annual report to stockholders are available on the internet at:
http://ir.rymanhp.com/proxy
On this site, you will be able to access this proxy statement, our 2020 annual report to stockholders and our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, and all amendments or supplements (if any).

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2021 NOTICE OF MEETING AND PROXY STATEMENT 
Proxy Summary
This summary highlights information contained elsewhere in this proxy statement. It does not contain all of the information that you should consider, so please read the entire proxy statement before voting. Additionally, for more complete information about our 2020 financial performance, please see our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.
Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. Annual Meeting of Stockholders
Time and Date:
11:00 a.m., eastern time, May 13, 2021
Place:
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
6000 West Osceola Parkway
Kissimmee, Florida 34746
Record Date:
March 26, 2021
Number of Common Shares Eligible to Vote at the Meeting (and Record Holders) as of the Record Date:
55,049,856 (785 holders of record)
Company Principal Executive Offices:
One Gaylord Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
Date of First Mailing of Proxy Statement and Accompanying Materials to Stockholders:
April 7, 2021
Voting Matters
 
Matter
Board Recommendation
Page Reference
Proposal 1:
Election of the Eight (8) Nominees for Director Identified in this Proxy Statement
FOR each director nominee
Proposal 2:
Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation
FOR
Proposal 3:
Ratification of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm for 2021
FOR
Director Nominees
Name
Age
Director
Since
Primary
Occupation
Committee
Memberships;
Other Roles
Other Public
Company Boards
Rachna Bhasin
48
2016
Founder/CEO, EQ Partners
Nominating & CG
Shutterstock, Inc.
Alvin Bowles Jr.
47
2017
VP, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook, Inc.
Audit
Christian A. Brickman
56
President & CEO, Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc.
Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc.
Fazal Merchant
48
2017
Private Consultant
Audit
Meritor, Inc.
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Name
Age
Director
Since
Primary
Occupation
Committee
Memberships;
Other Roles
Other Public
Company Boards
Patrick Moore
51
2015
EVP, North America Retail, Carter’s Inc.
Human Resources (Chair); Nominating & CG
The Interpublic Group of Companies
Christine Pantoya
51
2019
CFO, Omnichannel Acquisition Corp.
Audit
Robert Prather, Jr.
76
2009
President & CEO, Heartland Media, LLC
Audit (Chair); Human Resources
GAMCO Investors, Inc.; Southern Community Newspapers, Inc.
Colin Reed
73
2001
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
First Horizon National Corporation
Board of Directors Matrix
The following matrix provides information about the director nominees (but does not include information about Michael Roth, who is not standing for re-election at the Annual Meeting), including certain types of knowledge, skills, experiences and attributes possessed by one or more of our director nominees which our Board believes are relevant to our business and operations. The matrix does not encompass all of the knowledge, skills, experiences or attributes of our director nominees, and does not suggest that a director nominee who is not listed as having any particular knowledge, skill, experience or attribute is unable to contribute to the decision-making process in that area.
 
Rachna
Bhasin
Alvin
Bowles
Christian
Brickman
Fazal
Merchant
Patrick
Moore
Christine
Pantoya
Robert
Prather
Colin
Reed
Knowledge, Skills and
Experience
Public Company Board
Financial
Accounting
Strategic Planning
HR/Compensation
Operations
Corporate Governance
Media & Entertainment
Hospitality/REIT
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Rachna
Bhasin
Alvin
Bowles
Christian Brickman
Fazal
Merchant
Patrick
Moore
Christine Pantoya
Robert
Prather
Colin
Reed
Demographics
Race/Ethnicity
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic/Latino
White/Caucasian
Gender
Female
Male
Board Tenure
Years
5
4
3
6
2
12
20
Independence
Independent Director
Company Highlights
Total Stockholder Return
The following table shows the company’s total stockholder return, or TSR(1), as compared to the S&P 500 Index and the FTSE NAREIT Equity REITs Index, over the last one, three and five years.


(1)
TSR is equal to stock price appreciation plus dividends, with dividends reinvested quarterly. For more information with respect to the comparison of our TSR with that of the S&P 500 Index and the FTSE NAREIT Equity REITs Index over the applicable time periods, please see the Compensation Discussion and Analysis on page 32.
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Financial Highlights
Our financial results in 2020 were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the closure of our businesses for a significant period of time during the first half of 2020. We were able to re-open most of our businesses in the second half of 2020, but our operations for the remainder of the year were materially impacted by governmental restrictions on group meetings and live events, as well as customer sentiment relating to the pandemic. During 2020, in light of these conditions, our total revenue decreased approximately 67% from 2019 to $524.5 million, and we experienced:
a consolidated net loss of $460.8 million (as compared to consolidated net income of $128.3 million in 2019); and
consolidated Adjusted EBITDAre, excluding non-controlling interest in consolidated joint venture(2) of ($44.3) million (as compared to consolidated Adjusted EBITDAre, excluding non-controlling interest in consolidated joint venture of $479.4 million in 2019).
Our efforts in 2020 principally were focused on efforts to stabilize our businesses and our company’s financial condition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts included a significant focus on reducing the company’s monthly cash operating expenditures, as well as creating and implementing strategies for safely re-opening our businesses on a limited basis in light of the pandemic and with a further strategic focus in our hospitality business on rebooking cancelled group room nights in future years. We also suspended our quarterly dividend following payment of our first quarter 2020 dividend in a further effort to reduce our cash expenditures during 2020.
We believe that our efforts during 2020 will enable our company to successfully emerge from the pandemic as vaccines become widely available over the course of 2021 and the hospitality and entertainment sectors continue their recovery. We will continue to focus on our long-term strategic objectives of increasing funds available for distribution to our stockholders and creating long-term stockholder value. You can find more information about our 2020 financial and operating performance, and its impact on our compensation decisions, in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 32.
Compensation Highlights
Objectives
In order to achieve our corporate strategic objectives and to attract, retain and motivate a team of qualified, talented and knowledgeable executives who are capable of performing their responsibilities, we design our executive compensation with the intent of providing competitive compensation programs which reward strong performance and limit compensation when our performance objectives are not achieved. We believe that our compensation programs provide a suitable balance between long- and short-term compensation and have an appropriate performance-based and “at risk” component.
(2)
Consolidated Adjusted EBITDAre, excluding non-controlling interest in consolidated joint venture is a non-GAAP financial measure. For a definition of consolidated Adjusted EBITDAre, excluding non-controlling interest in consolidated joint venture and a reconciliation of this non-GAAP financial measure to consolidated net income (loss) (the most comparable GAAP financial measure), and an explanation of why we believe consolidated Adjusted EBITDAre, excluding non-controlling interest in consolidated joint venture presents useful information to investors, see Appendix A.
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Compensation Program Summary
The key elements of the compensation program for our named executive officers, or NEOs, which are described more fully in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 32, are:
Compensation Element
Key
Characteristics
2020 Compensation
Decisions
Percentage of 2020
Target Total Compensation(3)
Base Salary
• Fixed compensation.
• Payable in cash
• Reviewed annually and adjusted when appropriate.
Prior to the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, our CEO received a 10% increase in base salary, and our other NEOs (on average) received a 12.9% increase in base salary, for 2020. Our NEOs voluntarily agreed not to accept these base salary increases for 2020.

In addition, our NEOs voluntarily agreed to forego a portion of their base salaries during 2020, with these amounts being repaid to each active NEO in March 2021.

• 18.0% of our CEO’s target total compensation.
• 28.5% of our other NEOs’ target total compensation
(on average).
Short-Term Cash Incentive Compensation
• Variable compensation.
• Payable in cash based on performance against annually established performance objectives.
No annual cash incentives were earned or paid based on our financial performance pursuant to the terms of our short-term cash incentive compensation plan for the 2020 fiscal year.

Each active NEO other than Mr. Reed was awarded a modest discretionary cash bonus for 2020 in recognition of their efforts to stabilize our businesses and financial condition following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Reed voluntarily agreed to forego a cash bonus award for 2020.

• 26.6% of our CEO’s target total compensation.
• 26.8% of our other NEOs’ target total compensation (on average).
Long-Term Equity Incentive Compensation
• Variable compensation.
• Performance-based RSUs vesting over a three-year performance period.
• Time-based RSUs vesting ratably over four years.
Annual long-term equity incentive compensation to our NEOs for 2020 was approximately 50% in the form of performance-based RSUs and 50% in the form of time-based RSUs.

No changes were made to these, or any previously-granted, RSU awards in 2020.
• 54.5% of our CEO’s target total compensation.
• 43.2% of our other NEOs’ target total compensation (on average).
Executive-Level Perquisites
• Fixed compensation.
• Participation in broad-based plans at same cost as other employees.
• Certain executive-level perquisites not paid generally to our other employees.
Our NEOs received only modest executive-level perquisites in 2020.
• 0.9% of our CEO’s target total compensation.
• 1.6% of our other NEOs’ target total compensation (on average).
(3)
Calculated in the manner described in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 32. Average target total compensation for the other NEOs (excluding Mr. Reed, our CEO) presented in this proxy statement does not include Bennett Westbrook, our former EVP & Chief Development Officer, who resigned effective September 1, 2020.
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Our Compensation Practices
We also are mindful of the risks to our stockholders that may be inherent in our compensation programs, and we attempt to utilize compensation practices that mitigate these risks. Some of these compensation practices are:
What We Do
We Pay for Performance—We tie pay to performance in a manner that we believe advances our stockholders’ interests by paying a significant portion of our NEOs’ total compensation opportunities in the form of variable compensation. In 2020, 53.7% of our CEO’s total target compensation, and 49.4% of our other NEOs’ target total compensation (on average) was performance-based.
Our Performance-Based RSUs are Tied to TSR—The long-term performance-based awards to our NEOs are in the form of RSUs which vest based on our achievement of TSR compared to the TSR of a designated peer group and other comparable companies, and there is no minimum payout level associated with these awards (i.e., all of these awards are “at risk”). We believe these awards incentivize our NEOs and align the interests of our NEOs with our stockholders.
We Hold an Annual Say on Pay Vote—Consistent with the views of our stockholders, initially expressed in 2011 and reaffirmed in 2017, we continue to conduct an annual “say-on-pay” advisory vote to solicit our stockholders’ views on our compensation programs.
We Solicit Independent Compensation Advice—Our Human Resources Committee retains Aon, a leading independent compensation consultant.
We Require Meaningful Levels of Stock Ownership by Our Executives and Directors—Our stock ownership guidelines require meaningful levels of stock ownership by our executives (including 5x base salary for our CEO) and directors. All NEOs and non-employee directors are currently in compliance with the guideline applicable to them, after taking into account the applicable grace period for our recently appointed directors.
We Have Implemented Meaningful Stock Retention Guidelines—Any officer or director who does not meet the applicable stock ownership guideline (regardless of any compliance grace period) must hold at least 50% of the net shares received in any stock option exercise or RSU vesting.
Relevant Peer Groups—We use representative and relevant peer groups when determining compensation.

What We Don’t Do
We Don’t Provide Excessive Levels of Guaranteed Compensation—Our short-term cash incentive compensation plan and the terms of the performance-based RSUs issued to our NEOs (which are tied to TSR) do not have minimum payout levels. All of this compensation is performance-based and “at risk”. No annual cash incentives were paid to the NEOs based on our financial performance pursuant to the terms of our short-term cash incentive compensation plan for the 2020 fiscal year (and no adjustments were made to the terms of this plan as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic).
We Don’t Make “Mid-Stream” Changes to Previously Granted Performance-Based RSU Awards—We believe as a general matter that once issued, changes should not be made the design of long-term performance-based RSU awards. Accordingly, no changes have been made to previously-granted performance-based RSU awards as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We Don’t Make “Single Trigger” Cash Payments Upon a Change of Control—The employment and severance arrangements with our NEOs require a “double trigger” (requiring both a change of control and termination of employment) for cash severance payments following a change of control.
We Don’t Pay “Gross Ups” For Severance Payments—We do not provide excise or other tax “gross up” payments in connection with any severance payment made to an NEO.
We Don’t Allow Hedging or Significant Pledging of Company Securities by Officers and Directors—Directors and executive officers are prohibited from engaging in hedging transactions designed to offset decreases in the market value of our securities, and directors and executive officers may not pledge a significant amount of company securities without prior approval.
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Corporate Governance Highlights
Our Board of Directors has adopted governance policies that we believe are in the best interests of our stockholders, including:
Annual election of all directors.
Board refreshment and reduction in average board tenure.
On at least an annual basis, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of our Board of Directors evaluates the Board’s composition to ensure that the Board maintains complementary and diverse skill sets, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences for its continued effectiveness, with the goal of having a mix of years of tenure of Board members between those who have served longer term, medium term, or shorter term.
All of our independent director nominees other than Mr. Prather have joined our Board since 2015. Immediately following the Annual Meeting (assuming all director nominees are elected), the average tenure of our independent directors will be 5 years, as compared to 15 years in 2015, and the average age of our independent directors will be 55 years, as compared to 67 years in 2015.
Majority vote standard in uncontested elections.
Independent, involved and informed Board of Directors.
All director nominees, other than our CEO, are independent.
All of our directors attended more than 75% of the meetings of the Board and those committees of which the director was a member in the aggregate during 2020. The independent director attendance at all Board and committee meetings in 2020 was 100%.
Board orientation for new members and ongoing director education.
A diverse Board, with 50% of our current Board members being either female or racially/ethnically diverse, and with 50% of our director nominees for 2021 being either female or racially/ethnically diverse.
Independent Lead Director.
Independent Board committees.
Our three active standing Board committees are comprised solely of independent directors.
Executive sessions of independent directors are held at each regularly scheduled Board meeting.
Annual Board and committee self-evaluations.
Board oversight of risk management.
No stockholder rights plan.
Common stock is the only class of voting securities outstanding.
Ongoing engagement with stockholders.
Commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) considerations
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Questions and Answers
About How to Vote Your Shares
Below are instructions on how to vote, as well as information on your voting rights as a stockholder. Some of the instructions vary depending on how your stock is held. It’s important to follow the instructions that apply to your situation.
Q.
Who can vote at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders?
A.
At the Annual Meeting, each holder of shares of our common stock is entitled to one vote for each share of common stock held by such stockholder close of business on March 26, 2021 (the record date).
Q.
How do I vote at the Annual
Meeting?
A.
Electronically. You may vote using the Internet or by phone.
To use the Internet, go to www.proxyvote.com to transmit your voting instructions up until 11:59 p.m. eastern time on May 12, 2021 (for shares in our 401(k) plan, the voting deadline is 11:59 p.m. eastern time on May 11, 2021). Have your proxy card in hand when you access the web site and follow the instructions to obtain your records and to create an electronic voting instruction form.
To vote by phone, dial 1-800-690-6903 up until 11:59 p.m. eastern time on May 12, 2021 (for shares in our 401(k) plan, the voting deadline is 11:59 p.m. eastern time on May 11, 2021). Have your proxy card in hand when you call and then follow the instructions.
In Person or by Mail. If you hold the shares in your own name, you may also vote in person at the meeting or by signing and dating each proxy card you receive and returning it in the enclosed prepaid envelope. If you vote by proxy, the proxies identified on the back of the proxy card will vote your shares in accordance with your instructions. If you submit a signed proxy card but do not mark the boxes showing
how you wish to vote, the proxies will vote your shares in accordance with the recommendations of the Board.
Q.
How can I participate in the Annual Meeting virtually?
A.
You will be able to log into the virtual annual meeting platform by visiting www.virtualshareholdermeeting/RHP2021 and entering the control number found on your proxy materials. Stockholders participating virtually will also be able to submit questions via the virtual meeting platform and to vote their shares. See page 72 for more information on how to participate in this year’s annual meeting virtually.
Q.
What is the purpose of the Annual Meeting?
A.
At the Annual Meeting, you and your fellow stockholders will vote on the following matters:
Proposal
Matter
1
Election of the eight (8) nominees for director identified in this proxy statement
2
Avisory vote on executive compensation
3
Ratification of independent registered public accounting firm for 2021
You and your fellow stockholders will also be asked to transact any other business that may property come before the meeting or any adjournment or postponement.
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Q.
What if my shares are held in “street name” by a broker?
A.
If you do not own your shares directly, but instead are the beneficial owner of shares held in “street name” by a broker, bank or other nominee, your broker, bank or other nominee, as the record holder of the shares, must vote those shares in accordance with your instructions. If you do not give instructions to your broker, bank or other nominee, your broker, bank or other nominee can vote your shares with respect to “discretionary” items, but not with respect to “non-discretionary” items. On non-discretionary items for which you do not give instructions, your shares will be counted as “broker non-votes”.
Q.
What shares are included on my proxy card?
A.
Your proxy card represents all shares registered in your name with the transfer agent on the record date, including those shares owned pursuant to our 401(k) plan.
Q.
Which matters to be presented at the Annual Meeting are discretionary items and may be voted on by a broker?
A.
A discretionary item is a proposal that is considered routine under the rules of the New York Stock Exchange. Shares held in street name may be voted by your broker, bank or other nominee on discretionary items in the absence of voting instructions given by you.
The matters presented in Proposal 1 (Election of Directors) and Proposal 2 (Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation) are not considered routine under the rules of the NYSE. Therefore, brokers, banks or other nominees will not have the ability to vote shares held in street name with respect to those proposals unless the broker, bank or other nominee has received voting instructions from the beneficial owner of the shares held in street name. Broker non-votes will not impact the outcome of Proposals 1 or 2. It is therefore important that you provide instructions to your broker,
bank or other nominee if your shares are held in street name by a broker, bank or other nominee so that you are able to vote with respect to Proposals 1 or 2.
Proposal 3 (Ratification of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm) is considered routine and therefore may be voted upon by your broker, bank or other nominee if you do not give instructions for the shares held in street name by your broker, bank or other nominee. If any other matter that properly comes before the meeting is not considered routine under the rules of the NYSE, broker non-votes will not impact the outcome of this matter.
Q.
How many shares must be present to hold the Annual Meeting?
A.
The holders of a majority of the shares of our common stock outstanding on the record date, or 27,524,929 shares, in person or by a valid proxy, must be present at the meeting for any business to be conducted, known as a “quorum.” Proxies received but marked as “abstain,” as well as shares that are counted as broker non-votes, will be counted as shares that are present for purposes of determining the presence of a quorum.
Q.
What if a quorum is not present at the Annual Meeting?
A.
If a quorum is not present at the scheduled time of the meeting, we may adjourn the meeting, either with or without a vote of the stockholders. If we propose to have the stockholders vote whether to adjourn the meeting, the people named in the enclosed proxy will vote all shares of our common stock for which they have voting authority in favor of the adjournment.
We also may adjourn the meeting if for any reason the Board determines that adjournment is necessary or appropriate to enable our stockholders to (i) consider fully information which the Board determines has not been sufficiently or timely available to stockholders
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or (ii) otherwise effectively exercise their voting rights. An adjournment will have no effect on the business that may be conducted at the meeting.
Q.
How does the Board recommend I vote on each of the proposals?
A.
The Board recommends that you vote as follows on each of the following proposals:
Proposal
Matter
1
FOR election of the eight (8) nominees for director identified in this proxy statement
2
FOR approval of the advisory vote on executive compensation
3
FOR ratification of independent registered public accounting firm for 2021
Q.
How do I change my vote?
  
A.
You can revoke your proxy at any time before the meeting by:
Submitting a later-dated proxy card by mail or transmitting new voting instructions via internet or phone;
Giving written notice to Scott J. Lynn, our corporate secretary, stating that you are revoking your proxy; or
Attending the meeting either in-person or virtually and voting your shares.
If you hold your shares in “street name” your broker, bank or other nominee will provide you with instructions on how to revoke your proxy.
Q.
Who will count the votes?
A.
Representatives of Broadridge will count the votes and act as the independent inspector of elections.
Q.
How are shares in the Company’s 401k plan voted?
A.
401(k) plan participants may vote the shares held under the plan in their name by signing and returning the proxy card you received no later than May 11, 2021. Your vote will be confidential, and the plan trustee will direct your vote in the manner you indicate. The voting results for all shares in the plan will be tabulated for all participants and reported on an aggregate basis. The trustee will vote the shares at the meeting through the custodian holding the shares. If a plan participant’s voting instructions are not received before the meeting (or later revoked) the shares will be considered unvoted. All unvoted shares will be voted at the meeting by the plan trustee in direct proportion to the voting results of plan shares for which proxies are voted.
Q.
What if I send in my proxy card and do not specify how my shares are to be voted?
A.
If you send in a signed proxy card but do not give any voting instructions, your shares will be voted as follows on each of the following proposals:
Proposal
Matter
1
FOR election of the eight (8) nominees for director identified in this proxy statement
2
FOR approval of the advisory vote on executive compensation
3
FOR ratification of independent registered public accounting firm for 2021
Q.
How will the proxies vote on any other business brought up at the Annual Meeting?
A.
We are not aware of any other business to be considered at the meeting other than the proposals described in this proxy statement. If any other business is properly presented at
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the meeting, your signed proxy card authorizes Colin V. Reed, Robert Prather and Scott J. Lynn to use their discretion to vote on these other matters.
Q.
What are my voting options on Proposal 1 (Election of Directors)?
A.
You may:
Vote FOR all of the director nominees;
Vote FOR specific director nominees;
Vote AGAINST all director nominees;
Vote AGAINST specific director nominees;
ABSTAIN from voting with respect to all of the director nominees; or
ABSTAIN from voting with respect to specific director nominees.
A nominee will be elected as a director if the number of votes cast “FOR” such nominee’s election exceeds the number of votes cast “AGAINST” such nominee’s election (with abstentions and broker non-votes not counted as votes cast either for or against such election). Proxies may not be voted for more than eight (8) directors, and stockholders may not cumulate votes in the election of directors. See “Majority Voting Standard for Director Elections” below for the effect of a director nominee failing to receive the required majority vote in an election.
Q.
What are my voting options on the other proposals?
A.
When voting on either Proposal 2 (Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation) or Proposal 3 (Ratification of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm), you may:
Vote FOR the proposal;
Vote AGAINST the proposal; or
ABSTAIN from voting.
If you abstain from voting on Proposal 2 or Proposal 3, your shares will be counted as present in person or represented by proxy and entitled to vote on such proposal, and thus the abstention will have the same effect as a vote AGAINST such proposal.
Q.
Is my vote confidential?
A.
Yes. All proxy cards and vote tabulations that identify an individual stockholder are kept confidential. Except to meet legal requirements, your vote will not be disclosed to us unless a proxy solicitation is contested, you write comments on the proxy card, or you authorize disclosure of your vote. However, we may confirm whether a stockholder has voted or take other actions to encourage voting.
Q.
How many votes are required to approve each proposal?
A.
The following votes will be required to approve each proposal:
Proposal
Vote Required
1
(Election of the eight (8) nominees for director statement)
Votes cast “FOR” must exceed votes cast “AGAINST” any nominee (abstentions and broker non-votes will not be counted as votes cast for or against)
2
(Advisory vote on executive compensation)
Majority of shares entitled to vote and present in person or by proxy
3
(Ratification of independent registered
public
accounting firm)
Majority of shares entitled to vote and present in person or by proxy
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Proposals
Proposal 1 (Election of the Eight (8) Nominees for Director Identified in this Proxy Statement)
The information below about the business background of each nominee for director has been provided by each nominee. All nominees other than Christian Brickman are currently directors. Incumbent director Michael Roth (whose information is provided below) intends to retire as a director, and will not stand for re-election, effective as of the Annual Meeting. Mr. Roth is not retiring as a result of any disagreement with the Company. As described on page 24, we intend to appoint Mr. Roth as a director emeritus for an initial one-year term following his retirement as a director. In case any nominee is not available to serve as a director, the person or persons voting the proxies may vote your shares for such other person or persons designated by the Board if you have submitted a proxy card.
The Board may also choose to reduce the number of directors to be elected at the meeting. Each of the nominees shall be elected to serve as a director until the annual meeting of stockholders in 2022 or until his or her respective successor is otherwise duly elected and qualified, or until his or her earlier resignation or removal. The names of the nominees for director, along with their present positions, their principal occupations, current directorships held with other public companies, as well as directorships with other public companies during the past five years, their ages and the year first elected as a director, are set forth below. Individual qualifications, experiences and skills that contribute to the Board’s effectiveness as a whole, as determined by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, are also described below.
Incumbent Directors Standing for Re-Election
Rachna Bhasin
Founder/Chief Executive Officer, EQ Partners, a private consulting firm, since January 2019. Ms. Bhasin has also served as a director of Clearview Media Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”) with a stated focus of acquiring media and technology companies, since March 2021. From October 2015 to January 2019, Ms. Bhasin served as Chief Business Officer of Magic Leap, Inc., a digital technology company. Prior to such time, Ms. Bhasin was Senior Vice-President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at media company SiriusXM Radio, a position she had held since 2010. From 2007 until 2010 Ms. Bhasin was General Manager, Strategic Partnerships and Personalization at technology company Dell, Inc., and from 2004 to 2007 she served as Vice President of Business Development at the media company EMI Music, North America.
Qualifications: Ms. Bhasin’s experience in the technology and media industries provide her with a unique perspective on our challenges and opportunities.

Current Directorships: Shutterstock, Inc.

Former Directorships: None

Age: 48

Director since: 2016
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Alvin Bowles Jr.
Vice-President, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook, Inc., a technology company, since January 2020; Head of Global Publisher Sales and Operations, Facebook, October 2015 to January 2020; CEO of media company GrabMedia, March 2011 to September 2015; SVP, Integrated Marketing & Brand Solutions, of media company BET, April 2007 to December 2010; Vice President Sales, Publisher, AOL Black Voices, of media and technology company AOL, April 2005 to April 2007; Vice President, Global Media Group, of entertainment company Time Warner Inc., January 2004 to April 2005.
Qualifications: Mr. Bowles brings operating experience in large, complex organizations as a result of his service as a senior executive of public and private companies, including those with a focus on digital media and technology.

Current Directorships: None

Former Directorships: None

Age: 47

Director since: 2017
Fazal Merchant
Private Consultant, since September 2020; Director, asset management firm Ariel Investments, LLC, since March 2021; Co-Chief Executive Officer of Tanium, a privately-held endpoint security and systems management company, from June 2019 to September 2020; Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Tanium, May 2017 to June 2019; Consultant to WndrCo, a new media and technology company, December 2016 to May 2017; Chief Financial Officer, media company DreamWorks Animation SKG, September 2014 to September 2016; Chief Financial Officer, media company DirecTV Latin America, December 2013 to September 2014; SVP, Treasurer & Corporate Development, media and technology company DirecTV, July 2012 to April 2014; Managing Director, Head of Global Industrials Group, Americas, financial services company Royal Bank of Scotland, January 2011 to July 2012.
Qualifications: Mr. Merchant brings operating and financial experience in large, complex organizations as a result of his service as a senior executive in public and private companies.

Current Directorships: Meritor, Inc.

Former Directorships: None

Age: 48

Director since: 2017
Patrick Moore
EVP, North America Retail, Carter’s Inc., a branded marketer of apparel and related products, since December 2019; EVP, Strategy & Global Business Development at Carter’s, February 2019 to December 2019; EVP, Strategy & Business Development at Carter’s, August 2017 to February 2019; Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer, YP Holdings, a privately-held media and advertising company, June 2013 until July 2017; Principal, McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, September 2001 to May 2013.
Qualifications: Mr. Moore's work experiences provide him with a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities faced by our Entertainment business segment. Mr. Moore also has expertise in the hospitality segment as a result of his service as a management consultant.

Current Directorships: The Interpublic Group of Companies

Former Directorships: None

Age: 51

Director since: 2015
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Christine Pantoya
Chief Financial Officer, Omnichannel Acquisition Corp., a recently-formed SPAC with a stated focus of acquiring technology-enabled cross-channel retail and consumer service businesses, since October 2020; and Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Strategy, FANchise, an integrative fan-controlled sports league, since July 2020. Ms. Pantoya has also served as Non-Executive Partner, Delta Partners Group, an investment and advisory firm, since June 2019. Ms. Pantoya has also served as a senior advisor to multiple early-stage companies since January 2019. From January 2015 to October 2018, Ms. Pantoya served as SVP & Head of Mobile & Direct-to-Consumer for the National Basketball Association, a professional sports league. From April 2012 to January 2015, Ms. Pantoya served as VP of Corporate Development and Strategy for telecommunications company Verizon Communications. Prior to such time, Ms. Pantoya served in a variety of roles for tele-communications companies Cox Communications, Enhanced Wireless, Clearwire, and Sprint Nextel.
Qualifications: Ms. Pantoya’s current roles as an operating executive with a recently formed SPAC focusing on technology-enabled businesses and with a new media and entertainment venture provide her with insights on the challenges and opportunities faced by our Entertainment business segment.

Current Directorships: None

Former Directorships: None

Age: 51

Director since: 2019
Robert Prather, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Heartland Media, LLC, a television broadcasting company, since June 2013; President and Chief Executive Officer, Allen Media Broadcasting, a television broadcasting company, since February 2020; President and Chief Operating Officer, Gray Television, Inc., a television broadcasting company, September 2002 to June 2013; Executive Vice President, Gray Television, Inc., 1996 to September 2002; Chief Executive Officer, Bull Run Corporation (now Southern Community Newspapers, Inc.), a media and publishing company, 1992 to December 2005.
Qualifications: Mr. Prather’s history as a chief executive officer of media companies provides financial expertise, as well as operating experience in the media and entertainment industries. Mr. Prather also has considerable corporate governance experience through his service on the boards of other public companies.

Current Directorships: GAMCO Investors, Inc.; Southern Community Newspapers, Inc.

Former Directorships: Diebold Nixdorf, Inc.

Age: 76

Director since: 2009
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Colin Reed
Chairman of our Board since May 2005; our Chief Executive Officer since April 2001; our President from November 2012 to March 2015 and from April 2001 to November 2008; Member, three-executive Office of the President, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., a gaming company, May 1999 to April 2001; Chief Financial Officer, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., April 1997 to April 2001. Mr. Reed served in a variety of other management positions with Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. and its predecessor, hotel operator Holiday Corp., from 1977 to April 1997.
Qualifications: Mr. Reed’s day-to-day leadership as Chairman of our Board and CEO, as well as his many years of experience in the hospitality industry, provides him with deep knowledge of our operations and gives him unique insights into our challenges and opportunities.

Current Directorships: First Horizon National Corporation

Former Directorships: None

Age: 73

Director since: 2001
Director Nominee
Christian A. Brickman
President and Chief Executive Officer, Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc., a consumer products company, since February 2015; President and Chief Operating Officer, Sally Beauty, June 2014 to February 2015; President of Kimberly-Clark International, a subsidiary of consumer products company Kimberly-Clark Corporation, May 2012 to February 2014; President of Kimberly-Clark Professional, a Kimberly-Clark subsidiary, August 2010 to May 2012; Chief Strategy Officer of Kimberly-Clark, 2008 to 2010. Prior to joining Kimberly-Clark, Mr. Brickman was a Principal in the Dallas, Texas office of McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm.
Qualifications: Mr. Brickman’s experience as chief executive officer of a public company and as a senior officer of a large multi-national corporation brings managerial and operational experience.

Current Directorships: Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc.

Former Directorships: None

Age: 56
Incumbent Director Not Standing for Re-election
Michael I. Roth
Executive Chairman (since January 2021), The Interpublic Group of Companies, a global marketing services company; Chairman (from July 2004 to January 2020) and Chief Executive Officer (from January 2005 to January 2020), The Interpublic Group of Companies; Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The MONY Group Inc. (and its predecessor entities), a financial services company, 1997 to 2004.
Current Directorships: The Interpublic Group of Companies (executive chairman); Pitney Bowes, Inc. (non-executive chairman)

Former Directorships: None

Age: 75

Director since: 2004
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Board Meetings in 2020 and Director Attendance
In 2020 the Board met 6 times. All directors attended at least 75% of the total number of meetings of the Board and those committees of which the director was a member in the aggregate during 2020.
Company Voting Recommendation
The Board unanimously recommends that our stockholders vote FOR each of our nominees.
Our Corporate Governance Guidelines and Bylaws provide for a majority voting standard in uncontested director elections. A director nominee will be elected to the Board only if the number of votes cast “FOR” such nominee’s election exceeds the number of votes cast “AGAINST” such nominee’s election (with abstentions and broker non-votes not counted as votes cast either for or against such election). If an incumbent nominee for director fails to receive the required majority vote in a director election, he or she will tender his or her resignation as a director for consideration by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and, ultimately, the Board.
In the event any incumbent nominee for director does not receive the requisite majority vote, our Corporate Governance Guidelines and Bylaws provide that our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will evaluate the circumstances of the failed election and will make a recommendation regarding how to act upon the tendered resignation to the full Board, in light of the best interests of the company and its stockholders. The full Board will then act upon the resignation, taking into account the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and will publicly disclose its decision regarding the tendered resignation and its rationale within 90 days of the certification of the election results. If the Board accepts the resignation, the nominee will no longer serve on the Board. If the Board rejects the resignation, the nominee will continue to serve until his or her successor has been duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier disqualification, death, resignation or removal.
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Proposal 2 (Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation)
We are asking stockholders to cast an advisory (non-binding) vote on our executive compensation for our named executive officers, or NEOs. Please read the Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 32 and the related compensation tables and narrative discussion appearing on pages 49 through 57, which provide more information on the compensation paid to our NEOs for 2020.
Our executive compensation programs are designed to attract, retain and motivate qualified, knowledgeable and talented executives who are capable of performing their responsibilities. Our efforts in 2020 principally were focused on efforts to stabilize our businesses and our company’s financial condition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts included a significant focus on reducing the company’s monthly cash operating expenditures, as well as creating and implementing strategies for the re-opening of our businesses on a limited basis in light of the pandemic.
We believe that our efforts during 2020 will enable our company to successfully emerge from the pandemic as
vaccines become widely available over the course of 2021 and the hospitality and entertainment sectors continue their recovery. We will continue to focus on our long-term strategic objectives of increasing funds available for distribution to our stockholders and creating long-term stockholder value. You can find more information about our 2020 financial and operating performance, and its impact on our compensation decisions, in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 32.
Company Voting Recommendation
For the reasons discussed above and in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 32, we are asking our stockholders to vote “FOR” the following resolution at the Annual Meeting:
RESOLVED, that the company’s stockholders approve, on an advisory basis, the compensation paid to the company’s named executive officers as disclosed pursuant to Item 402 of Regulation S-K, including the Compensation Discussion and Analysis, compensation tables and narrative discussion, in this proxy statement.”
Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares represented in person or by proxy and entitled to vote on this matter. If you abstain from voting on this matter, your abstention will have the same effect as a vote against the proposal. Broker non-votes will not impact the outcome of this matter. While this vote is advisory and therefore not binding on us, our Board and our Human Resources Committee value the opinions of our stockholders and will take into consideration the outcome of this vote when making future decisions regarding our executive compensation programs. The Board unanimously recommends that the stockholders vote FOR the approval of the advisory resolution relating to the compensation of our NEOs as disclosed in this proxy statement.
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Proposal 3 (Ratification of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm for 2021)
Proposal 3 asks that our stockholders vote to ratify the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm to audit our financial statements and internal control over financial reporting for the 2021 fiscal year. You can find more information about our relationship with Ernst & Young LLP on page 68 of this proxy statement.
Proposal 3 asks that our stockholders vote to ratify the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm to audit our financial statements for the 2021 fiscal year. In the event the stockholders fail to ratify the appointment, the Audit Committee will reconsider this appointment. The Audit Committee, in its discretion, may direct the appointment of a different independent registered public accounting firm at any time during the year if the Audit Committee determines that such a change would be in our and our stockholders’ best interests.
Ernst & Young LLP has served as our independent registered public accounting firm since 2002. Representatives of Ernst & Young LLP will be present at the meeting. They will be available to respond to your questions and may make a statement if they desire.
Company Voting Recommendation
Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares represented in person or by proxy and entitled to vote on the matter. If you abstain from voting on the ratification of the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm, your abstention will have the same effect as a vote against the proposal.
The Board and the Audit Committee unanimously recommend that the stockholders vote FOR the ratification of the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2021.
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Company Information

Corporate Governance
Our business is managed under the direction of our Board of Directors. The Board delegates the conduct of the business to our senior management team. The Board held 6 meetings during 2020. All directors attended at least 75% of the total number of meetings of the Board and those committees of which the director was a member in the aggregate during 2020.
We have adopted Corporate Governance Guidelines governing the conduct of our Board. The charters of our Audit Committee, Human Resources Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, as well as our Corporate Governance Guidelines, are all posted on our web site at www.rymanhp.com (under “Corporate Governance” on the Investor Relations page).
We have also adopted a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics which is applicable to all employees, officers and directors, including the principal executive officer, the principal financial officer and the principal accounting officer. The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is available on our web site at www.rymanhp.com (under “Corporate Governance” on the Investor Relations page). We intend to post amendments to or waivers from our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (to the extent applicable to our directors, principal executive officer, principal financial officer or principal accounting officer) at this location on our website.
We will provide a copy of our Corporate Governance Guidelines, our committee charters or our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (and any amendments or waivers) to any stockholder or other person upon receipt of a written request addressed to:
Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
Attn: Corporate Secretary
One Gaylord Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
Board Leadership Structure
The Board believes that Mr. Reed’s service as both Chairman of the Board and CEO is in the best interests of the company and its stockholders. Mr. Reed
possesses a detailed knowledge of our industry as well as an understanding of both the opportunities and challenges we face. The Board thus believes that Mr. Reed is best positioned to develop agendas that ensure that the Board’s time and attention are focused on the most important matters facing the company. The Board also believes that Mr. Reed’s combined role ensures clear accountability, enhances our ability to articulate our strategy and message to our employees, stockholders and business partners and enables decisive overall leadership.
The Board has determined that it is also important to have an Independent Lead Director who will play an active role and oversee many of the functions that an independent chair would otherwise perform. The Board has adopted a description of the duties of the Independent Lead Director, which is posted on our website at www.rymanhp.com (under “Corporate Governance” on the Investor Relations page). Pursuant to this description, the Chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee serves as the company’s Independent Lead Director, and that individual is currently Michael Roth. The Company expects that following the Annual Meeting Robert Prather will be appointed as the Company’s Independent Lead Director.
Some of the primary functions of the Independent Lead Director are:
To call, convene and chair meetings of the non- management directors or independent directors and other meetings as may be necessary from time to time and, as appropriate, provide prompt feedback to the CEO;
To coordinate and develop the agenda for and chair executive sessions of the independent directors;
To coordinate feedback to the CEO on behalf of independent directors regarding business issues and management;
To be available, as appropriate, for direct communication with major stockholders who request such a communication; and
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To perform such other duties as may be necessary for the Board to fulfill its responsibilities or as may be requested by the Board as a whole, by the non-management directors, or by the Chairman of the Board.
Each of the directors other than Mr. Reed is independent, and the Board believes that the independent directors coupled with the Independent Lead Director provide effective oversight of management. Our non-management directors meet regularly in scheduled executive sessions, and the Independent Lead Director presides at these executive sessions. Following an executive session of our non-management directors, the Independent Lead Director acts as a liaison between the non-management directors and the Chairman regarding any specific feedback or issues, provides the Chairman with input regarding agenda items for Board and committee meetings, and coordinates with the Chairman regarding information to be provided to our non-management directors in performing their duties. The Board believes that this approach appropriately and effectively complements the combined CEO/Chairman structure.
Although we believe that the combination of the Chairman and CEO roles is appropriate in the current circumstances, the Board retains the authority to modify our current combined CEO/Chairman structure to best address our circumstances, if and when appropriate.
Board Attendance at Annual Meeting
We strongly encourage each member of the Board to attend the Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Due to the timing of the 2020 Annual Meeting in light of the pandemic, we were unable to conduct the annual meeting virtually in a timely manner that would have complied with Delaware law. As a result, the 2020 Annual Meeting was held in person, although interested parties were able to listen to the meeting via the teleconference line that was provided to the public in advance of the meeting. Due to the pandemic and the resulting government restrictions on gatherings in public and private places, including gatherings such as the 2020 Annual Meeting, then in place in Davidson County, Tennessee, we were unable to invite our independent directors to attend the meeting in person. Accordingly, none of our directors, other than Mr. Reed,
were able to formally attend the 2020 Annual Meeting. However, all of our directors listened to the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders via the teleconference line described above.
As described on page 72, the company plans to host the Annual Meeting in a “hybrid” format, with attendees expected to be able to formally attend the upcoming Annual Meeting either in-person or virtually. The company currently expects all directors to be in formal attendance at the Annual Meeting.
Independence of Directors
Pursuant to our Corporate Governance Guidelines, the Board undertook its annual review of director independence in February 2021. Our Board determines the independence of its members through a broad consideration of all relevant facts and circumstances, including an assessment of the materiality of any relationship between the company and a director. In making this assessment, the Board looks not only at relationships from the director’s standpoint, but also from the standpoint of persons or organizations with which the director has an affiliation. In making its determination, the Board adheres to the requirements of, and applies both the objective and subjective standards set forth by, the NYSE (as set forth in Section 303A.02 of the NYSE listed company manual), as well as the requirements and standards of the SEC and other applicable laws and regulations.
During this review, the Board considered whether there are or have been any transactions and relationships between each director, or any member of his or her immediate family, and the company and its subsidiaries and affiliates. The Board also examined whether there are or have been any transactions and relationships between the incumbent directors, or their affiliates, and members of the company’s senior management or their affiliates. The purpose of this review was to determine whether any of these relationships or transactions were inconsistent with a determination that the director is independent. The Board concluded that no such transactions existed during the relevant period. As a result of this review, the Board affirmatively determined that, with the exception of Colin Reed, all of our incumbent directors are independent of the company and its management.
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Committees of the Board
The Board maintains 3 standing committees, an Audit Committee, Human Resources Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, to facilitate and assist the Board in the execution of its responsibilities.
Audit Committee
The current members of the Audit Committee are Robert Prather (Chair and Financial Expert), Alvin Bowles, Fazal Merchant (Financial Expert) and Christine Pantoya.
The committee is a separately designated standing audit committee established in accordance with Section 3(a)(58)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The committee is responsible for, among other things:
overseeing the integrity of our financial information, the performance of our internal audit function and system of internal controls and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements relating to preparation of financial information;
appointing, compensating, retaining and overseeing our independent registered public accounting firm;
evaluating the qualifications, independence and performance of our independent registered public accounting firm;
meeting with our independent registered public accounting firm and with our director of internal audit concerning, among other things, the scope of audits and reports;
reviewing the work programs of our independent registered public accounting firm and the results of its audits; and
assessing our risk assessment and risk management policies.
The Board has determined that all the members of the committee are financially literate pursuant to the NYSE rules. The Board also has determined that Mr. Merchant and Mr. Prather are “audit committee financial experts” within the meaning stipulated by the SEC.
In 2020, the committee met 7 times.
Human Resources Committee
The current members of the Human Resources Committee are Patrick Moore (Chair), Robert Prather and Michael Roth.
The committee is responsible for, among other items:
reviewing and approving all compensation policies and programs that benefit employees, including employment and severance agreements, incentive programs, benefits and retirement programs;
reviewing and approving annually the corporate goals and objectives relative to the CEO’s compensation, evaluating the CEO’s performance in light of those objectives, and determining and approving the CEO’s compensation level based on this evaluation;
reviewing, approving and administering, and granting awards under, cash- and equity-based incentive plans; and
reviewing and approving compensation for executive officers and directors (subject to, in the case of director compensation, approval by the full Board).
The committee has also delegated to the CEO the authority to make limited equity grants to new members of our management team to allow such grants to be made in a timely manner, as the committee generally only meets on a quarterly basis. Equity grants under this delegation of authority may only be made as initial equity grants to newly hired executives (other than officers subject to Section 16 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) and on the same terms and conditions as were applied by the committee in its most recent prior equity grants. In addition, equity grants under this delegation of authority to any one executive are limited to 6,250 RSUs and must be ratified by the committee.
The committee has engaged Aon as its compensation consultant since 2013. The committee has determined that no conflict of interest exists between Aon and the company (including the company’s Board members and company management) pursuant to Item 407(e)(3)(iv) of SEC Regulation S-K. In 2020 neither Aon nor any affiliate of Aon provided any services to the company or its affiliates apart from its engagement by the committee described above.
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Aon assisted the committee in determining if its strategies and plans were advisable based on our current financial position and strategic goals, as well as developments in corporate governance and compensation design. At the committee’s request, Aon also performed several analyses, including updates to the executive salary structure and modeling of executive compensation levels at different levels of company performance, to assist the committee in its review.
For additional information regarding the committee’s processes and procedures for considering and determining executive compensation, including the role of executive officers in determining the amount or form of executive compensation, see Compensation Discussion and Analysis below.
In 2020, the committee met 4 times.
Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation
The Human Resources Committee (which functions as our compensation committee) is comprised entirely of independent directors. In addition, there are no relationships among our executive officers, members of the committee or entities whose executives serve on the Board or the committee that require disclosure under applicable regulations of the SEC.
Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
The current members of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee are Michael Roth (Chair), Rachna Bhasin and Patrick Moore.
The committee is responsible for, among other things:
developing and recommending criteria for the selection of new directors and recommending to the Board nominees for election as directors and appointment to committees;
developing and recommending changes and modifications to our corporate governance guidelines and our code of conduct to the Board;
monitoring and enforcing compliance with our corporate governance guidelines, certain provisions of our code of conduct and other policies;
monitoring and overseeing our ESG program; and
advising the Board on corporate governance matters, including as appropriate obtaining updates on corporate governance developments from professional advisors.
In 2020, the committee met 4 times.
A formal Board evaluation covering Board operations and performance, with a written evaluation from each Board member, is conducted annually by the committee to enhance Board effectiveness. Recommended changes are considered by the full Board. In addition, each Board committee conducts an annual self-evaluation.
The committee annually reviews with the Board the company’s “Statement of Expectations of Directors.” This review includes an assessment of independence, diversity, age, skills, experience and industry backgrounds in the context of the needs of the Board and the company, as well as the ability of current and prospective directors to devote sufficient time to performing their duties in an effective manner. Directors are expected to actively participate in Board discussions and exemplify the highest standards of personal and professional integrity. In particular, the committee seeks directors with established strong professional reputations and expertise in areas relevant to the strategy and operations of our businesses.
While our Corporate Governance Guidelines do not prescribe specific diversity criteria for selection of directors, as a matter of practice, the committee considers diversity in the context of the Board as a whole and takes into account diversity, including the personal characteristics (such as gender, ethnicity or age) and experience (such as industry, professional or public service) of current and prospective directors, when selecting new directors to facilitate Board deliberations that reflect a broad range of viewpoints. The committee’s charter gives it responsibility to develop and recommend criteria for the selection of new directors to the Board, including but not limited to diversity, age, skills, experience, time availability and such other criteria as the committee shall determine to be relevant at the time.
The committee also considers the impact of any changes in the employment of existing directors. In this regard, if a director changes employment, the director is required to submit a letter of resignation to the committee. The committee then reviews the director’s change of employment and determines whether the
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director’s continued service on the Board would be advisable as a result of such change. After completing this evaluation, the committee makes a recommendation to the full Board as to whether to accept the director’s resignation, and the Board makes a final determination of whether to accept the director’s resignation.
The committee considers candidates for Board membership recommended by its members and other Board members, as well as by management and stockholders. From time the time the committee may also engage a third party search firm to identify prospective Board members. The committee will only consider stockholder nominees for Board membership submitted in accordance with the procedures set forth in Submitting Stockholder Proposals and Nominations for 2022 Annual Meeting beginning on page 71.
Once the committee has identified a prospective nominee, the committee makes an initial determination as to whether to conduct a full evaluation of the candidate. This initial determination is based on whatever information is provided to the committee with the recommendation of the prospective candidate, as well as the committee’s own knowledge of the prospective candidate, which may be supplemented by inquiries to the person making the recommendation or others. The preliminary determination is based primarily on the need for additional Board members to fill vacancies or expand the size of the Board and the likelihood that the prospective nominee can satisfy the evaluation factors described below. If the committee determines, in consultation with the Chairman of the Board and other Board members as appropriate, that additional consideration is warranted, it may request additional information about the prospective nominee’s background and experience. The committee then evaluates the prospective nominee against the following standards and qualifications:
the ability of the prospective nominee to represent the interests of our stockholders;
the prospective nominee’s standards of integrity, commitment and independence of thought and judgment;
the prospective nominee’s ability to dedicate sufficient time, energy and attention to the diligent performance of his or her duties, including the prospective nominee’s service on other boards; and
the extent to which the prospective nominee contributes to the range of knowledge, diversity, skill and experience appropriate for the Board.
The committee also considers such other relevant factors as it deems appropriate, including the current composition of the Board and the evaluations of other prospective nominees. In connection with this evaluation, the committee determines whether to interview the prospective nominee, and if warranted, one or more members of the committee, and others as appropriate, will interview the prospective nominee in person or by telephone. After completing this evaluation and interview, the committee makes a recommendation to the full Board as to whether this prospective nominee and any other prospective nominees should be nominated by the Board, and the Board determines the nominees after considering the recommendation and report of the committee.
Mr. Brickman was initially identified to the committee as a potential director nominee by an existing director, Patrick Moore. After a review of the qualifications, expertise and experience of Mr. Brickman and other candidates, the committee ultimately recommended to the full Board that Mr. Brickman become a nominee for director.
New directors participate in an orientation program that includes discussions with senior management, their review of background materials on our strategic plan, organization and financial statements and visits to our facilities. We encourage each director to participate in continuing educational programs that are important to maintaining a director’s level of expertise to perform his or her responsibilities as a Board member.
Majority Voting Standard for Director Elections
Our Corporate Governance Guidelines and Bylaws provide for a majority voting standard in uncontested director elections. Under these provisions, any director nominee in an uncontested election will be elected to the Board if the votes cast for such nominee’s election exceed the votes cast against such nominee’s election at any meeting for the election of directors at which a quorum is present (with abstentions and broker non-votes not counted as votes cast either for or against such election). In addition, under our Corporate Governance Guidelines, each director agrees, by serving as a director or by accepting nomination for
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election as a director, that if while serving as a director he or she fails to receive the required majority vote in a director election, he or she will tender his or her resignation as a director for consideration by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and, ultimately, the Board, as described below.
In the event any incumbent director nominee does not receive the requisite majority vote, our Corporate Governance Guidelines provide that our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will evaluate the circumstances of the failed election and will make a recommendation regarding the director’s resignation to the full Board and will evaluate the resignation in light of the best interests of the company and its stockholders in determining whether to recommend accepting or rejecting the tendered resignation, or whether other action should be taken. Thereafter, the Board will act upon the resignation, taking into account the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and will publicly disclose (by a press release, a filing with the SEC or other broadly disseminated means of communication) its decision regarding the tendered resignation and the rationale behind the decision within 90 days of the certification of the election results. In such event, if the Board accepts the resignation, the nominee will no longer serve on the Board, and if the Board rejects the resignation, the nominee will continue to serve until his or her successor has been duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier disqualification, death, resignation or removal.
Director Refreshment
The Board of Directors does not believe in imposing term limits or a mandatory retirement age as such policies may result in the loss of experienced directors who have developed expertise and insights into the Company’s business, strategy and industry. The Board recognizes the importance of an appropriate balance of experience and fresh perspectives and considers the overall mix of age and tenure on the Board. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee evaluates, at least annually, the Board’s composition to ensure that the Board maintains complementary and diverse skill sets, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences for its continued effectiveness.
The Board intends to maintain an orderly turnover of members of the Board over time, with the goal of having a mix of years of tenure of Board members between those who have served longer term, medium term, or shorter term.
Prior to 2020, the Board had maintained in effect a mandatory director retirement policy, which required non-management directors reaching the age of 75 to either (at the option of the director): (1) retire effective as of the date of the annual meeting of stockholders next following the director’s 75th birthday; or (2) not stand for re-election at the next annual meeting of stockholders. Given the recent completion of the Board’s multi-year refreshment process, pursuant to which all of our independent directors other than Mr. Prather have been added to the Board since 2015, and in light of the challenges the company is currently facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board believes it is in the best interests of the company to move away from a strict director age or tenure limit and to incorporate the holistic review process described above.
Director Emeritus Program
Our Board has created a director emeritus program to avail itself of the counsel of retiring directors who have made and can continue to make a unique contribution to the deliberations of the Board. Under the program, the Board may, at its discretion, designate a retiring director as director emeritus for one or more one-year terms following the director’s retirement. A director emeritus may provide advisory services as requested from time to time and may be invited to attend meetings of the Board, but may not vote, be counted for quorum purposes or have any of the duties or obligations imposed on our directors or officers under applicable law or otherwise be considered a director. The Board currently anticipates appointing Michael Roth as a director emeritus for an initial one-year term following Mr. Roth’s retirement as a director, effective as of the 2021 Annual Meeting.
CEO Pay Ratio
The Dodd-Frank Act requires that we disclose the ratio of CEO pay in 2020 to the median employee pay of all our employees, other than the CEO, calculated in accordance with Item 402(u) of SEC Regulation S-K. In making this calculation, we first identified the company’s median employee by examining the 2020
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total cash compensation for all individuals, excluding our CEO, who were employed by us on December 31, 2020, the last day of our payroll year. We included all employees, whether employed on a full-time, part-time or seasonal basis (for purposes of this calculation, a total of 986 employees). We did not make any assumptions, adjustments or estimates with respect to total cash compensation, except that we annualized the compensation for all full- and part-time employees who were not employed by us for all of 2020. We selected total cash compensation for all employees as our compensation measure because we do not widely distribute annual equity awards to employees. We then identified the company’s median employee based on total cash compensation, and we determined that such median employee served as a ticketing representative in our Entertainment business segment and averaged an approximately 36-hour work week during 2020.
As required by SEC rules, for purposes of calculating the pay ratio, pay for the median employee and for our CEO were determined using the methodology set forth in our 2020 Summary Compensation Table on page 49 below. Using this methodology, we determined that a reasonable estimate of the 2020 total compensation of our median employee was $19,135 and that the total compensation of our CEO was $4,443,270.
In addition to the pay ratio disclosure required by the Dodd-Frank Act, we believe that it is also important to take into consideration:
the nature of our overall employee base, which contains a small number of full-time employees dedicated to our hospitality REIT business segment and a larger number of full- and part-time employees working in our Entertainment business segment (with many of our part-time employees only working a few hours each week at various times to service the numerous concerts and other events at our entertainment venues); and
the fact that, unlike many chief executives, our CEO oversees two lines of business, a hospitality REIT and an entertainment operating company.
As a result, we believe that it is appropriate to also provide two additional supplemental calculations that reflect the pay ratio of the total compensation of our CEO to (1) the total compensation of the median of all
full-time employees, and (2) the total compensation of the median of the full-time employees of our REIT entity (comprising our Hospitality business segment).
Accordingly, we determined that the following were reasonable estimates of the pay ratio required to be disclosed by Item 402(a) of SEC Regulation S-K, as well as the supplemental pay ratios described above:
Dodd-Frank Act Pay Ratio Information
 
CEO to Median Employee Pay Ratio
(Calculated in Accordance with Item 402(u) of SEC Regulation S-K)
232:1
Supplemental Pay Ratio Information(1)
CEO to Median Employee Pay Ratio
(Full-Time Employees Only)(2)
91:1
CEO to Median Employee Pay Ratio
(Full-Time REIT Employees Only)(3)
41:1
(1)
The supplemental ratios listed above were calculated based on the total compensation paid to our CEO and to the median employees identified above using the methodology set forth in our 2020 Summary Compensation Table on page 49 below.
(2)
For purposes of calculating this supplemental pay ratio, only full-time employees of the company as of December 31, 2020 (a total of 475 employees) were included in the determination of the median company employee.
(3)
For purposes of calculating this supplemental pay ratio, only full-time employees employed by our REIT entity (comprising our Hospitality business segment) as of December 31, 2020 (a total of 77 employees) were included in the determination of the median company employee.
In designing our CEO’s compensation in 2020, our Human Resources Committee was mindful of the need to provide a market-competitive compensation package with a significant element of equity-based and performance-based compensation (not generally available to our employee base), which the committee believes is in the best interests of the company and its stockholders. Additionally, the committee monitors management’s determination of compensation at all levels of the company (including through pay surveys and other market assessments), based on each employee’s position, skill level and experience, and the committee believes that our compensation practices as a whole are fair and competitive with others in the marketplace.
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Compensation Clawback
In 2015 the SEC issued proposed rules regarding the adoption of “clawback” policies by publicly listed companies in accordance with the requirements of Section 954 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”). When final SEC rules implementing these requirements have become effective, publicly listed companies will be required to adopt a “clawback” policy providing for the recovery of certain incentive-based compensation from the executive officers of the company in the event the company is required to restate its financials as a result of material noncompliance of the company with any financial reporting requirements under the securities laws.
In order to ensure full compliance with these SEC rules, we intend to adopt our own formal clawback policy applicable to our executive officers complying with such rules once these final rules have been adopted by the SEC. In addition, Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires the recovery of incentive awards in certain circumstances. If we are required to restate our financials due to material noncompliance with any financial reporting requirements as a result of misconduct, our CEO and CFO will be required under Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to reimburse us for (1) any bonus or other incentive- or equity-based compensation received during the 12 months following the first public issuance of the non-complying document, and (2) any profits realized from the sale of our securities during such 12 month period. Our omnibus incentive plan also provides that any award made to a participant under the plan will be subject to mandatory repayment by the participant to us to the extent required by (a) any award agreement, (b) any “clawback” or recoupment policy adopted by the company to comply with the requirements of any applicable laws, rules or regulations, including final SEC rules adopted pursuant to Section 954 of the Dodd-Frank Act, or otherwise, or (c) any applicable laws which impose mandatory recoupment, under circumstances set forth in such applicable laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Board’s Role in Risk Oversight
The Board as a whole has responsibility for oversight of the company’s enterprise risk management function, with reviews of certain areas being conducted by the relevant Board committees that report on their
deliberations to the Board. The oversight responsibility of the Board and its committees is made possible by a management report process that is designed to provide both visibility and transparency to the Board about the identification, assessment and management of critical risks and management’s risk mitigation strategies. In this regard, each committee meets in executive session with key management personnel and representatives of outside advisors (for example, our director of internal audit meets in executive session with the Audit Committee). The areas of focus of the Board and its committees include competitive, economic, operational, financial (accounting, credit, liquidity and tax), legal, compliance, information technology security programs (including cybersecurity), political and reputational risks.
The Board and its committees oversee risks associated with their respective principal areas of focus, as outlined below:
Board/
Committee
Primary Areas
of Risk Oversight
Board of
Directors:
Enterprise risk management, including strategic, financial and execution risks associated with the annual operating plan and the long-term plan; major litigation and regulatory exposures; acquisitions and divestitures; senior management succession planning; information technology security programs (including cybersecurity) and other current matters that may be material risks to the company.
Audit
Committee:
Risks and exposures associated with financial matters, including financial reporting, tax, accounting, disclosure, internal control over financial reporting, financial policies, investment guidelines and credit and liquidity.
Nominating and CG Committee:
Risks and exposures relating to corporate governance, director succession planning and ESG/corporate social responsibility issues.
Human
Resources
Committee:
Risks and exposures associated with leadership assessment, management succession planning and compensation programs.
We believe that the Board’s role in risk oversight is facilitated by the leadership structure of the Board. In this regard, we believe that, by combining the positions of Chairman of the Board and CEO, the Board gains a valuable perspective that combines the operational experience of a member of management with the
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oversight focus of a member of the Board. We also believe that the division of risk management-related roles among the company’s full Board, Audit Committee, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Human Resource Committee as noted above fosters an atmosphere of significant involvement in the oversight of risk at the Board level and complements our risk management policies.
The Board, in executive sessions of non-management directors (which are presided over by the company’s Independent Lead Director), also considers and discusses risk-related matters. This provides a forum for risk-related matters to be discussed without management or the Chairman of the Board and CEO present. The company’s Independent Lead Director acts as a liaison between the company’s Chairman of the Board and CEO and the company’s independent directors to the extent that any risk-related matters discussed at these executive sessions require additional feedback or action.
In setting compensation, the Human Resources Committee also considers the risks to our stockholders that may be inherent in our compensation programs. We believe that our compensation programs are appropriately structured and provide for a suitable balance between long-term and short-term compensation and have an appropriate performance-based and “at risk” component. We also believe that our compensation policies and practices do not create risks that are reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on the company.
Information Security
Given the importance of information security to our company, the Audit Committee receives regular reports from our chief financial officer, our chief information officer and our vice-president of internal audit regarding our program for managing our information security risks, including data privacy and protection risks faced by the company. Our information security risk mitigation efforts, which are overseen by the Audit Committee, include a regular information security training program for employees, the introduction of information security concepts as part of our new employee onboarding process and regular third party assessments of our information security program. We also maintain an insurance policy that provides coverage for security breaches.
Environmental, Social and Governance Program
We have created an ESG program, as we believe such a program is an integral part of our operating strategy. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board oversees our ESG program efforts. We also have a management-level ESG steering committee, which supports our commitment to ESG and other public policy matters.
The pillars of our ESG program are as follows:
Good Corporate Governance. As described more fully in Corporate Governance Highlights on page 7, we strive to maintain good corporate governance practices, which we believe are a key component in the creation of stockholder value.
Environmental Sustainability. Our focus on sustainability is exemplified by our commitment to the following four principles:
Conservation, including through energy and water conservation and reduction of waste;
Preservation, including through preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the locations of our properties;
Personification, including putting people first by investing in them and facilitating a people-centric culture in our businesses; and
Innovation, including the pursuit of sustainable growth by enhancing the value of our brands and assets through investments, technology and environmental best practices.
We also believe it is important to address climate and resource issues by measuring our progress in improving the environmental footprint of our hotel properties. Specifically, we are working with Marriott, the operator of our hotel properties, to establish baselines for our energy, water and waste usage for our hotel portfolio. We also continue to work with Marriott to implement new, and to expand existing, programs at our hotels to minimize risk and enhance value.
Corporate Citizenship. We strive to be a good corporate citizen in the markets in which we operate through financial and volunteer support of worthy causes, as well as through direct community engagement. Our charitable foundation, which has a primary focus on youth,
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education and the arts, supports many organizations in our community, including the PENCIL Foundation and YMCA of Middle Tennessee’s Camp Widjiwagan.

We also believe it is important to ensure the safety of our employees and guests, to uphold labor rights and take steps to prevent sexual harassment of our employees. Finally, we think it is important to respect and uphold fundamental human rights, and to work to eradicate modern slavery from the industries in which we operate and the supply chains of those industries.
Diversity and Inclusion. We have committed to transforming our approach to diversity and inclusion by building upon past successes and focusing on key areas for improvement. While our company has a strong track record of fair employment practices, we acknowledge there is more work to be done to create an inclusive experience for all employees and recruit more minority candidates to the business. In 2020, we carried out a deep examination of our diversity and inclusion practices and began instituting new initiatives to be a stronger community partner and agent for change. That work included a commitment from our Chairman and CEO Colin Reed, who shared the Company’s four-pronged promise to directly impact diversity and inclusion within the organization and in our communities as follows:
A commitment to educational partnerships that encourage minority candidates to pursue careers in the hospitality and entertainment industries while also creating direct paths to leadership roles.
A commitment to increasing efforts to identify and showcase diverse talent on our Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry and Ole Red stages, as well as to using our marketing platforms to amplify diverse artists’ contributions to country music.
A commitment to holding all levels of leadership accountable for efforts to foster an inclusive environment through specific annual performance goals related to training, leadership development and talent review processes.
A commitment to increasing our advocacy efforts for inclusive policies at the state, local and federal levels, including through actively lobbying against discriminatory legislation.
Workforce Composition and Minority Representation
We are committed to equal employment opportunity (EEO), and it is our policy to provide EEO to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex (i.e., pregnancy, gender identity, or sexual orientation), national origin, age, mental and/or physical disability, genetic information or military status. At December 31, 2020, we employed 995 people, including 476 full-time and 519 part-time and on-call employees. Fifty-five percent of our employees identify as female, and 45% identify as male. Women held 47% of leadership positions as of December 31, 2020.
In 2020, we began to enhance our recruitment initiatives to attract, employ and develop more minority candidates. In 2020, these efforts included establishing relationships with diverse Nashville-area community groups in preparation for future open positions and developing a protocol to ensure a diverse candidate pool is identified and interviewed for all senior open positions, director-level and above. We have also increased our presence and partnerships with local schools and universities to hire more diverse graduates at our venues and engage these graduates in career development programs.
In 2021 we plan to launch a management development and mentoring program for high-potential employees, with an emphasis on diverse participants. In addition, we intend to promote our diversity and inclusion mission more prominently across our career platforms.
We also intend to provide more information about our workforce in our 2020 ESG report, described below.
ESG Program Report
For more information about our ESG program, including our 2019 ESG report, which provides a detailed overview of our ESG efforts and progress, and our ESG steering committee charter, please visit our website at:
https://rymanhospitalitypropertiesinc.gcs-
web.com/sustainability
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Please note that our website is provided as an inactive textual reference and the information on our website is not incorporated by reference in this proxy statement.
We expect to publish our 2020 ESG report, providing an update on our ESG efforts and progress to date, in the third quarter of 2021.
Restrictions on Hedging and Pledging of Company Stock
Our insider trading policy restricts our executive officers and directors from engaging in any transactions designed to hedge or otherwise offset any decrease in the fair market value of our equity securities. Our insider trading policy also prohibits executive officers and directors from pledging or otherwise encumbering a significant amount of equity securities (generally defined as the lesser of 0.50% of our outstanding equity securities or 10% of the equity securities owned by the individual) without prior approval of the Human Resources Committee.
Proxy Solicitation
We will bear the cost of soliciting proxies for the meeting. We have retained Morrow Sodali LLC to assist in the solicitation and will pay them approximately $6,000. Our officers may also solicit proxies by mail, telephone, e-mail or facsimile transmission, but we will not reimburse them for their efforts. Upon request, we will reimburse brokers, dealers, banks and trustees, or their nominees, for reasonable expenses incurred by them in forwarding proxy materials.
Shareholder Outreach
We believe that our relationship with our stockholders is an important part of our corporate governance program. Our stockholder and investor outreach generally includes investor road shows, analyst meetings, investor days and investor conferences and meetings. We also communicate with our stockholders through our SEC filings (including our annual report and proxy statement), press releases and our website. In addition, our conference calls for quarterly earnings releases are available to anyone in real time and on an archived basis. During 2020 we also reached out to our 21 largest stockholders who have a policy of engaging with portfolio companies, representing approximately 54% of our outstanding shares, to engage in a dialogue regarding their areas of focus and concern.
The primary corporate governance issues raised by our stockholders during 2020 were as follows:
Continued Focus on Executive Compensation. Several investors asked that we provide disclosure with respect to the rationale for our compensation decisions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including with respect to cash bonus awards made to our CEO and our NEOs to the extent such awards are not paid based on our achievement of financial results pursuant to the terms of our annual short-term incentive compensation plan. Taking this feedback into account, we have included additional information about this topic for 2020 in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 32.
Continued Focus on ESG Efforts, Including Additional Information on our Diversity and Inclusion Efforts. Several investors continue to ask that we provide an enhanced level of reporting regarding our ESG policies and procedures, as well as additional information regarding our diversity and inclusion efforts. Taking this feedback into account, we have taken the actions described in Environmental, Social and Governance on page 27 above. We also expect to incorporate this feedback into our 2020 ESG report, which we expect to publish in the third quarter of 2021.
Communications with the Board of Directors
Those interested in communicating with the Board may write to Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., Attn: Corporate Secretary, One Gaylord Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37214. The Corporate Secretary reviews all such correspondence and regularly forwards to the Board a summary of all such correspondence and copies of all correspondence that, in the opinion of our Corporate Secretary, deals with the functions of the Board or committees thereof or that he otherwise determines requires their attention. Directors may review a log of all correspondence addressed to members of the Board and request copies of any such correspondence.
Concerns relating to accounting, internal controls or auditing matters are immediately brought to the attention of our internal audit department and handled in accordance with procedures established by the Audit Committee. Stockholders, employees and other interested parties may communicate directly with our Independent Lead Director, individual independent directors or the independent directors as a group by email at boardofdirectors@rymanhp.com.
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Stock Ownership
The table below lists the beneficial ownership of our common stock as of March 26, 2021 (unless otherwise noted) by all directors, director nominees each of our NEOs, and the directors, director nominees and executive officers as a group. The table also lists all institutions and individuals known to hold more than 5% of our common stock, as obtained from SEC filings. The percentages shown are based on outstanding shares of common stock as of March 26, 2021. Unless otherwise noted, the address for each person listed is our principal office.
Beneficial Stock Ownership of Directors, Executive Officers and Large Stockholders Table
Name
Shares
Owned(1)
Director
Deferred
Restricted
Stock
Units(2)
Stock
Options
Exercisable
Total
Shares
Owned
% of Total
Outstanding
Colin Reed, NEO and Director
1,416,918(3)
1,416,918
2.6%
Rachna Bhasin, Director
7,990(4)
7,990
*
Alvin Bowles, Director
2,518(4)
2,587
5,105
*
Christian Brickman, Director Nominee
*
Fazal Merchant, Director
5,678(4)
5,678
*
Patrick Moore, Director
2,500(4)
11,805
14,305
*
Christine Pantoya, Director
3,968(4)
3,968
*
Robert Prather, Director
3,960
29,567
33,527
*
Michael Roth, Director
41,212(4)
41,212
*
Mark Fioravanti, NEO
214,706
214,706
*
Patrick Chaffin, NEO
20,396
20,396
*
Scott Lynn, NEO
16,166
16,166
*
Jennifer Hutcheson, NEO
12,081
12,081
*
All directors and executive officers
(as a group)
1,748,093
43,959
​1,792,052
3.3%
The Vanguard Group
7,258,121(5)
7,258,121
13.2%
BlackRock, Inc.
5,137,996(6)
5,137,996
9.3%
*
Less than one percent.
(1)
With respect to our NEOs, directors, director nominees and executive officers, this column includes shares of common stock issuable upon the vesting of RSUs that will vest on or prior to May 26, 2021. For a listing of the RSUs held by NEOs, see Outstanding Equity Awards at 2020 Fiscal Year End below. For a listing of the RSUs held by non-employee directors, see Director Compensation below.
(2)
Represents RSUs awarded to directors which have vested but receipt has been deferred. Also includes RSUs issued in lieu of cash director fees to participating directors. Directors may elect to defer receipt of RSUs awarded under our current and former omnibus incentive plans until either a specified date or the director’s retirement or resignation from the Board. This column reflects shares issuable to each director at the end of the applicable deferral period.
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(3)
Includes 648,290 shares credited to Mr. Reed’s SERP, as defined in Other Compensation InformationNonqualified Deferred Compensation below. Mr. Reed does not have voting or investment power with respect to these shares, and his sole right is to receive these shares upon termination of employment in accordance with the terms of his employment agreement.
(4)
For Ms. Bhasin, Mr. Merchant, Mr. Moore, Ms. Pantoya and Mr. Roth, includes 2,500 shares each issuable upon the vesting of RSUs on May 13, 2021. For Mr. Bowles, includes 1,884 shares issuable upon the vesting of RSUs on or prior to May 26, 2021.
(5)
Based on information in Amendment Number 8 to Schedule 13G filed with the SEC on February 10, 2021
by The Vanguard Group, which has sole voting power with respect to 0 shares, shared voting power with respect to 219,233 shares, sole dispositive power with respect to 6,996,501 shares and shared dispositive power with respect to 261,620 shares. The address for the reporting persons is 100 Vanguard Boulevard, Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355.
(6)
Based on information in Amendment No. 10 to Schedule 13G filed with the SEC on February 1, 2021 by BlackRock, Inc., which has sole voting power with respect to 4,994,425 shares and sole dispositive power with respect to 5,137,996 shares. The address for the reporting person is 55 East 52nd Street, New York, New York 10005.
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Compensation Discussion and Analysis
Executive Summary
Overview
Our executive compensation programs are designed to attract, retain and motivate qualified, knowledgeable and talented executives who are capable of performing their responsibilities. In designing our executive compensation programs, our goals are to ensure that:
A significant portion of the total compensation paid to each named executive officer, or NEO, is in the form of “at risk” pay in order to create proper incentives for our executives to achieve corporate and individual objectives and to both maximize stockholder value over the long-term and to align pay with stockholders’ interests;
A strong pay-for-performance philosophy synchronizes incentive payments with actual financial and business results relative to performance expectations;
Our pay decisions are transparent to all stakeholders and tethered to sound governance measures; and
Total compensation opportunity throughout our organization is market competitive to support recruitment and retention.
Our corporate objectives are to continue to increase funds available for distribution to our stockholders and to create long-term stockholder value. Consistent with
these goals and objectives, the Human Resources Committee, which acts as our compensation committee, has developed and approved an executive compensation program providing for a range of compensation levels for our NEOs with the intent of rewarding strong performance and reducing compensation when our performance objectives are not achieved.
For purposes of this Compensation Discussion and Analysis, our NEOs are:
Colin Reed, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer (our principal executive officer);
Mark Fioravanti, President & Chief Financial Officer (our principal financial officer);
Patrick Chaffin, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer - Hotels;
Scott Lynn, Executive Vice President & General Counsel;
Jennifer Hutcheson, Executive Vice President, Corporate Controller & Chief Accounting Officer; and
Bennett Westbrook, our former Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer (who resigned effective September 1, 2020).
Company Highlights—2020 Financial and Operating Highlights
Our financial results in 2020 were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the closure of our businesses for a significant period of time during the first half of 2020. We were able to re-open most of our businesses in the second half of 2020, but our operations for the remainder of the year were materially impacted by governmental restrictions on group meetings and live events, as well as customer sentiment relating to the pandemic. During 2020 our total revenue decreased approximately 67% from 2019 to $524.5 million, and we experienced:
a consolidated net loss of $460.8 million (as compared to consolidated net income of $128.3 million in 2019); and
consolidated Adjusted EBITDAre, excluding non-controlling interest in consolidated joint venture of ($44.3) million (as compared to consolidated Adjusted EBITDAre, excluding non-controlling interest in consolidated joint venture of $479.4 million in 2019).
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Our efforts in 2020 principally were focused on efforts to stabilize our businesses and our company’s financial condition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts included a significant focus on reducing the company’s monthly cash operating expenditures, as well as creating and implementing strategies for safely re-opening our businesses on a limited basis in light of the pandemic and with a further strategic focus in our hospitality business on rebooking cancelled group room nights in future years. We also suspended our quarterly dividend following payment of our first quarter 2020 dividend in a further effort to reduce our cash expenditures during 2020.
We believe that our efforts during 2020 will enable our company to successfully emerge from the pandemic as vaccines become widely available over the course of 2021 and the hospitality and entertainment sectors continue their recovery. We will continue to focus on our long-term strategic objectives of increasing funds available for distribution to our stockholders and creating long-term stockholder value.
Company Highlights—Total Stockholder Return
The following chart shows how a $100 investment in our common stock on December 31, 2015 would have grown to $163.44 on December 31, 2020, with dividends reinvested quarterly. The chart also compares the TSR of our common stock to the same investment in the S&P 500 Index and the FTSE NAREIT Equity REITs Index over the same period, with dividends reinvested quarterly.

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The stock price performance included in this graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.
 
12/15
12/16
12/17
12/18
12/19
12/20
Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
100.00
129.20
148.68
150.08
203.63
163.44
S&P 500
100.00
111.96
136.40
130.42
171.49
203.04
FTSE NAREIT Equity REITs
100.00
108.52
114.19
108.91
137.23
126.25
Company Highlights—Compensation Practices
In designing our compensation programs, we are mindful of the risks to our stockholders that may be inherent in our compensation programs, and we attempt to utilize compensation practices that mitigate these risks. In designing our compensation programs, we also have considered feedback from our investors and other relevant third parties. Our compensation program includes the following compensation practices:
Pay for Performance—We tie pay to performance in a manner that we believe advances our stockholders’ interests by paying a significant portion of our NEOs’ total compensation opportunities in the form of variable compensation payable upon the performance of short- and long-term performance targets. As described below under 2020 Compensation Decisions on page 37, 53.7% of our CEO’s total target compensation and 49.4% of our other NEOs’ target total compensation (on average) was performance-based in 2020.
Design of Our Short-Term Cash Incentive Compensation Program—As described below under Short-Term Cash Incentive Compensation on page 39, our annual short-term cash incentive compensation plan is performance-based, and the plan does not have minimum payout levels (i.e., all of this compensation is “at risk”). Compensation pursuant to our short-term cash incentive compensation plan (assuming achievement at the target level of performance) represented 26.6% of our CEO’s total target compensation, and 26.8% of our other NEOs’ target total compensation (on average), for 2020.
As described below under Short-Term Cash Incentive Compensation on page 39, in 2020 no adjustments were made to the annual short-term cash incentive compensation plan in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, and based on our financial performance no amounts were earned or paid under our short-term cash incentive compensation plan in 2020. Each active NEO other than Mr. Reed was awarded a modest discretionary cash bonus for 2020 in recognition of their efforts to stabilize our businesses and financial condition following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. Mr. Reed, our CEO, voluntarily agreed to forego a discretionary cash bonus award for 2020.
Design of Our Long-Term Equity Incentive Compensation Program—As described below under Long-Term Equity Incentive Compensation on page 41, a significant portion of our NEOs’ long-term incentive compensation is in the form of performance-based RSUs which vest based on our achievement of TSR compared to the TSR of a designated peer group and other comparable companies. As described on page 42 below, there is no minimum payout level associated with performance-based RSU awards (i.e., all of this compensation is “at risk”). As described on page 42 below, there is also a cap on the total amount of compensation which may earned in connection with a performance-based RSU award.
Additionally, we believe as a general matter that “mid-stream” changes should not be made to previously granted performance-based awards. Accordingly, no changes were made in 2020 to previously-granted performance-based awards as a result of economic conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meaningful Stock Ownership and Retention Guidelines for Executives and Directors—Our stock ownership guidelines require meaningful levels of stock ownership by our executives (including 5x base salary for our CEO) and directors. In addition, any officer or director who does not meet the applicable stock ownership guideline (regardless of any compliance grace period) must hold at least 50% of the net shares received in any RSU vesting. See Stock Ownership and Retention Guidelines on page 44 below.
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No “Single Trigger” Cash Payments Upon a Change of Control—As described in Post-Termination Benefits on page 45 below, the employment and severance arrangements with our NEOs require a “double trigger” (requiring both a change of control and termination of employment) for cash severance payments following a change of control.
No Tax “Gross Ups” For Severance Payments—As described in Post-Termination Benefits on page 45 below, we do not provide excise or other tax “gross up” payments in connection with any severance payment made to an NEO.
2020 Compensation Summary
The charts below illustrate the balance of the elements of target total compensation(1) during 2020 for Mr. Reed, our CEO, and the average of the other NEOs.


As the charts above indicate, a significant portion of our NEOs’ target total compensation is performance-based and tied to stock performance, thus aligned with the interests of our stockholders. Target total compensation for our CEO is weighted more toward long-term incentives than the other NEOs, as the Human Resources Committee wants to encourage our CEO, in particular, to focus on our long-term growth.
(1)
Percentage of total compensation as calculated above is based on the 2020 base salary and the value of executive-level perquisites paid to the NEO which were not paid generally to all employees, the 2020 short-term incentive compensation plan award (assuming achievement at the target level (no awards were payable to the NEOs based on 2020 performance pursuant to the terms of the 2020 short-term incentive compensation plan, although modest discretionary cash bonus awards were made to each active NEO other than Mr. Reed, as described below)), the grant date fair value of the performance-based RSU awards granted in February 2020 to each NEO (assuming vesting at the target achievement level) and the grant date fair value of the time-based RSU awards granted in February 2020 to each NEO. Each compensation element is outlined in more detail in the 2020 Summary Compensation Table set forth on page 49 below. Average target total compensation for the other NEOs (excluding Mr. Reed, our CEO) presented in this proxy statement does not include Bennett Westbrook, our former EVP & Chief Development Officer, who resigned effective September 1, 2020.
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Our Compensation Program
The key elements of the compensation program for our executive officers are:
Compensation
Element
Key
Characteristics
Why We Pay
This Element
Considerations in
Determining
the Amount of Pay
2020
Decisions
Base Salary
• Fixed compensation.
Payable in cash.
• Reviewed annually and adjusted when appropriate.
• To attract and retain qualified executives.
• Compensate for roles and responsibilities.
• Level of responsibility.
• Individual skills, experience and performance.
Prior to the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, our CEO received a 10% increase in base salary, and our other NEOs (on average) received a 12.9% increase in base salary, for 2020. Our NEOs voluntarily agreed not to accept these base salary increases for 2020.

In addition, our NEOs voluntarily agreed to forego a portion of their base salaries during 2020, with these amounts being repaid to each active NEO in March 2021. See page 38.
Short-Term Cash Incentive Compensation
• Variable compensation.
• Payable in cash based on performance against annually established performance objectives.
• Reviewed annually and adjusted from year to year when appropriate.
• Motivate and reward executives.
• Incentivizes the executives to meet our short-term financial and operational objectives.
• Adjusted Funds from Operations, or AFFO, was the basis for the financial goal for the plan (and was the only goal for all NEOs except Mr. Reed, whose goals were based 75% on the financial goal and 25% on designated strategic objectives, as described below).
Based on performance relative to the financial goal (and, in the case of our CEO, performance relative to designated strategic objectives), no amounts were earned or paid for 2020.

Each active NEO other than Mr. Reed was awarded a modest discretionary cash bonus in recognition of their efforts to stabilize our businesses and financial condition following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Reed voluntarily agreed to forego a cash bonus award for 2020. See page 40.
Long-Term EquityIncentive Compensation
• Variable compensation.
• Performance- based RSUs vesting over a three-year performance period.
• Time-based RSUs vesting ratably over four years.
• Motivate and reward executives.
•  Aligns the interests of executives and stockholders and focuses the executives on long-term objectives over a multi-year period.
• Encourages retention through long-term vesting.
Performance-Based Awards
 RSUs vest based on TSR relative to designated peer groups over a 3-year performance period.
 Awards pay out at a range from 0% to 150% of target with no shares earned for performance below 50% of financial target.
Time-Based Awards
 RSUs which vest in 25% increments over 4 years.
The mix of long-term equity incentive awards granted to NEOs in 2020 was approximately 50% performance-based RSUs and 50% time-based RSUs.

No changes were made to these, or any previously-granted, RSU awards. See page 43.
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Compensation
Element
Key
Characteristics
Why We Pay
This Element
Considerations in
Determining
the Amount of Pay
2020
Decisions
Other Benefits
• Fixed compensation.
• Participation in broad-based plans at same cost as other employees.
• Certain executive-level perquisites not paid generally to our other employees.
• Allow senior executives to participate in broad-based employee benefit programs.
• Provide competitive benefits to promote the health and well-being of our executive officers.
• Level of benefits provided to all employees.
• Benefits provided by other similarly-positioned companies.
Our NEOs received only modest executive-level perquisites. See page 43.
2020 Compensation Decisions
Our Human Resources Committee (which functions as our compensation committee) annually reviews our executive compensation program to determine how well actual compensation targets and levels meet our overall compensation philosophy and to compare our compensation programs to our peers. The committee also oversees our compensation programs.
Compensation Peer Group
For 2020, the committee used a compensation peer group of the following 13 companies:
American Campus
Communities, Inc.
Park Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc.
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust
Chatham Lodging Trust
RLJ Lodging Trust
DiamondRock Hospitality Co.
Summit Hotel Properties, Inc.
Hersha Hospitality Trust
Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc.
Kilroy Realty Corp.
Xenia Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc.
The committee believes, based on Aon’s recommendation, that these companies are the most relevant peer group against which to review compensation for our NEOs, as such companies are all REITs with a focus on lodging, apartments or other real estate investments and have an implied market capitalization and/or total enterprise value within a range similar to the company. This peer group had total enterprise value ranging from approximately $1.2 billion to $19.1 billion as of December 31, 2020, compared to the company’s total enterprise value of approximately $6.3 billion as of December 31, 2020. This peer group was identical to the peer group we used in 2019.
The committee annually determines whether our overall executive compensation program is consistent with our business strategy and promotes our compensation philosophy. In determining target total annual compensation for each NEO, the committee relies on its general experience and subjective considerations of various factors, including our strategic business goals, information with respect to the peer group set forth above, proprietary and publicly available compensation surveys and data with respect to REITs and other public companies provided by Aon, and each executive officer’s position, experience, level of responsibility, individual job performance, contributions to our corporate performance, job tenure and future potential.
The committee does not set specific targets or utilize any formulaic benchmarks for overall compensation or for allocations between fixed and performance-based compensation, cash and non-cash compensation or short-term and long-term compensation. In addition, the committee uses proprietary and publicly available compensation surveys and data with respect to REITs and other public companies provided by our compensation consultant, Aon, to obtain a general understanding of current compensation practices, including to confirm that the base salary and other elements of target total compensation opportunity for our executive officers is at a market-competitive level.
The committee does not specifically target or benchmark in any formulaic manner any element of compensation or the total compensation payable to NEOs based on these factors.
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Base Salary
Base salary is designed to compensate our NEOs for their roles and responsibilities and to provide a secure level of guaranteed cash compensation. We have employment agreements with Mr. Reed and Mr. Fioravanti (and Mr. Westbrook had an employment agreement prior to his resignation) that provide for a minimum base salary. We have severance agreements with Mr. Chaffin, Mr. Lynn and Ms. Hutcheson that do not provide for any minimum base salary.
Each NEO’s base salary was set based on:
the executive’s roles and responsibilities; and
the executive’s skills, experience and performance.
In 2020, base salary represented 18.0% of our CEO’s total compensation package and (on average) 28.5% of our other NEOs’ total compensation package (calculated in the manner described on page 35). The committee annually reviews the base salaries of each NEO and may make adjustments based on individual performance and changes in roles and responsibilities.
February 2020 Committee Decisions. At its February 20, 2020 meeting, which occurred prior to the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the committee reviewed the existing base salaries and perquisites for our NEOs. Specifically, the committee considered each NEO’s current base pay, taking into account base salary levels paid to persons holding similar positions at peer companies, as well as the previous adjustments made to each NEO’s base salary in 2019.
Based on its review, the committee determined that a 10% increase in Mr. Reed’s base salary was necessary to continue to maintain a market-competitive level of compensation for Mr. Reed, taking into account his experience level and his oversight of two lines of business, a hospitality REIT and an entertainment operating company. The committee also increased the base salaries of the other NEOs, in order to maintain a market-competitive level of compensation for these executives, based on the review described above. The committee determined that a larger increase to Ms. Hutcheson’s base salary was warranted in connection with her expanded duties associated with her appointment as an Executive Vice President in early 2020.
Based on its review of the factors described above, the committee determined that the base salary amounts for the NEOs should be set at the following levels:
 
2020
Base
Salary
($)
% Change
from 2019
Base
Salary
Colin Reed
1,100,000
10.0%
Mark Fioravanti
600,000
9.8%
Patrick Chaffin
475,000
11.8%
Scott Lynn
400,000
10.6%
Jennifer Hutcheson
340,000
19.5%
Bennett Westbrook
440,000
7.4%
Voluntary NEO 2020 Salary Reductions. In March 2020, as the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent, the NEOs voluntarily elected to forego these merit increases to base salary for 2020. In addition, at that time Mr. Reed also voluntarily elected to forego 50% of his base salary for a to-be-determined length of time. In May 2020, due to the continuing impact of the pandemic, Mr. Reed voluntarily agreed to forego 50% of his base salary through the end of 2020, and all of the NEOs voluntarily agreed to forego 25% of their base salaries for the remainder of 2020, and other members of the Company’s management team also voluntarily agreed to forego a portion of their base salaries for the remainder of 2020.
At its February 24, 2021 meeting, the committee reviewed the amount of base salary actually received in 2020 by each active NEO, and the impact of the voluntary salary decisions described above. The committee also noted its decision to pay other members of management the amounts of base salary voluntarily foregone in 2020. The committee also reviewed the individual efforts of each executive during 2020, as described more fully below. As a result of this review, the committee elected to pay the following amounts to each active NEO, which represented the base salary amounts voluntarily foregone by the NEO during 2020:
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Base
Salary
Deferral
Payment
($)
Colin Reed
415,385
Mark Fioravanti
82,000
Patrick Chaffin
63,462
Scott Lynn
54,173
Jennifer Hutcheson
52,308
Bennett Westbrook
(1)
(1)
Mr. Westbrook was not eligible to receive this amount as a result of his resignation, effective as of September 1, 2020.
These amounts are included in the Salary column for 2020 for each NEO in the 2020 Summary Compensation Table set forth on page 49 below.
Short-Term Cash Incentive Compensation
We provide annual cash incentive compensation designed to reward achievement of specific previously established short-term financial and strategic goals.
2020 Performance Goals
For 2020 the committee determined that the NEOs would have the opportunity to earn the following percentage of their base salary based on the achievement of the financial performance goals (and, in the case of Mr. Reed, designated strategic objectives) described below.
The 2020 percentages of base salary at the threshold, target and stretch levels for each NEO were set at the following percentages (unchanged from 2019):
 
Threshold
Level
Target
Level
Stretch
Level
Mr. Reed
75%
150%
300%
Mr. Fioravanti
62.5%
125%
250%
Mr. Chaffin
50%
100%
200%
Mr. Lynn
50%
100%
200%
Ms. Hutcheson
37.5%
75%
150%
Mr. Westbrook
50%
100%
200%
The percentage of salary awarded for performance falling between the threshold and target achievement levels and the target and stretch achievement levels was to be determined using straight-line interpolation.
In 2020, assuming performance at the target level of achievement, short-term cash incentive compensation represented 26.6% of our CEO’s total compensation package and (on average) 26.8% of our other NEOs’ total compensation package (calculated in the manner described on page 35).
In 2020, the performance targets, measured using Adjusted Funds From Operation Available to Common Shareholders and Unit Holders as reported (“AFFO”), excluding income tax expense or benefit (“Further Adjusted AFFO”), established by the committee were:
Threshold Performance Goal: Further Adjusted AFFO of $348.3 million.
Target Performance Goal: Further Adjusted AFFO of $387.0 million.
Stretch Performance Goal: Further Adjusted AFFO of $425.6 million.
The committee selected this performance metric because it is a measure of our operations without regard to specified non-cash items such as real estate depreciation and amortization, gain or loss on sale of assets and certain other items which we believe are not indicative of the performance of our underlying hotel properties. Moreover, AFFO is one of the principal tools used by our management and the investment community in evaluating our financial performance as a REIT. These performance levels were set by the committee at the beginning of 2020 after thorough discussion with management regarding our anticipated financial performance. These performance levels were set by the committee prior to the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, and thus these performance levels did not take into consideration any possible impacts of the pandemic. In choosing this goal, the committee considered the general economic climate expected in 2020, the expected conditions in the hospitality industry and our expected financial performance, including our guidance for 2020, as reflected in our earnings release issued in the first quarter of 2020. The committee intended the target performance goal to be a challenging level of achievement. The committee attempted to set the threshold, target and stretch performance goals to ensure that the relative level of difficulty of achieving these performance levels would be generally consistent with prior years. For information regarding the manner in which AFFO is calculated from our financial statements, see Appendix A to this proxy statement.
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The awards to the NEOs (other than Mr. Reed) were based solely on our level of achievement of Further Adjusted AFFO. The award to Mr. Reed was based 75% on our achievement of Further Adjusted AFFO and 25% on our achievement of the strategic objectives, approved in advance by the committee, of achieving effective capital allocation and balance sheet management, specifically including maintaining leverage with a designated range, ensuring compliance with applicable debt covenants and managing interest rate risk associated with floating rate indebtedness.
When the committee established these targets at the beginning of 2020, it made a determination that it would have the discretion to adjust Further Adjusted AFFO for the year to exclude losses or expense, or income or gain, related to certain unusual, infrequently occurring or other specified events as set forth in our omnibus incentive plan. In addition, under the terms of our omnibus incentive plan, the committee may exercise negative discretion in determining the final amounts of the short-term cash incentive awards payable at any given level of performance to ensure that such awards accurately reflect our actual performance. The committee also had the option of lowering the amount of, or not awarding, annual cash incentive compensation otherwise payable to an executive under the plan for 2020 if the executive did not attain a minimum-level annual performance rating under the company’s employee evaluation program, which is a prerequisite to receiving cash incentive compensation under the plan.
2020 Short-Term Incentive Compensation Awards
In analyzing our results for purposes of determining the level of achievement under the short-term incentive compensation plan and determining the short-term incentive compensation which should be paid to our NEOs as a result of 2020 performance, the committee reviewed our operating and financial results for 2020. In particular, the committee noted that our financial results in 2020 were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the closure of our businesses for a significant period of time during the first half of 2020. The committee also noted that while we were able to re-open most of our businesses on a limited basis in the second half of 2020, our operations for the remainder of the year were materially impacted by governmental restrictions on group meetings and live events, as well as customer sentiment relating to the pandemic.
The committee determined that the company’s level of Further Adjusted AFFO achievement in 2020 for purposes of our short-term incentive compensation plan was $(176.1) million, which was below the “threshold” performance goal under the plan. The committee determined that no gains or losses related to unusual, infrequently occurring or other specified events set forth in our omnibus incentive plan (including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic) should be excluded in connection with our calculation of Further Adjusted AFFO. As a result, the committee determined that no amounts were earned or payable pursuant to the terms of the plan.
The committee determined that each active NEO other than Mr. Reed should receive a modest discretionary cash bonus, as listed in the table below, due to his or her efforts on behalf of the company in 2020. These efforts included:
with respect to Mr. Fioravanti, his leadership of the balance sheet and capital markets transactions undertaken by the company during 2020, specifically including the successful efforts to obtain waivers of applicable financial covenants under the company’s bank credit facility, as well as the company’s efforts to significantly reduce its monthly operating cash deficits from our initial estimates over the course of 2020;
with respect to Mr. Chaffin, his efforts in effectively supervising the company’s relationship with the manager of its hotel properties in connection with the closure and reopening of our hospitality properties, the hotels’ rebooking efforts and the implementation of enhanced operating and safety protocols in light of the pandemic;
with respect to Mr. Lynn, his oversight of the company’s legal and compliance functions in connection with the strategic and operating activities described above; and
with respect to Ms. Hutcheson, her oversight of the company’s accounting and financial reporting functions in connection with the strategic and operating activities described above.
The committee also reviewed the annual performance rating of each NEO and determined that each NEO met the minimum level performance rating.
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With respect to Mr. Reed, the Committee noted Mr. Reed’s significant efforts in overseeing the company’s lines of business in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, his leadership of our employees during this period, and his efforts in engaging Federal, state and local governmental officials and agencies with respect to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our businesses and our re-opening efforts. However, Mr. Reed voluntarily agreed to forego a discretionary cash bonus for 2020.
As a result, the committee approved the following short-term cash incentive compensation awards:
 
Calculated
Short-Term
Cash
Incentive
Compensation
($)
Discretionary
Short-Term