DEF 14A 1 ce-20188xdef14a.htm DEF 14A Document
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

SCHEDULE 14A
(Rule 14a-101)

Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934

Filed by the Registrant þ
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))
þ  Definitive Proxy Statement
¨  Definitive Additional Materials
¨  Soliciting Material Pursuant to §240.14a-12

CELANESE CORPORATION
(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):
þ  
No fee required
 
 
¨  
Fee computed on table below per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(1) and 0-11
(1) Title of each class of securities to which transaction applies:
(2) Aggregate number of securities to which transaction applies:
(3) Per unit price or other underlying value of transaction computed pursuant to Exchange Act Rule 0-11 (set forth the amount on which the filing fee is calculated and state how it was determined):
(4) Proposed maximum aggregate value of transaction:
(5) Total fee paid:
¨  
Fee paid previously with preliminary materials.
 
 
¨  
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 or Schedule and the date of its filing.
(1) Amount Previously Paid:
(2) Form, Schedule or Registration Statement No.:
(3) Filing Party:
(4) Date Filed:





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Table of Contents
 


Table of Contents
 
 
LETTER TO STOCKHOLDERS FROM OUR CHAIRMAN AND CEO
 
 
LETTER TO STOCKHOLDERS FROM OUR LEAD INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR
 
 
VOTING INFORMATION
 
 
PROXY SUMMARY
Annual Meeting Information
Roadmap of Voting Matters
Governance Highlights
Director Nominees
Performance and Compensation Decisions
Additional Information
 
 
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS
 
 
PROXY STATEMENT
Information Concerning Solicitation and Voting
 
 
GOVERNANCE
ITEM 1: ELECTION OF DIRECTORS
Director Nominees
Directors Continuing in Office
Board and Committee Governance
Additional Governance Features
Director Compensation
Director Independence and Related Person Transactions
 
 
STOCK OWNERSHIP INFORMATION
Principal Stockholders and Beneficial Owners
Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION*
ITEM 2: ADVISORY APPROVAL OF EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
Compensation Discussion and Analysis
Compensation Risk Assessment
Compensation and Management Development Committee Report
Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation
Compensation Tables
 
 
CEO Pay Ratio
 
 
AUDIT MATTERS
Audit Committee Report
ITEM 3: RATIFICATION OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
 
 
MANAGEMENT PROPOSAL
ITEM 4: APPROVAL OF THE 2018 GLOBAL INCENTIVE PLAN
 
 
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Proxy Materials and Voting Information
Annual Meeting Information
Company Documents, Communications and Stockholder Proposals
 
 
EXHIBIT A
Non-U.S. GAAP Financial Measures
 
 
EXHIBIT B
2018 Global Incentive Plan
 
 
 
 
* Additional detail for compensation topics on page 33.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / i

 
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A letter from Mark C. Rohr, our Chairman and CEO
 




March 9, 2018

Dear Fellow Stockholders:

I am pleased to invite you to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders of Celanese Corporation to be held at 7:00 a.m. (Central Daylight Saving Time) on Thursday, April 19, 2018. This year’s Annual Meeting will be held at The St. Regis Houston, 1919 Briar Oaks Lane, Houston, Texas 77027.
The following Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders and Proxy Statement includes information about the matters to be acted upon by stockholders. Celanese also has made available with this Proxy Statement a copy of our 2017 Annual Report. We encourage you to read our Annual Report, which includes our audited financial statements and additional information about the business. Celanese has made the proxy materials available via the internet. The Company believes that providing internet access to our proxy materials increases the ability of our stockholders to review important Company information, while reducing the environmental impact of our Annual Meeting.
At Celanese, we are committed to effective corporate governance.  To that end, both management and our board of directors regularly evaluate matters relating to our corporate governance profile.  Based on our ongoing assessment of governance best practices and discussions with our stockholders, in February 2016, we made two major changes – our board of directors proactively adopted amendments to the Company’s by-laws to enable eligible stockholders to include qualifying director nominees in the Company’s proxy materials for its annual meeting of stockholders, subject to the terms and conditions specified in the by-laws.  In addition, our board of directors recommended, and stockholders approved, a proposal to transition to an annually elected board of directors.  We will continue to monitor, and assess the value of, corporate governance developments to the Company and to you.
We hope that you will participate in the Annual Meeting, either by attending and voting in person or by voting through the other acceptable methods described in the Proxy Statement. You may submit your proxy via the internet, by phone, or by signing, dating, and returning the enclosed proxy card (or voting instruction form, if you hold shares through a broker). If you decide to attend the Annual Meeting, you will be able to vote in person, even if you have previously submitted your proxy. Please review the instructions on each of your voting options described in this Proxy Statement as well as in the Notice you received in the mail or via email.
On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to express our appreciation for your continued support of Celanese. I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting.

Sincerely,
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Mark C. Rohr
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 1

 
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A letter from Edward G. Galante, our Lead Director
 






March 9, 2018

Dear Fellow Stockholders:

As the Lead Independent Director of your board of directors, I am honored to have the opportunity to write to you, our stockholders, as part of this year’s Proxy Statement. The Proxy Statement affords us the opportunity to reach out to all of Celanese’ stockholders to review, among many other things, where the Company has been and where we are going. Our board is committed to executing its governance responsibilities and providing appropriate oversight of the Company’s operations, long-term strategy and risk exposure.
Over the past few years, we have enhanced our proxy statement to make it clearer, simpler and more straightforward with a focus on what matters most to stockholders. This includes providing a better understanding of our strategy, corporate governance and executive compensation. We hope the following pages will help you better understand the Company and how our governance and compensation practices are linked to performance and accountability in a manner that drives long-term stockholder value. As overseers of the Company, it is the board’s responsibility to remain highly engaged in the Company’s strategic approach to creating value for our share owners and, correspondingly, to actively manage the Company’s enterprise risks. We appreciate your feedback and look forward meaningful engagement on issues that are important to all of us.
Over the last few years, Celanese also has enhanced its stockholder outreach program. Throughout the period, the Company held multiple meetings with stockholders and proactively reached out to stockholders on an individual basis to solicit their feedback on topics of importance to stockholders. During 2017, we held meetings with stockholders owning collectively more than 50% of our stock. The board remains very focused on the Company’s strategic initiatives to strengthen financial performance, which in turn will foster long-term sustainable growth for our stockholders.
The board has also been focused on governance and board composition. As noted by our Chairman, during 2016 our board of directors proactively adopted proxy access and, based on stockholders’ comments and vote in April 2016, we are phasing out our classified board structure. In addition to these developments, we continue to maintain our focus on key governance practices that we understand are important to stockholders. Notably, almost two-thirds of our directors have joined our board in the past five years, bringing with them fresh perspectives and a diversity of experiences. These new directors have allowed us to rotate directors among committees. As of the 2017 Annual Meeting, 75% of our standing committees were chaired by directors new to Celanese in the last five years.
On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to express our sincere appreciation for the trust you have placed in us, and we look forward to serving you throughout the upcoming year.

Sincerely,
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Edward G. Galante
Lead Independent Director

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 2

 
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Voting Information
 


VOTING INFORMATION

It is very important that you vote in order to play a part in the future of the Company. Please carefully review the proxy materials for the 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (“Annual Meeting”) and follow the instructions below to cast your vote on all of the voting matters.
Who is Eligible to Vote
You are entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting if you were a stockholder of record at the close of business on February 20, 2018, the record date for the meeting. On the record date, there were 135,823,207 shares of the Company’s Series A Common Stock issued, outstanding and entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting.
How to Vote
Even if you plan to attend the Annual Meeting in person, please vote right away using one of the following advance voting methods (see page 87 for additional details). Make sure to have your proxy card, voting instruction form or notice of internet availability in hand and follow the instructions.

VOTE IN ADVANCE OF THE MEETING
 
VOTE IN PERSON
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
via the internet
 
by phone
 
by mail
 
in person
:
 
)
 
*
 
m
 
 
 
Visit proxyvote.com to vote via computer or your mobile device
 
Call 1-800-690-6903 or the telephone number on your proxy card or voting instruction form
 
Sign, date and return your proxy card or voting instruction form
 
 
 
 
If you have questions or require assistance with voting your shares, or if you need additional copies of the proxy materials, please contact Alliance Advisors, LLC, 200 Broadacres Drive, 3rd Floor, Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003. Stockholders may call toll free: (855) 486-7908.
All stockholders of record may vote in person at the Annual Meeting. Beneficial owners may vote in person at the Annual Meeting if they have a legal proxy, as described in the response to question 20 on page 92.
Important Note About Meeting Admission Requirements: If you plan to attend the meeting in person, see the answer to question 19 on page 91 for important details on admission requirements.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Electronic Stockholder Document Delivery
 
 
Instead of receiving future copies of annual meeting proxy materials by mail, stockholders of record and most beneficial owners can elect to receive an e-mail that will provide electronic links to these documents. Opting to receive your proxy materials online will save us the cost of producing and mailing documents and will also give you an electronic link to the proxy voting site.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 3

 
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Proxy Summary
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018 PROXY SUMMARY
 
 
 
This summary highlights information contained elsewhere in this Proxy Statement. This summary does not contain all of the information that you should consider. You should read the entire Proxy Statement carefully before voting. For more complete information regarding the Company’s 2017 performance, please review our 2017 Annual Report, which includes our the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017.
 
 
 
Annual Meeting Information
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Date and Time
 
April 19, 2018, 7:00 a.m. (Central Daylight Saving Time)
 
 
 
Place
 
The St. Regis Houston
1919 Briar Oaks Lane, Houston, TX 77027


 
 
 
Record Date
 
February 20, 2018
 
 
 
Voting
 
Stockholders as of the record date are entitled to vote. Each share of Series A Common Stock is entitled to one vote for each director nominee and one vote for each of the other proposals to be voted on.
 
 
 
Entry
 
If you decide to attend the meeting in person, upon your arrival you will need to register as a visitor. See Questions and Answers for further instructions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Roadmap of Voting Matters
 
 
 
 
 
Stockholders are being asked to vote on the following matters at the Annual Meeting:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Our Board’s Recommendation
 
 
ITEM 1. Election of Directors (page 9)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The board and the nominating and corporate governance committee believe that the seven director nominees possess the necessary qualifications to provide effective oversight of the business and quality advice and counsel to the Company’s management.
FOR each Director Nominee
 
 
ITEM 2. Advisory Approval of Executive Compensation (page 34)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Company seeks a non-binding advisory vote to approve the compensation of certain executive officers, as described in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 35 and in the Compensation Tables beginning on page 58. The board values stockholders’ opinions and the compensation and management development committee will take into account the outcome of the advisory vote when considering future executive compensation decisions.
FOR
 
 
ITEM 3. Ratification of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm (page 76)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The audit committee and the board believe that the continued retention of KPMG LLP to serve as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2018 is in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders. As a matter of good corporate governance, stockholders are being asked to ratify the audit committee’s selection of the independent registered public accounting firm for 2018.
FOR
 
 
ITEM 4. Approval of the 2018 Global Incentive Plan (page 78)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Company seeks approval of the 2018 Global Incentive Plan for purposes of making equity and other awards to management and members of the board.
FOR
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 4

 
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Proxy Summary
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Governance Highlights
 
 
 
We are committed to good corporate governance, which promotes the long-term interests of stockholders, strengthens board and management accountability and helps build public trust in the Company. The Governance section beginning on page 9 describes our governance framework, which includes the following highlights:
 
 
 
   Independent lead director
   Active stockholder engagement
 
 
 
 
   8 of our 9 directors are independent
   Diverse board in terms of gender, experience and skills
 
 
 
   Board committees consist entirely of independent directors
   Director retirement guideline
 
 
 
   Independent directors meet without management present
   Restrictions on share hedging and pledging
 
 
 
   Annual board self-assessment process
   Share ownership guidelines for executives and directors
 
 
 
   Majority voting for all directors
   Longstanding commitment to corporate responsibility
 
 
 
   Up to 20 stockholders owning collectively 3% of our stock may nominate 20% of our directors (subject to a phase in)
   Policy providing for return of long-term incentive compensation under certain circumstances (clawback policy)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director Nominees
 
 
 
The following table provides summary information about each director nominee. Each nominee is to be elected by a majority of the votes cast. See Item 1: Election of Directors, Director Nominees, and “Directors Continuing in Office for additional information about the nominees and the other directors continuing in office.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Name and Qualifications
Age
Director
Since
Primary Occupation /
Other Public Company Boards
Independent
Committee
Memberships
 
 
Jean S. Blackwell
63
2014
Former EVP/CFO – Cummins Inc.
ü
CMD; NCG£
 
 
&5ÂGq@L
 
 
Essendant Inc.; Ingevity Corporation
 
 
 
 
William M. Brown
55
2016
Chairman/President/CEO Harris Corp.
ü

AC; EHS
 
 
&:5ÂG@6LQq
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bennie W. Fowler
61
2017
Former Group Vice President, Global Quality and New Model Launch – Ford Motor Company
ü
AC; EHS
 
 
&5Â@L6Q:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Edward G. Galantet
67
2013
Former SVP – Exxon Mobil Corporation
ü

CMD; NCG
 
 
&Q.:ÂGq@6L
 
 
Praxair, Inc.; Clean Harbors Inc.; Andeavor Corp.
 
 
 
 
Kathryn M. Hill
61
2015
Former SVP Dev. Strategy – Cisco Systems Inc.
ü
CMD£; EHS
 
 
&Q:5@6
 
 
Moody’s Inc.; NetApp Inc.
 
 
 
 
David F. Hoffmeister
63
2006
Former SVP / CFO – Life Technologies Corp.
ü
AC; NCG
 
 
.Â6&Q:GqL
 
 
Glaukos Corporation
 
 
 
 
John K. Wulff
69
2006
Former Chairman – Hercules Inc.
ü
AC£; NCG
 
 
&.:ÂGq6L
 
 
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Board Committees:
 
Qualifications:
 
 
 
 
 
 
AC
Audit Committee
 
&
Leadership
 
G
Govt/regulatory
 
 
 
 CMD
Compensation and Management Development Committee
 
Q
Global experience
 
q
Financial transactions
 
 
 
EHS
Environmental, Health, Safety and Public Policy Committee
 
.
Chemical industry
 
@
Operational
 
 
 
 NCG
Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
 
:
Innovation-focused
 
6
Strategic
 
 
 
£
Committee Chair
 
5
Customer-focused
 
L
Risk oversight
 
 
 
t
Lead Independent Director
 
Â
Financial experience
 
 
 
 
 


  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 5

 
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Proxy Summary
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Performance and Compensation Decisions
 
 
 
 
 
2017 Key Performance Highlights
 
 
Business Performance
 
 
In 2017, our key performance metrics were as follows:
 
 
• Net sales were $6.1 billion, up 13.9%
 
 
• Cash from operations was $803 million while free cash flow(1) was $509 million after a $316 million pension contribution
 
 
• Net earnings was $843 million while Adjusted EBIT(1) was $1.36 billion (up 6.1%)
 
 
• GAAP earnings per share was $6.19, flat from the prior year, primarily due to a higher GAAP tax rate in 2017, while adjusted earnings per share(1) was $7.51, an increase of 13.6% over 2016
 
 
Stockholder Value Creation
 
 
• Positive one-, three- and five-year total stockholder return, driving a 38.5% increase in total stockholder return in 2017
 
 
• Returned a record $741 million to stockholders through dividends and share repurchases
 
 
• Increased the quarterly cash dividend paid by 27.8% in 2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
How Pay is Aligned to 2017 Company Performance
 
 
The operation of our variable incentives demonstrates strong linkage between pay and performance. See page 48 for the detailed performance results.
 
 
• Annual Incentive – 2017 performance resulted in above target achievement on our financial and stewardship objectives established at the beginning of the year under our 2017 annual incentive plan
 
 
• Long-Term Incentive – Due to the new three-year performance period, we had no performance-based restricted stock units (“PRSUs”) for which performance was determined
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2017 Key Compensation Decisions
 
 
• 2017 Compensation – Based on our 2017 performance, the compensation and management development committee approved a business performance modifier of 158% under our 2017 annual incentive plan and established individual performance modifiers for the named executive officers. In addition, the committee had earlier awarded performance-based restricted stock units in February 2017 under our 2017 long-term incentive plan. See page 49 for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
Key Compensation Features
 
 
• No employment agreements
 
 
• Change in control double-trigger equity awards (participant’s employment must be terminated to receive benefits)
 
 
• Clawback, no share hedging and no pledging policies
 
 
• No tax gross-ups of severance, change-in-control payments or perquisites, other than for relocation benefits
 
 
• A high percentage of compensation is at risk (i.e., tied to performance)
 
 
• Significant executive share ownership requirements
 
 
 
 
 
Additional Information
 
 
Please see “Questions and Answers beginning on page 87 for important information about the proxy materials, voting, the Annual Meeting, Company documents, communications and the deadlines to submit stockholder proposals for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(1)  Free cash flow, Adjusted EBIT and adjusted earnings per share are non-U.S. GAAP financial measures. See “Exhibit A for information concerning these measures including a definition and a reconciliation to the most comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure.
 

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 6

 
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Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders
 


CELANESE CORPORATION
222 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Suite 900N
Irving, Texas 75039
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS
Date and Time:
 
April 19, 2018, 7:00 a.m. (Central Daylight Saving Time)
Place:
 
The St. Regis Houston
1919 Briar Oaks Lane, Houston, Texas 77027
Items of Business:
 
 To elect Jean S. Blackwell, William M. Brown, Bennie W. Fowler, Edward G. Galante, Kathryn M. Hill, David F. Hoffmeister, and John K. Wulff to serve until the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, or until their successors are elected and qualified or their earlier resignation;
 
 
 Advisory vote to approve executive compensation;
 
 
 To ratify the selection of KPMG LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2018;
 
 
 To approve the 2018 Global Incentive Plan; and
 
 
 To transact such other business as may properly be brought before the meeting in accordance with the provisions of the Company’s Fourth Amended and Restated By-laws (the “by-laws”).
Record Date:
 
You are entitled to attend the Annual Meeting and to vote if you were a stockholder as of the close of business on February 20, 2018.
Our Proxy Statement follows. Financial and other information about Celanese Corporation is contained in our Annual Report to Stockholders for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017 (“2017 Annual Report”), which accompanies the Proxy Statement.
To ensure that your shares are represented at the meeting, we urge you to cast your vote as promptly as possible. You may vote by proxy via the Internet or telephone, or, if you received paper copies of the proxy materials by mail, you can also vote via mail by following the instructions on the proxy card or voting instruction card. We encourage you to vote via the Internet. It is convenient and saves us significant postage and processing costs. You can revoke a proxy at any time prior to its exercise at the Annual Meeting by following the instructions in the Proxy Statement.

By Order of the Board of Directors of
Celanese Corporation
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James R. Peacock III
Vice President, Deputy General Counsel
and Corporate Secretary


Irving, Texas
March 9, 2018
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING THE AVAILABILITY OF PROXY MATERIALS
FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS TO BE HELD ON APRIL 19, 2018
The Celanese Corporation 2018 Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement, 2017 Annual Report
and other proxy materials are available at www.proxyvote.com.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 7

 
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Proxy Statement
 


PROXY STATEMENT
For the Annual Meeting of Stockholders To Be Held on April 19, 2018

The board of directors (the “board of directors” or the “board”) of Celanese Corporation, a Delaware corporation (the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our”), solicits the enclosed proxy for use at our 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (the “Annual Meeting”) to be held at 7:00 a.m. (Central Daylight Saving Time) on Thursday, April 19, 2018, at The St. Regis Houston, 1919 Briar Oaks Lane, Houston, Texas 77027. This Proxy Statement (this “Proxy Statement”) contains information about the matters to be voted on at the meeting and the voting process, as well as information about our directors. We will bear the expense of soliciting the proxies for the Annual Meeting.
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING THE AVAILABILITY OF PROXY MATERIALS
FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS TO BE HELD ON APRIL 19, 2018
 
The Celanese Corporation 2018 Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement, 2017 Annual Report
and other proxy materials are available at www.proxyvote.com.
INFORMATION CONCERNING SOLICITATION AND VOTING
Pursuant to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules, we have elected to furnish proxy materials to our stockholders via the Internet instead of mailing printed copies of those materials to each stockholder. If you received a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials (“Notice of Internet Availability”) by mail, you will not receive a printed copy of the proxy materials unless you request one. Instead, the Notice of Internet Availability will instruct you as to how you may access and review the proxy materials and cast your vote on the Internet. If you received a Notice of Internet Availability by mail and would like to receive a printed copy of our proxy materials, please follow the instructions included in the Notice of Internet Availability. Stockholders who requested paper copies of proxy materials or previously elected to receive proxy materials electronically did not receive the Notice of Internet Availability and will receive the proxy materials in the format requested. This Proxy Statement, our 2017 Annual Report and other information about the Annual Meeting also are available in the investor relations section of our website, www.celanese.com.
The Notice of Internet Availability and, for stockholders who previously requested electronic or paper delivery, the proxy materials, will be made available on or about March 9, 2018, to stockholders of record and beneficial owners who owned shares of the Company’s Series A Common Stock (“Common Stock”) at the close of business on February 20, 2018.
Our principal executive offices are located at 222 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Suite 900N, Irving, Texas 75039.
For additional information about the proxy materials and the Annual Meeting, see Questions and Answers.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 8

 
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 Governance
 


GOVERNANCE
The Company is committed to effective corporate governance, which promotes the long-term interests of stockholders, strengthens board and management accountability and helps build public trust in the Company.
The Company’s certificate of incorporation, by-laws, corporate governance guidelines, board committee charters and other materials can be accessed on our website, www.celanese.com, by clicking on “Investor Relations” and then “Corporate Governance.” Instructions on how to obtain copies of these materials are also included in the response to question 23 in the Questions and Answers section on page 93.
ITEM 1: Election of Directors
Background
In 2016, upon the recommendation of our board, stockholders approved amendments to our certificate of incorporation to declassify our board and transition to annual voting. Nominees for election at the 2018 Annual Meeting, and successive annual meetings, will be elected for one-year terms. Our board of directors is currently divided into two classes: Unclassified directors, consisting of Jean S. Blackwell, William M. Brown, Bennie W. Fowler, Edward G. Galante, Kathryn M. Hill, David F. Hoffmeister and John K. Wulff; and Class III directors, consisting of Jay V. Ihlenfeld and Mark C. Rohr.
Based on the recommendation of our independent nominating and corporate governance committee, our board of directors has nominated seven unclassified directors, Jean S. Blackwell, William M. Brown, Bennie W. Fowler, Edward G. Galante, Kathryn M. Hill, David F. Hoffmeister and John K. Wulff, to serve a one-year term expiring at the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. These director nominees have consented to be elected to serve as directors for the next year.
At the Annual Meeting, you will have the opportunity to elect these nominees. Unless otherwise instructed, the proxy holders will vote the proxies received by them for these seven nominees. If any of our nominees is unable or declines to serve as a director as of the time of the Annual Meeting, the board may designate a substitute nominee or reduce the size of the board. Proxies will be voted for any nominee who shall be designated by the board of directors to fill the vacancy.
The name of each of our nominees for election and our directors continuing in office and certain information about them, as of the date of this Proxy Statement (except ages, which are as of the date of the Annual Meeting), is set forth below. Included in the information below is a description of the particular qualifications, attributes, skills and experience that led the board to conclude that each person below should serve as a director of the Company.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 9

 
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 Governance
 


Board Composition and Refreshment
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ensuring the board is composed of directors who bring diverse viewpoints and perspectives, exhibit a variety of skills, professional experience and backgrounds, and effectively represent the long-term interests of our stockholders, is a principle priority of the board and the nominating and corporate governance committee. The board and the committee also understand the importance of board refreshment, and strive to maintain an appropriate balance of tenure, turnover, diversity and skills on the board. The board believes that new perspectives and new ideas are critical to a forward-looking and strategic board, as is the ability to benefit from the valuable experience and familiarity that longer-serving directors bring.
 
 
 
BOARD REFRESHMENT
 
 
 
Under Mark Rohr’s leadership of the Board since 2012
 
 
ü
Five New Directors Elected
 
 
ü
Rotation of all Board Committee Chairs
 
 
ü
New Lead Independent Director Elected
 
 
ü
Expanded Qualifications and Diversity Represented on Board
 
 
ü
Transitioning to Annual Election of Directors
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qualifications Required of All Directors
The board and the nominating and corporate governance committee require that each director be a recognized person of high integrity with a proven record of success in his or her field and have the ability to devote the time and effort necessary to fulfill his or her responsibilities to the Company. Each director must demonstrate innovative thinking, familiarity with and respect for corporate governance requirements and practices, a willingness to assume fiduciary responsibilities, an appreciation of diversity and a commitment to sustainability and to dealing responsibly with social issues. In addition, the board conducts interviews of potential director candidates to assess integral qualities, including the individual’s ability to ask difficult questions and, simultaneously, to work collegially.
The board does not have a defined diversity policy, but considers diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, age, cultural background and professional experience in evaluating candidates for board membership. The board believes that diversity results in a variety of points of view and, consequently, a more effective decision-making process.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 10

 
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 Governance
 


Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience to be Represented on the Board
The board has identified particular qualifications, attributes, skills and experience that are important to be represented on the board as a whole, in light of the Company’s current and expected future business needs. The following table summarizes certain characteristics of the Company and the associated qualifications, attributes, skills and experience that the board believes should be represented on the board.
 
Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience
 
Characteristics
&
Relevant senior leadership/C-Suite experience
 
Senior leadership experience allows directors to better understand day-to-day and strategic aspects of a business
Q
Global business experience
 
The Company’s business is global and multicultural, with products manufactured in the Americas, Europe and Asia and operations in 18 countries around the world
.
Extensive knowledge of the Company’s business and/or chemical industry
 
A deep understanding of the Company’s business and/or the chemical industry allows a director to better guide the Company
:
Experience in innovation-focused businesses
 
Focus on innovation to drive performance
5
Experience in customer-driven businesses
 
High level of customer intimacy
Â
High level of financial experience
 
Multi-dimensional businesses in multiple chemical segments
G
Government/regulatory/geopolitical exposure
 
Regulatory obligations and political challenges in various jurisdictions around the globe
q
Financial transactions experience
 
Complex financial transactions, including those in different countries and currencies
@
Operational expertise
 
Ability to manufacture many types and kinds of products consistent with high level specifications and in large quantities
6
Strategy development experience
 
Experience with strategy development, allowing the board to better evaluate management’s plan and guide the Company
L
Risk oversight/management expertise
 
Assessment of risk and the policies/procedures to manage risk

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 11

 
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 Governance
 


Director Nominees
Unclassified – Term Expires in 2018
Jean S. Blackwell
 
 
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Ms. Blackwell served as Chief Executive Officer of Cummins Foundation and Executive Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, of Cummins Inc., a global power leader that designs, manufactures, distributes and services diesel and natural gas engines and engine-related component products, from March 2008 until her retirement in March 2013. She previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2003 to 2008, Vice President, Cummins Business Services from 2001 to 2003, Vice President, Human Resources from 1998 to 2001, and Vice President and General Counsel from 1997 to 1998 of Cummins Inc. Prior thereto, Ms. Blackwell was a partner at the Indianapolis law firm of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP from 1984 to 1991, where she practiced in the area of financial and real estate transactions. She has also served in state government, including as Executive Director of the Indiana State Lottery Commission and State of Indiana Budget Director. Ms. Blackwell has served as a member of the board of directors of Essendant Inc. (formerly United Stationers Inc.), a leading national wholesale distributor of business products, since May 2007, including currently as a member of the governance committee and the audit committee, and previously as the chair of the human resource committee and the governance committee. Ms. Blackwell has also served as a member of the board of directors of Ingevity Corporation, a leading global manufacturer of specialty chemicals and high performance carbon materials, since May 2016, including currently as the chair of the audit committee and as a member of its compensation committee and the executive committee. She previously served as a member of the board of directors from April 2004 to November 2009, and as chair of the audit committee, of Phoenix Companies Inc., a life insurance company.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2014
Age: 63
Board Committees:
Compensation
Nominating and Corporate Governance
Other Public Company Boards:
Ingevity Corporation
Essendant Inc.
Phoenix Companies Inc. (2004-2009)
 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
&
5
Â
Substantial leadership, operational, financial, transactional, customer-driven, and risk management experience gained as Executive Vice President/CFO and General Counsel of Cummins Inc., a global power leader.
 
q
@
L
 
 
 
 
 
G
 
 
Substantial governmental experience from having served in the Indiana State Government.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
William M. Brown
 
 
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Mr. Brown is Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company. Mr. Brown joined Harris in November 2011 as President and Chief Executive Officer and was appointed Chairman in April 2014. Prior to joining Harris, Mr. Brown was Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Development, of United Technologies Corporation (“UTC”). He also served five years as President of UTC’s Fire & Security Division. In total, Mr. Brown spent 14 years with UTC, holding U.S. and international roles at various divisions, including Carrier Corporation’s Asia Pacific Operations and the Carrier Transicold division. Before joining UTC in 1997, he worked for McKinsey & Company as a senior engagement manager. He began his career as a project engineer at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Mr. Brown serves on the board of directors of the Fire Department of NYC Foundation and the board of trustees of Florida Institute of Technology, and served on the board of trustees of Florida Polytechnic University from 2013 to 2017.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2016
Age:  55
Board Committees:
Audit
Environmental, Health & Safety
Other Public Company Boards:
Harris Corporation
 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
&
:
5
Substantial leadership, financial, governmental/geopolitical, innovation, strategic and risk management experience gained in roles of Chairman, CEO and President of Harris Corporation.
 
Â
G
@
 
6
L
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Q
q
 
Substantial transactional, global business, operational and strategic experience gained in various roles with United Technologies Corporation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 12

 
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 Governance
 


Bennie W. Fowler
 
 
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Mr. Fowler has more than 30 years experience in the automotive industry. He retired in late 2017 as Group Vice President, Global Quality and New Model Launch (since 2010) of Ford Motor Company, a global automotive and mobility company. Prior to this role, Mr. Fowler served in various management positions of increasing responsibility at Ford, including Vice President, Global Quality, Vice President, Advanced and Manufacturing Engineering and Chief Operating Officer, Jaguar and Land Rover. Prior to joining Ford in 1990, Mr. Fowler held various manufacturing management assignments at Chrysler Corporation and General Motors Corporation. In addition, from 2009 to 2014, Mr. Fowler served as a member of the Board of Directors of Beaumont Hospital. He is the founder of Powerstroke Athletic Club, an after school youth organization focused on developing positive characteristics and values in youths through hard work, discipline, education and relationships.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2017
Age: 61
Board Committees:
Audit
Environmental, Health & Safety
Other Public Company Boards:
None

 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
&
5
Â
Substantial global operational, standardization, product quality and customer-driven business experience and extensive knowledge of the Company’s business and the chemical industry gained in various roles at Ford Motor Company and other employers.

 
 
@
L
 
6
Q
:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Edward G. Galante
 
 
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Mr. Galante served as Senior Vice President and as a member of the management committee of Exxon Mobil Corporation, an international oil and gas company, from August 2001 until his retirement in 2006. Prior to that, he held various management positions of increasing responsibility during his more than 30 years with Exxon Mobil Corporation, including serving as Executive Vice President of ExxonMobil Chemical Company from 1999 to 2001. Mr. Galante currently serves as a director (since 2007), chairman of the compensation and management development committee and as a member of the governance and nominating committee and the technology, safety and sustainability committee of Praxair, Inc. He also serves as a director (since 2010), and chairman of the environmental, health and safety committee and a member of the compensation committee of Clean Harbors, Inc. He also serves as a director (since 2016), and member of the compensation committee and the environmental, health, safety and security committee of Andeavor Corporation (formerly Tesoro Corporation). From 2008 until November 2014, Mr. Galante served as a member of the board of directors of Foster Wheeler AG, which included service on Foster Wheeler's compensation and executive development committee (including as chairman) and audit committee.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2013
Age: 67
Board Committees:
Compensation
Nominating and Corporate Governance
Other Public Company Boards:
Praxair, Inc.
Clean Harbors Inc.
Andeavor Corporation
Foster Wheeler AG (2008-2014)
 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
&
Q
.
Substantial leadership, chemical industry, operational, global business, financial, innovation-focused, transactional, governmental/regulatory, strategy development and risk management experience gained with more than 30 years’ service with Exxon Mobil Corporation, including as Executive Vice President of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, and service on other boards of directors.
 
:
Â
G
 
q
@
6
 
L
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 13

 
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 Governance
 


 
Kathryn M. Hill
 
 
 
 
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Ms. Hill served in a number of positions at Cisco Systems, Inc. from 1997 to 2013, including, among others, as Executive Advisor from 2011 to 2013, Senior Vice President, Development Strategy and Operations from 2009 to 2011, Senior Vice President, Access Networking and Services Group from 2008 to 2009, and Senior Vice President, Ethernet Systems and Wireless Technology Group from 2005 to 2008. Cisco designs, manufactures and sells Internet Protocol (IP)-based networking and other products related to the communications and information technology industry and provides services associated with these products. Prior to joining Cisco, Ms. Hill had a number of engineering roles at various technology companies. Ms. Hill has served as a member of the board of directors of Moody’s Corporation, an essential component of the global capital markets providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis, since May 2011, including currently serving as the chair of the compensation and human resources committee and as a member of the governance and nominating committee and the audit committee. She also currently serves as a member of the board of directors (since 2013), and as chair of the compensation committee and a member of the corporate governance and nominating committee, of NetApp, Inc.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2015
Age: 61
Board Committees:
Compensation
Environmental, Health & Safety
Other Public Company Boards:
Moody's Inc.
NetApp Inc.
 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
 
&
Q
:
Substantial innovation-focused, leadership, customer-focused, global business, operational and strategic experience gained in various roles with Cisco Systems, Inc.
 
 
5
@
6
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
David F. Hoffmeister
 
 
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Mr. Hoffmeister served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Life Technologies Corporation, a global life sciences company, prior to its acquisition by Fisher Scientific Inc. in February 2014. From October 2004 to November 2008, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Invitrogen Corporation, which merged with Applied Biosystems in November 2008 to form Life Technologies Corporation. Before joining Invitrogen, Mr. Hoffmeister spent 20 years with McKinsey & Company as a senior partner serving clients in the healthcare, private equity and chemical industries on issues of strategy and organization. From 1998 to 2003, Mr. Hoffmeister was the leader of McKinsey’s North American chemical practice. Mr. Hoffmeister serves as a director of Glaukos Corporation (since 2014) and member of the audit committee.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2006
Age: 63
Board Committees:
Audit
Nominating and Corporate Governance
Other Public Company Boards:
Glaukos Corporation
 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
.
Â
6
Substantial chemical industry, finance and strategic experience as a large consulting firm partner.
 
 
 
 
 
&
Q
:
Substantial leadership, global business, financial, innovation-focused, transactional, governmental/regulatory, and risk management experience gained as Chief Financial Officer of Life Technologies Corporation.
 
G
q
L
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 14

 
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 Governance
 


John K. Wulff
 
 
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Mr. Wulff is the former Chairman of the board of directors of Hercules Incorporated, a specialty chemicals company, a position he held from July 2003 until Ashland Inc.’s acquisition of Hercules in November 2008. Prior to that time, he served as a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board from July 2001 until June 2003. Mr. Wulff was previously Chief Financial Officer of Union Carbide Corporation, a chemical and polymers company, from 1996 to 2001. During his fourteen years at Union Carbide, he also served as Vice President and Principal Accounting Officer from January 1989 to December 1995 and Controller from July 1987 to January 1989. Mr. Wulff was also a partner of KPMG LLP and predecessor firms from 1977 to 1987. Mr. Wulff is currently a member of the audit and compensation committees, and a member of the board of directors (since 2016) of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., a leading global provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services. He previously served as a member of the board of directors from 2004 to 2016, the chairman of the governance and compensation committee and as a member of the audit committee of Moody’s Corporation. Mr. Wulff served as a director of Sunoco, Inc. from March 2004 until October 2012 when Sunoco was acquired by Energy Transfer Partners L.P., and as a director of Chemtura Corporation from October 2009 until April 2017 when Chemtura was acquired by Lanxess A.G. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2006
Age: 69
Board Committees:
Audit
Nominating and Corporate Governance
Other Public Company Boards:
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc.
Chemtura Corporation (2009-2017)
Moody’s Corporation (2004-2016)
Sunoco Inc. (2004-2012)
 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
&
.
:
Substantial leadership, chemical industry, financial, transactional, strategy development, risk management and innovation-focused business experience gained as Chairman of Hercules Incorporated, a specialty chemicals company, and as CFO of Union Carbide Corporation, a chemical and polymers company.
 
Â
q
6
 
L
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Â
G
 
Substantial finance and governmental and regulatory experience as a large accounting firm partner and member of the FASB.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vote Required
Each director must receive a majority of the votes cast in favor of his or her election.
Recommendation of the Board
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT STOCKHOLDERS VOTE
“FOR” THE NOMINEES LISTED ABOVE


  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 15

 
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 Governance
 


Directors Continuing in Office
Class III Directors – Term Expires in 2019
Jay V. Ihlenfeld
 
 
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From 2006 until his retirement in 2012, Mr. Ihlenfeld served as the Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, for 3M Company, a leader in technology and innovation. Mr. Ihlenfeld previously served as 3M Company’s Senior Vice President, Research and Development from 2002 to 2006. A 33-year veteran of 3M Company, Mr. Ihlenfeld has also held various leadership and technology positions, including Vice President of its Performance Materials business and Executive Vice President of its Sumitomo/3M business in Japan. Mr. Ihlenfeld serves as a director (since 2017) and member of the personnel and compensation committee and the environmental, health, safety and product compliance committee of Ashland Global Holdings, Inc.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2012
Age: 66
Board Committees:
Compensation
Environmental, Health & Safety
Other Public Company Boards:
Ashland Global Holdings Inc.
 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
Q
.
:
Substantial chemical industry knowledge and operational, global business, innovation, customer-driven, geopolitical and strategy development experience gained in various roles over 33 years with 3M Company.
 
5
G
@
 
6
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mark C. Rohr
 
 
rohrbwa05.jpg
Mr. Rohr was named our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer in April 2012 after being a member of our board of directors since April 2007. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Rohr was Executive Chairman and a director of Albemarle Corporation, a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly engineered specialty chemicals. During his 11 years with Albemarle, he held various executive positions, including Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Earlier in his career, Mr. Rohr held executive leadership roles with various companies, including Occidental Chemical Corporation and The Dow Chemical Company. Mr. Rohr has served on the board of directors of Ashland Global Holdings Inc. (f/k/a Ashland Inc.) since 2008, and currently serves as a member of its audit committee and its environmental, health & safety committee. In 2016, he also served as Chairman of the American Chemistry Council’s Executive Committee and as Chairman of the International Council of Chemical Associations.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Director since: 2007
Age: 66
Board Committees:
None
Other Public Company Boards:
Ashland Global Holdings Inc.
Albemarle Corporation (2001-2012)
 
 
 
 
Specific Qualifications, Attributes, Skills and Experience:
 
&
Q
:
Substantial leadership, financial, global business, innovation-focused, customer-driven focus, operational, strategy development, risk management, transactional and governmental experience gained in the roles of Chairman, CEO and President of Celanese Corporation (since 2012) and CEO/COO of Albemarle Corporation (from 2000 to 2011).
 
5
Â
G
 
q
@
6
 
L
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
 
 
A full career in the chemical industry, including leadership positions with the ACC and IACA.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 16

 
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 Governance
 


Board and Committee Governance
Director Elections
Until 2017, approximately one-third of the directors were elected each year, in three classes, at the annual meeting of stockholders, to hold office for a three-year term and until their successors are elected and qualified, or until their earlier retirement or removal from office. At the 2016 Annual Meeting, stockholders voted to replace the staggered, three-year terms with annual director elections. Beginning with the 2017 Annual Meeting, nominees whose terms expired were elected for one-year terms. Commencing with the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, all directors will be elected annually. We currently have one class of directors whose term expires in 2019. the remainder of our directors are unclassified and their terms expire at the Annual Meeting.
To ensure that the board remains composed of high-functioning members capable of keeping their commitments to board service, the corporate governance and nominating committee evaluates the qualifications and performance of each incumbent director before recommending the nomination of that director for an additional term.
In February 2016, our board proactively adopted a by-law, which permits a stockholder, or a group of up to 20 stockholders, owning at least three percent of the Company’s outstanding Common Stock continuously for at least three years, to submit director nominees for up to the greater of two directors or 20 percent of the number of directors currently serving on the board, subject to a phase-in and the terms and conditions specified in the by-laws.
Majority Voting Standard
Our by-laws provide that, in an election of directors where the number of nominees does not exceed the number of directors to be elected, each director must receive the majority of the votes cast with respect to that director. This means that the number of shares voted “for” a director must exceed the number of shares voted “against” that director. The board believes this majority vote standard appropriately gives stockholders a greater voice in the election of directors than the traditional plurality voting standard. If an incumbent director does not receive a majority vote, he or she has agreed that a letter of resignation will be submitted to the board. The corporate governance and nominating committee will make a recommendation to the board on whether to accept or reject the resignation, or whether other action should be taken. The board will act on the resignation within 90 days of the certification of the vote, taking into account the recommendation of the corporate governance and nominating committee, which will include consideration of the vote result, the director’s contributions to the Company during his or her tenure, the director’s qualifications, and any relevant input from stockholders. Only independent directors will participate in the deliberations regarding a tendered resignation.
Composition of the Board of Directors
Our certificate of incorporation provides that the number of members of the board of directors shall be fixed by the board, but shall be no less than seven and no more than fifteen. Our board may fill vacancies and increase or, upon the occurrence of a vacancy, decrease the board’s size between annual stockholders’ meetings. As of the date of this Proxy Statement, we have, and the board has established the size of the board to be, nine directors.
Our board of directors is and shall be comprised of a majority of independent directors. See Director Independence and Related Person Transactions for additional information.
In addition, the Company has a director retirement guideline, the full text of which is set forth in our corporate governance guidelines. The guideline provides that a director should retire from the board of directors no later than the annual meeting of stockholders following such director’s 72nd birthday; provided, however, the retirement guideline may be waived by a majority of uninterested directors upon the recommendation of the nominating and corporate governance committee.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 17

 
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 Governance
 


Board Evaluation Process
Each year, the members of the board and each committee conduct a self-assessment. The process for the self-assessment is approved by the board each year based on a recommendation from the nominating and corporate governance committee. Under the process used in 2017, the nominating and corporate governance committee develops a thorough list of topics to be considered by the directors, including board and committee structure, oversight, information, and culture, which are approved by the board. The chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee has a teleconference with each independent director and finally with the Chairman to discuss the topics and to gather any other feedback a director has as they relate to the full board and each of the committees. The chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee elicits comments from the directors concerning improvements for the board, the committees, the lead independent director, the committee chairs and management. The chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee then summarizes the input from the conversations and presents it to the independent directors at the October board meeting. Each committee chair also conducts a similar self-assessment with respect to their committee based on (i) a subset of the board discussion topics, (ii) comments made to the chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee or the committee chair and (iii) discussion during executive sessions of committee meetings. Also, the nominating and corporate governance committee evaluates directors who are nominees for re-election to the board as part of the nomination process.
Board Leadership Structure
The Company’s governance framework provides the board with flexibility to select the appropriate leadership structure for the Company. In making leadership structure determinations, the board considers many factors, including the specific needs of the business and what is in the best interests of the Company’s stockholders. The current leadership structure is comprised of a combined chairman of the board (“Chairman”) and chief executive officer, a lead independent director, board committees comprised exclusively of independent directors and active engagement by all directors. The board believes the structure provides an effective balance between strong company leadership and appropriate safeguards and oversight by independent directors.
 
Board Leadership Structure
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chairman of the Board and CEO: Mark Rohr
 
The board believes this is the optimal structure to guide the Company and maintain the focus required to achieve the Company’s strategic plan and long-term business goals. However, the board reevaluates the structure annually.
 
 
Lead Independent Director: Edward Galante
 
 
 
All board committees comprised exclusively of independent directors
 
 
 
Active engagement by all directors
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Duties and Responsibilities of Lead Independent Director
The Company’s lead independent director, who is elected by the independent directors for a one-year term:
presides over executive sessions of the non-employee, independent members of the board and at meetings of the board in the absence of, or upon the request of, the Chairman and CEO;
approves the scheduling of board meetings, as well as the agenda and materials for each board meeting and executive session of the board’s non-employee, independent directors;
has the authority to call meetings of the board and such other meetings of the non-employee, independent directors as he/she deems necessary;
serves as a liaison and supplemental channel of communication between the non-employee, independent directors and the Chairman and CEO;
meets regularly with the Chairman and CEO;

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 18

 
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 Governance
 


communicates with stockholders as requested and deemed appropriate by the board;
interviews director candidates along with the nominating and corporate governance committee;
approves and coordinates the retention of advisors and consultants who report directly to the non-employee, independent members of the board, except as otherwise required by applicable law or the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) Listing Standards;
guides the board’s governance processes concerning the annual board self-evaluation and CEO succession planning; and
when requested by the Chairman or the board, assists the board in reviewing and assuring compliance with governance principles.
Leadership Structure Determination Details and Rationale
Consistent with the board’s commitment to corporate governance practices that are in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders, at least one executive session of the directors each year includes a review of the board’s leadership structure and consideration of whether the position of chairman of the board should be held by the chief executive officer or an independent director. This section describes the details and the board’s rationale for its current leadership structure.
Under the Company’s by-laws, the Chairman presides over meetings of the board, presides over meetings of stockholders, consults and advises the board and its committees on the business and affairs of the Company and performs such other duties as may be assigned by the board. The chief executive officer is generally in charge of the affairs of the Company, subject to the overall direction and supervision of the board and its committees and subject to such powers as reserved by the board. Mark Rohr serves as both Chairman and chief executive officer.
In November 2011, the Company’s presiding director role was transitioned to a lead independent director role and, in connection with this transition, the independent directors expanded the role of the lead independent director (see above). In February 2017, the independent directors re-elected Edward Galante to serve as lead independent director beginning at the 2017 Annual Meeting. The duties and responsibilities of the lead independent director are described above and are set forth in the Company’s corporate governance guideliness. Although annually elected, the lead independent director is generally expected to serve for more than one year, although generally not more than three years.
Importantly, all directors play an active role in overseeing the Company’s business both at the board and committee levels. As set forth in the Company’s corporate governance guideliness, the core responsibility of the directors is to exercise their business judgment to act in what they reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders. The board currently consists of one member of management (our CEO) and eight non-employee directors. The non-employee directors are skilled and experienced leaders in business. Many currently serve or have served as chief executives or members of senior management of Fortune 1000 companies. In these roles, the non-employee directors have been called upon to provide solutions to various complex issues and are expected to, and do, ask hard questions of management. As such, the non-employee directors are well-equipped to oversee the success of the business and to provide advice and counsel to the chief executive officer and Company management.
As part of each regular scheduled board meeting, the non-employee directors meet in executive session without the chief executive officer present. These meetings allow non-employee directors to discuss issues of importance to the Company, including the business and affairs of the Company, as well as matters concerning management, without any member of management present. All of the board committees, which are described below, are chaired by, and comprised of, independent directors.
The board believes that leadership of both the board and the Company by Mr. Rohr is the optimal structure to guide the Company and maintain the focus required to achieve the Company’s long-term business goals. The Company’s business is complex and it has operations in 18 countries around the world. Given the complex global reach of our

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 19

 
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 Governance
 


business, the board believes the chief executive officer is in the best position to focus directors’ attention on critical business matters and to speak for and lead both the Company and the board.
The board believes that the current leadership structure – a combined Chairman of the Board and chief executive officer, a lead independent director, board committees comprised exclusively of independent directors and active engagement by all directors – is effective and currently serves the business and stockholders well.
Board Meetings in 2017    
Each of our directors is expected to devote sufficient time and attention to his or her duties and to attend all board meetings and committee meetings on which he or she serves. The board of directors held seven meetings during 2017 and committees of the board held a total of 22 meetings. Overall attendance at such meetings was over 95%. All incumbent directors attended at least 75% of the aggregate of (i) meetings of the board and (ii) meetings of the board committees on which they served during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017. In addition, the board expects directors to attend the annual meeting of stockholders absent special circumstances. All of our directors who were members of the board as of the 2017 Annual Meeting of Stockholders attended the annual meeting.
Committees of the Board
The board of directors has four standing board committees:
audit committee;
compensation and management development committee;
nominating and corporate governance committee; and
environmental, health, safety and public policy committee.
The following table sets forth the current composition of our committees:
 
Independent Director
Audit Committee
Compensation and Management Development Committee
Environmental, Health, Safety and Public Policy Committee
Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
Jean S. Blackwell À
ü
 
l
 
£
William M. Brown À
ü
l
 
l
 
Bennie W. Fowler
ü
l
 
l
 
Edward G. Galanteu
ü
 
l
 
l
Kathryn M. Hill
ü
 
£
l
 
David F. HoffmeisterÀ
ü
l
 
 
l
Jay V. Ihlenfeld
ü
 
l
£
 
Mark C. Rohr
 
 
 
 
 
John K. Wulff À
ü
£
 
 
l
Meetings in 2017
Board = 7
8
6
5
3
£ Chairperson l  Member À  Financial Expert u  Lead Independent Director

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 20

 
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 Governance
 


Audit Committee
The Company’s audit committee is currently comprised of Mr. Wulff (chairman), Mr. Brown, Mr. Fowler and Mr. Hoffmeister, each of whom the board has affirmatively determined is independent of the Company and its management under the rules of the NYSE and the SEC. The board has also determined that Mr. Brown, Mr. Hoffmeister and Mr. Wulff are “audit committee financial experts” as the term is defined in Item 407(d)(5) of Regulation S-K. Each member of the audit committee is also “financially literate” as that term is defined by the rules of the NYSE. The complete text of the audit committee charter, as last amended by the board of directors on July 17, 2017, is available on our website, www.celanese.com, by clicking “Investor Relations” and then “Corporate Governance”.
The audit committee is directly responsible for the appointment, compensation and oversight of the work of the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm. The independent registered public accounting firm reports directly to the audit committee. The principal purposes of the audit committee are to oversee:
accounting and reporting practices of the Company and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements regarding such accounting and reporting practices;
the quality and integrity of the financial statements of the Company;
internal control and compliance programs;
the independent registered public accounting firm’s qualifications and independence; and
the performance of the independent registered public accounting firm and the Company’s internal audit function.
Compensation and Management Development Committee
The Company’s compensation and management development committee is currently comprised of Ms. Hill (chair), Ms. Blackwell, Mr. Galante and Mr. Ihlenfeld. The board has determined that all members of the compensation and management development committee are independent under Rule 16b-3 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and applicable NYSE listing standards and qualify as “non-employee directors” for purposes of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code. The complete text of the compensation and management development committee charter, as last amended by the board of directors on July 17, 2017, is available on our website, www.celanese.com, by clicking “Investor Relations” and then “Corporate Governance”. A description of the compensation and management development committee’s processes and procedures for determining executive compensation and the roles of management and the compensation consultant in determining or recommending the amount and form of compensation is more fully described inCompensation Discussion and Analysis. The compensation and management development committee charter provides that the compensation and management development committee may, from time to time, retain legal, accounting or other consultants or experts, including but not limited to compensation consulting firms, that the compensation and management development committee deems necessary in the performance of its duties.
The principal purposes of the compensation and management development committee are to:
review and approve the compensation of the Company’s executive officers;
review and approve the corporate goals and objectives relevant to the compensation of the CEO and the other executive officers, and to evaluate the CEO’s and the other executive officers’ performance and compensation in light of such established goals and objectives; and
oversee the development and implementation of succession plans for the CEO and the other key executives.
During 2017, Willis Towers Watson PLC (“Willis”), as independent outside compensation consultant, advised the compensation and management development committee on executive officer compensation matters. SeeRole of the Compensation Consultant in Making Decisions for additional information.

  
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Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
The Company’s nominating and corporate governance committee is currently comprised of Ms. Blackwell (chair), Mr. Galante, Mr. Hoffmeister and Mr. Wulff. The complete text of the nominating and corporate governance committee charter, as amended by the board of directors on July 17, 2017, is available on our website, www.celanese.com, by clicking “Investor Relations” and then “Corporate Governance”. The nominating and corporate governance committee charter provides that the nominating and corporate governance committee may, from time to time, retain legal, accounting or other consultants or experts, including but not limited to leadership search firms, the nominating and corporate governance committee deems necessary in the performance of its duties, including in its process of identifying director candidates.
The principal purposes of the nominating and corporate governance committee are to:
identify, screen and review individuals qualified to serve as directors and recommend candidates for nomination for election at the annual meeting of stockholders or to fill board vacancies;
review and recommend non-employee director compensation to the board;
develop and recommend to the board and oversee implementation of the Company’s corporate governance guidelines;
oversee evaluations of the board; and
recommend to the board nominees for the committees of the board.
During 2017, Willis, as independent outside compensation consultant, advised the nominating and corporate governance committee on non-employee director compensation matters.
Environmental, Health, Safety and Public Policy Committee
The Company’s environmental, health, safety and public policy committee is currently comprised of Mr. Ihlenfeld (chairman), Mr. Brown, Mr. Fowler and Ms. Hill. The environmental, health, safety and public policy committee assists the board in fulfilling its oversight duties regarding, while Company management retains responsibility for assuring compliance with, applicable environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. The complete text of the environmental, health, safety and public policy committee charter, as last amended by the board of directors on July 17, 2017, is available on our website, www.celanese.com, by clicking “Investor Relations” and then “Corporate Governance”.
The principal purposes of the environmental, health, safety and public policy committee are to:
oversee the Company’s policies and practices concerning environmental, health, safety and public policy issues;
review the impact of such policies and practices on the Company’s corporate social responsibilities, public relations and sustainability; and
make recommendations to the board regarding these matters.
Board Oversight of Risk Management    
The board of directors is responsible for overseeing the risk management process for the Company. Risk management is considered a strategic activity within the Company and responsibility for managing risk rests with executive management while the committees of the board and the board as a whole participate in the oversight of the process. Specifically, the board has responsibility for overseeing the strategic planning process, reviewing and monitoring management’s execution of the strategic and business plan, and selected risk areas, including cyber security. Each board committee is responsible for oversight of specific risk areas relevant to their respective committee charter.

  
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The oversight responsibility of the board and the board committees is enabled by an enterprise risk management model and process implemented by management that is designed to identify, assess, manage and mitigate risks. The audit committee is responsible for overseeing the enterprise risk process that management implements. In addition, the board recognizes that risk management and oversight comprise a dynamic and continuous process and reviews the enterprise risk model and process periodically.
The strategic plan, critical issues and opportunities are presented to the board each year by the CEO and senior management. Throughout the year, management reviews any critical issues and actual results compared to the plan with the board and relevant board committees. Members of senior management are also available to discuss the Company’s strategy, plans, results and issues with the board committees and the board, and regularly attend such meetings to provide periodic briefings and access. In addition, the audit committee regularly holds separate executive sessions with the lead client service partner of the independent registered public accounting firm, the chief financial officer, the internal auditor, the chief compliance officer and other members of management as appropriate.
As specific examples of board committee risk oversight activities, the audit committee maintains responsibility for overseeing risks related to the Company’s financial reporting, audit process, internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures, as well as the Company’s financial position and financial activities. The compensation and management development committee regularly reviews any potential risks associated with the Company’s compensation policies and practices. See Compensation Risk Assessmentfor additional information. In addition, the environmental, health, safety and public policy committee regularly reviews the Company’s operational risks, including those risks associated with employee, environmental, process and product safety, public policy and reputation. Further, the nominating and corporate governance committee conducts an annual assessment of nominees to our board and is charged with developing and recommending to the board corporate governance principles and policies and board committee structure, leadership and membership, including those related to, affecting, or concerning the board’s and its committees’ risk oversight. Each of the board committees is required to make regular reports of its actions and any recommendations to the board, with respect to risk management, including recommendations to assist the board with its overall risk oversight function.

Additional Governance Features
Stockholder Engagement
The board believes accountability to stockholders is a mark of good governance and critical to the Company’s success. To that end, the Company maintains dedicated resources to actively engage with stockholders. The Company regularly engages with stockholders on a variety of topics throughout the year to ensure we are addressing their questions and concerns, to seek input and to provide perspective on Company policies and practices. Topics include corporate strategy, cash deployment, executive compensation plan design and practices, governance and social responsibility.
Since the beginning of 2017, we met with stockholders holding more than 50% of our Common Stock, through in-person meetings and telephone calls. In addition, we attended 10 investor conferences and 13 non-transaction roadshows. In November 2015, we held an investor day with more than 140 participants. We will host another similar event in May 2018.
In addition to this direct engagement, the Company has instituted a number of complementary mechanisms that allow stockholders to effectively communicate a point of view with the board, including:
the ability to attend and voice opinions at the annual meeting of stockholders (see page 91);
a dedicated annual meeting page on our website (see page 93);
a majority voting standard (see page 17);

  
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the annual advisory vote to approve executive compensation (see page 34);
annual election of directors (phased in through 2019) (see page 9);
the commitment to thoughtfully consider stockholder proposals submitted to the Company (see page 93); and
the ability to direct communications to individual directors or the entire board (see page 93).
See page 39 for additional information about engagement with stockholders regarding executive compensation.
Social Responsibility and Political Engagement
Corporate Social Responsibility
The environmental, health, safety and public policy committee assists the board in guiding our comprehensive corporate social responsibility initiatives. These initiatives reflect strategic business imperatives and our core belief that we should be a responsible corporate citizen in the communities where we live and work. Our policies and business practices, including our diversity and inclusion efforts, philanthropy and community investment, safety and environmental sustainability, foster relationships that demonstrate our commitment and values.
The primary goal of our diversity and inclusion efforts is to create a work environment that is compatible with, and respectful of, all of our employees and maximizes employee engagement in accomplishing our mission and business objectives. Examples include our employee resource groups located in facilities and locations where we operate in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
The primary goal of our philanthropy initiative is to provide support through volunteer service, participation in and employee-led giving to local organizations, and community collaboration with institutions, organizations and good works that enhance the sustainability of the host communities in which we principally operate. This is brought to life through national partnerships and local initiatives in support of needy families, primary education and safe places to live and grow. We formed the Celanese Foundation in 2012. The Foundation matches employee gifts to recognized 501(c)(3) charities and provides grants to employee-selected charities based on employee volunteerism and alignment with our focus areas. Since its inception, the Celanese Foundation has provided grants totaling over $9,000,000 to organizations. In addition, our employees are encouraged to contribute their money, and their time, volunteering over 170,000 hours in 2017 alone.
The primary goal of our safety initiative is to assure that employees and contractors remain injury free. At Celanese, safety is considered a value, which holds fast against changing priorities. Leaders are committed to creating the best working environment where employees and contractors are engaged in training and procedures that minimize hazards and prevent injuries. In 2017, we continued with industry leading safety performance. Recognized with numerous industry safety awards, including the American Chemistry Council Responsible Care Company of the Year, we are committed to continuous improvement in eliminating injuries.
In addition to preserving the health and safety of our employees, contractors and communities, Celanese is committed to protecting the environment, and ensuring the safe operations of our processes. Our process safety strategy continues to provide exemplary results in reducing loss of primary containment incidents. We are strengthening the process safety culture by focusing on leadership commitment to process safety, developing competencies and learning from incidents. This data-driven approach led to improvements through our award winning Walk the Line program, where workers conduct a thorough safety review before starting a process.
We consider protecting the environment a fundamental responsibility. We treat the communities where we do business as our own by protecting the energy, air and water supplies and minimizing waste. Many times, our capital investments help us substantially reduce our environmental emissions. Examples include boiler conversions from coal and fuel oil to natural gas in the U.S. and Mexico. Our latest construction projects also include the best technology to improve efficiency and environmental performance.

  
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We believe that chemistry plays an integral role in solving many of the world’s challenges. This belief means we are committed to advancing safe, effective and sustainable products and technologies that unlock the untapped potential of humankind.
This potential is at work at Celanese where each employee has taken measures to be a steward of the earth’s natural resources and of each other. We are committed to continuing our significant progress in meaningful areas of our business, including energy use, protecting sensitive air and water ecosystems, continued emissions reductions, meaningful safety measures, and a people-centered culture, all while growing Celanese products, customers and technologies to new heights. 
The Celanese 2017 Stewardship Report is available at www.celanese.com/stewardship.
Political Engagement Policy
The Company believes in responsible corporate governance and actively participates in the political process to support the needs of our business and our 7,000 employees.  The Company seeks to responsibly use our resources to advance public policy that is consistent with the Company’s values, the sustainability of our business and long-term stockholder values.  The Company does not provide any direct political contributions.  The Company does, however, sponsor a voluntary, nonpartisan political action committee called the Celanese Political Action Committee (“CELPAC”). CELPAC supports candidates for federal, state and local office in the U.S. that advocate and pursue government policies that promote the Company’s interests. CELPAC allows eligible employees to pool their personal funds on a voluntary basis with other employees to help elect candidates who appreciate and understand the issues important to Company. Participation in CELPAC is entirely voluntary.  At least annually, Celanese posts to its website, www.celanese.com (under “Company Info”; “Political Engagement Policy”), a list of all political contributions made during the prior calendar year, including CELPAC’s contributions.
Anti-Hedging, Anti-Short Sale and Anti-Pledging Policies
The Company’s hedging policy prohibits directors, executive officers and other employees from purchasing any financial instrument that is designed to hedge or offset any decrease in the market value of Common Stock, including prepaid variable forward contracts, equity swaps, collars and exchange funds. Directors and executive officers are also prohibited from engaging in short sales related to Common Stock. The Company’s pledging policy prohibits directors and executive officers from pledging Common Stock, including holding Common Stock in a margin account. In addition, directors and the Company’s executive officers are required to obtain pre-approval from the Company’s Deputy General Counsel before pledging shares of Common Stock. Such approval will only be granted if the individual can clearly demonstrate the financial capacity to repay the loan without resorting to the pledged securities.
Code of Conduct
The Company has adopted a code of business conduct applicable to directors, executive officers and all other employees. Our employees, suppliers and customers can ask questions about our code of conduct and other ethics and compliance issues, or report potential violations, through Navex, a global Internet and telephone information and reporting services company. The code of conduct is available on our website, www.celanese.com, by clicking on ”Investor Relations”, then ”Corporate Governance” and then “Business Conduct Policy”. In the event the Company amends or waives any of the provisions of the code of conduct applicable to our principal executive officer, principal financial officer or controller that relates to any element of the definition of ”code of ethics” enumerated in Item 406(b) of Regulation S-K under the 1934 Act, the Company intends to disclose these actions on the Company’s website.

  
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Director Compensation
Director Compensation in 2017
The Company uses both cash and equity-based compensation to attract and retain qualified directors to serve on our board of directors. The amount and type are set by the board. In reviewing and recommending to the board the compensation levels, the nominating and corporate governance committee considers the extent of time and the expertise required to serve on our board as well as the board’s independent compensation consultant’s recommendations as to the appropriate level and mix of pay. Each non-management director is entitled to an annual cash retainer of $105,000 (increased during 2017 by $5,000), which is paid in quarterly installments, and an annual equity retainer of $150,000 in time-based restricted stock units (“RSUs”) (increased during 2017 by $10,000) that vest in one year. In addition, the chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee and the environmental, health, safety and public policy committee each receive an annual fee of $15,000, and the chair of the audit committee and the compensation and management development committee each receive an annual fee of $20,000. The lead independent director also receives an annual fee of $25,000.
Non-management directors are entitled to participate in the Company’s 2008 Deferred Compensation Plan, which is an unfunded, nonqualified deferred compensation plan that allows directors the opportunity to defer all or a portion of their cash compensation and RSUs in exchange for a future payment amount equal to their deferments plus or minus certain amounts (including dividend equivalents) based on the market performance of specified measurement funds selected by the participant.
2017 Director Compensation Table
The table below is a summary of compensation earned and RSUs granted by the Company to non-management directors for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017.
Name(1)
(a)
 
Fees
Earned or
Paid in
Cash
($)(2)
(b)
 
Stock
Awards
($)(3)
(c)
 
Option
Awards($)
(4)
(d)
 
Non-Equity
Incentive Plan
Compensation
($)
(e)
 
Change in
Pension
Value and
Nonqualified
Deferred
Compensation
Earnings
($)(5)
(f)
 
All Other
Compensation
($)(6)
(g)
 
Total
($)
(h)
Jean S. Blackwell
 
117,079

 
139,975

 
 
 
 
 
257,054

William M. Brown
 
102,079

 
139,975

 
 
 
 
 
242,054

Bennie W. Fowler
 
89,579

 
163,231

 
 
 
 
 
252,810

Edward G. Galante
 
127,079

 
139,975

 
 
 
 
 
267,054

Kathryn M. Hill
 
122,079

 
139,975

 
 
 
 
 
262,054

David F. Hoffmeister
 
102,079

 
139,975

 
 
 
 
 
242,054

Jay V. Ihlenfeld
 
117,079

 
139,975

 
 
 
 
 
257,054

David C. Parry
 
51,916

 
163,231

 
 
 
 
 
215,147

Farah M. Walters
 
30,495

 

 
 
 
 
 
30,495

John K. Wulff
 
122,079

 
139,975

 
 
 
 
 
262,054


  
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(1) 
Ms. Walters retired during 2017 under our director retirement guideline. Therefore, the information above reflects her service on the board through April 20, 2017. Mr. Parry resigned during 2017 for health reasons. Therefore, the information above reflects his service on the board from his election to the board through the date of his resignation. Mr. Rohr is not included in this table because he was an employee of the Company during 2017 and received no compensation for his services as a director.
(2) 
Includes amounts earned for the annual retainer and committee chair and lead independent director fees for the respective directors, as applicable.
(3) 
Represents the grant date fair value of 1,601 RSUs granted to each non-management director (1,865 RSUs for Mr. Fowler and Mr. Parry, which included a prorated amount of RSUs for time served from their election to April 2017) in April 2017 under the Company’s 2009 Global Incentive Plan computed in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718, Compensation – Stock Compensation. For a discussion of the method and assumptions used to calculate such expense, see Notes 2 and 20 to our Consolidated Financial Statements contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017. As of December 31, 2017, each non-management director listed in the table owned 1,601 RSUs, except Ms. Walters, who held no RSUs, and Mr. Parry, who held 668 RSUs.
(4) 
The Company has not granted stock options to directors since 2007. As of December 31, 2017, no persons serving as a non-management director held any stock options.
(5) 
Deferrals by directors under the 2008 Deferred Compensation Plan, including deferrals of RSUs, do not receive above-market earnings and therefore no amount with respect to those deferrals is included in the Table.
(6) 
Directors are reimbursed for expenses incurred in attending board, committee and stockholder meetings. Directors are also reimbursed for reasonable expenses associated with other business activities that benefit the Company, including participation in director education programs. We generally do not provide perquisites to our directors, other than small gifts provided at board meetings and upon retirement. Occasionally, a director may use Company-provided aircraft for travel to board meetings. Also, a director’s spouse may accompany him or her on Company business at our request. For example, spouses are invited to some of the board dinners we hold during the year in connection with board meetings. This policy involves a de minimus or no incremental cost to us, and we believe it serves a legitimate business purpose. The board does not provide any tax gross-ups on any director perquisites. No director received perquisites at or exceeding a total value of $10,000 in 2017.
Director Stock Ownership Guidelines
The board of directors considers Common Stock ownership by directors to be of utmost importance. The board believes such ownership enhances the commitment of directors to our future and aligns their interests with those of our other stockholders. The board has therefore established minimum stock ownership guidelines for non-employee directors that require each director to own Common Stock having a value of at least five times his or her base annual cash retainer of $105,000. Each newly elected director has five years from the year elected to reach this ownership level. As of the computation date, December 31, 2017, all of our then current independent directors had attained the minimum stock ownership levels based on holdings, except for Ms. Hill, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Fowler, who joined the board in 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively, who are on-track for compliance and are not required to meet the minimum stock ownership guidelines until 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively.

Director Independence and Related Person Transactions
Director Independence
The listing standards of the NYSE require companies listed on the NYSE to have a majority of “independent” directors. As noted below, all of our directors, other than our Chairman and chief executive officer, are independent.
The board of directors has adopted standards of independence for directors that are set forth in Exhibit A to the Company’s corporate governance guidelines. The board reviews and determines the independence of each of the directors in accordance with these standards. The full text of the corporate governance guidelines is available on our website, www.celanese.com, by clicking “Investor Relations”, then “Corporate Governance”. These standards

  
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incorporate all of the requirements for director independence contained in the NYSE listing standards. The NYSE listing standards generally provide that a director is independent if the board affirmatively determines that the director has no material relationship with the Company directly or as a partner, stockholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the Company. In addition, a director is not independent if certain other relationships exist.
The board, based on the recommendation of the nominating and corporate governance committee, affirmatively determined that eight of our current directors, Messrs. Brown, Fowler, Galante, Hoffmeister, Ihlenfeld and Wulff, and Ms. Blackwell and Ms. Hill are independent of the Company and its management under the NYSE listing standards and the Company’s director independence standards. Mr. Rohr, our Chairman and CEO, is the only current director who is not independent.
The Company in the normal course of business has been a party to transactions with other entities (or their subsidiaries) where certain of our directors are themselves either directors or officers. When making the board’s director independence determination, the board was aware of, and considered, the relationships listed below. All the business relationships noted below were entered into on standard pricing and terms as arose in the ordinary course of our business. The amounts involved in each relationship did not exceed the greater of $1,000,000 or two percent of such other company’s consolidated gross revenues. As a result, each qualified under a categorical standard of independence that the board previously approved and, therefore, none of the relationships were deemed to be a material relationship that impaired the director’s independence.
Director
Organization
Director’s Relationship
to Organization
Type of Transaction, Relationship or Arrangement
Does the Amount Exceed the Greater of $1 million or 2% of either company’s Gross Revenues?
Jean S. Blackwell
Ingevity Corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Director
Business Relationship - Routine sales to Ingevity
No
Bennie W. Fowler
Ford Motor Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Former Executive Officer (Group Vice President, Global Quality and New Model Launch)
Business Relationship - Routine sales to, and purchases from, Ford
No
Edward G. Galante
Praxair, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Director
Business Relationship - Routine purchases from Praxair
No
 
Clean Harbors and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Director
Business Relationship - Routine purchases from Clean Harbors
No
Kathryn M. Hill
Moody’s Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Director
Business Relationship - Routine purchases from Moody’s
No
David F. Hoffmeister
Glaukos Corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Director
Business Relationship - Routine sales to Glaukos
No
Jay V. Ihlenfeld
Ashland Global Holdings Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Director
Business Relationship - Routine sales to, and purchases from, Ashland
No
David C. Parry*
Illinois Tool Works Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Former Executive Officer (Vice Chairman)
Business Relationship - Routine sales to Illinois Tool Works
No
Farah M. Walters*
PolyOne Corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates
Director
Business Relationship - Routine sales to, and purchases from, PolyOne
No
John K. Wulff
Chemtura Corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates**
Director
Business Relationship - Routine purchases from Chemtura
No

  
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* Mr. Parry and Ms. Walters were no longer members of our board at December 31, 2017.
**During 2017, Chemtura Corporation was acquired by Laxness A.G. and Mr. Wulff ceased serving on the board.
In addition, in compliance with the NYSE listing standards, we have an audit committee, a compensation and management development committee and a nominating and corporate governance committee that are each entirely composed of independent directors. Each of these committees have written charters addressing the respective committee’s purpose and responsibilities and the annual evaluation of the performance of these committees.
Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions
The board of directors has adopted a written policy regarding related person transactions (the “Related Party Transaction Policy”). For purposes of SEC rules and such policy, an interested transaction is a transaction or relationship in which the aggregate amount involved exceeds or may reasonably be expected to exceed $120,000 since the beginning of the Company’s last fiscal year, the Company or any of its subsidiaries is a participant, and any related party will have a direct or indirect material interest in the transaction or relationship. A related party is any person who is or was during the last fiscal year an executive officer, director or nominee for election as a director; a greater than 5 percent beneficial owner of Common Stock; or an immediate family member of any of these persons. Compensation paid to our named executive officers is not treated as an interested transaction under the Related Party Transaction Policy to the extent that it is disclosed as compensation in this Proxy Statement. In addition, a related party would not be deemed to have a “material interest” in a transaction simply due to such person’s position as an officer or director of the other party in the transaction or, in the case of simply being an employee of the other party to the transaction, if the aggregate amount involved in the subject year does not exceed the greater of $1,000,000 or two percent of that party’s annual revenues.
The audit committee reviews the material facts of all interested transactions that meet the requirements discussed above and therefore require the audit committee’s approval and either approves or disapproves of the entry into the interested transaction. In determining whether to approve or ratify an interested transaction, the audit committee takes into account, among other factors it deems appropriate, whether the interested transaction is on terms no less favorable than terms generally available to an unaffiliated third-party under the same or similar circumstances and the extent of the related party’s interest in the transaction.
In addition, the audit committee has delegated to the chairman of the audit committee the authority to pre-approve or ratify (as applicable) any interested transaction with a related party in which the aggregate amount involved is expected to be less than $2,000,000. In connection with regularly scheduled meetings of the audit committee, the Company provides the audit committee for its review a summary of each new interested transaction that was pre-approved by the chairman of the audit committee. No director may participate in any discussion or approval of an interested transaction for which he or she is a related party, except that the director is to provide all material information concerning the interested transaction to the audit committee.
No interested transactions were approved or ratified or, to our knowledge, required to be approved or ratified, during 2017.
None of our directors are adverse to the Company in any pending litigation.

  
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Stock Ownership Information
 


STOCK OWNERSHIP INFORMATION
Principal Stockholders and Beneficial Owners
The following table sets forth information with respect to the beneficial ownership of Common Stock as of February 20, 2018, by (i) each person known to the Company to beneficially own more than 5% of our Common Stock; (ii) each of the Company’s present directors, including those nominated for election at the Annual Meeting; (iii) the named executive officers serving during the last fiscal year; and (iv) all present directors and executive officers of the Company as a group. The percentage of beneficial ownership set forth below is calculated in accordance with SEC Rule 13d-3 and is based on the number of shares of Common Stock outstanding as of February 20, 2018, which was 135,823,207.
 
 
Amount and Nature of Beneficial Ownership of Common Stock
 
 
Common Stock
Beneficially Owned
(1)
 
Rights to
Acquire
Shares of Common Stock
(2)
 
Total
Common
Stock
Beneficially Owned
 
Percentage of
Common Stock
Beneficially Owned
 
 
 
 
 
The Vanguard Group, Inc.(3)
 
11,797,038

 

 
11,797,038

 
8.7
Dodge & Cox(4)
 
10,962,170

 

 
10,962,170

 
8.1
Capital Research Global Investors(5)
 
9,768,727

 

 
9,768,727

 
7.2
BlackRock, Inc.(6)
 
7,108,708

 

 
7,108,708

 
5.2
Directors(7)(8)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jean S. Blackwell
 
1,000

 
1,601

 
2,601

 
*
William M. Brown
 
100

 
1,601

 
1,701

 
*
Bennie W. Fowler
 
264

 
1,601

 
1,865

 
*
Edward G. Galante
 
3,697

 
1,601

 
5,298

 
*
Kathryn M. Hill
 
3,248

 
1,601

 
4,849

 
*
David F. Hoffmeister
 
40,194

 
1,601

 
41,795

 
*
Jay V. Ihlenfeld
 
4,257

 
1,601

 
5,858

 
*
John K. Wulff
 
26,074

 
1,601

 
27,675

 
*
Named Executive Officers(7)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Peter G. Edwards
 
3,642

 

 
3,642

 
*
Christopher W. Jensen
 
3,063

(9) 

 
3,063

 
*
Kevin S. Oliver
 
15,066

 

 
15,066

 
*
Patrick D. Quarles
 
9,564

 

 
9,564

 
*
Mark C. Rohr (8)
 
371,869

 
30,032

 
401,901

 
*
Scott M. Sutton
 
34,123

 

 
34,123

 
*
All present directors, nominees and executive officers as a group (14 persons)(10)
 
517,013

 
42,840

 
559,853

 
*
*
Less than 1% of shares.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 30

 
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Stock Ownership Information
 


(1) 
Includes shares for which the named person or entity has sole and/or shared voting and/or investment power. Does not include shares that may be acquired through exercise of options or vesting of restricted stock units or other rights to acquire shares. To our knowledge, none of the Common Stock listed as beneficially owned by the current directors or executive officers are subject to hedges or have been pledged.
(2) 
Reflects rights to acquire shares of Common Stock within 60 days of February 20, 2018, and includes, as applicable, shares of Common Stock issuable upon (i) the exercise of options granted under the 2009 GIP that have vested or will vest within 60 days of February 20, 2018, and (ii) the vesting of restricted stock units granted under the 2009 GIP within 60 days of February 20, 2018. Does not include (i) units in a stock denominated deferred compensation plan with investments settled in shares of Common Stock as follows: Ms. Blackwell – 6,354 equivalent shares, Mr. Brown – 2,255 equivalent shares, Mr. Galante – 5,813 equivalent shares, Mr. Ihlenfeld – 5,813 equivalent shares, and Mr. Wulff – 17,523 equivalent shares, and (ii) the portion of long-term incentive plan PRSU or RSU awards that previously vested but remain subject to a 7-year hold requirement as follows: Mr. Jensen – 1,220 equivalent shares, and Mr. Oliver – 444 equivalent shares.
(3) 
On February 8, 2018, The Vanguard Group, Inc. (“Vanguard Group”) filed Amendment No. 4 to Schedule 13G with the SEC reporting beneficial ownership of 11,797,038 shares of Common Stock as of December 31, 2017, with sole voting power over 103,794 shares, shared voting power over 29,508, sole dispositive power over 11,666,570 shares and shared dispositive power over 130,468 shares. The address of Vanguard Group is 100 Vanguard Blvd., Malvern, PA 19355.
(4) 
On February 13, 2018, Dodge & Cox filed an Amendment No. 7 to Schedule 13G with the SEC reporting beneficial ownership of 10,962,170 shares of Common Stock as of December 31, 2017, with sole voting power over 10,312,968 shares and sole dispositive power over 10,962,170 shares. The address of Dodge & Cox is 555 California Street, 40th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104.
(5) 
On February 14, 2018, Capital Research Global Investors (“Capital Research”) filed an Amendment No. 8 to Schedule 13G with the SEC reporting beneficial ownership of 9,768,727 shares of Common Stock as of December 31, 2017 with sole voting power and sole dispositive power over such shares. The address of Capital Research is 333 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071.
(6) 
On February 1, 2018, BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”) filed a Schedule 13G with the SEC reporting beneficial ownership of 7,108,708 shares of Common Stock as of December 31, 2017, with sole voting power over 6,163,720 shares and sole dispositive power over 7,108,708 shares. The address of BlackRock is 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055.
(7) 
Listed alphabetically. Except as set forth in the footnotes below, each person has sole investment and voting power with respect to the Common Stock beneficially owned by such person.
(8) 
Mr. Rohr also serves as a director and his ownership information is set forth under “Named Executive Officers”.
(9) 
Includes beneficial ownership of Common Stock by Mr. Jensen of 1,063 equivalent shares in the Celanese Stock Fund under the CARSP as of February 20, 2018. He has the ability to direct the voting of the Company’s Common Stock underlying these equivalent shares and the ability to change their investment options at any time.
(10) 
Excludes shares held by Mr. Quarles and Mr. Jensen, who ceased employment with the Company on December 31, 2017 and March 2, 2018, respectively. Does not include 298,982 PRSUs (at target or actual performance for completed awards) held by our current executive officers as of February 20, 2018 subject to future performance and vesting conditions.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 31

 
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Stock Ownership Information
 


Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance
Section 16(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, requires our directors, officers (as defined) and persons who own more than ten percent of our Common Stock, to file with the SEC reports of their ownership and changes in their ownership of Common Stock. Directors, officers and greater than ten percent stockholders are required by the SEC’s regulations to furnish the Company with copies of all Section 16(a) forms they file. Based solely on a review of the copies of such forms furnished to the Company, or written representations from our directors and officers that all reportable transactions were reported, the Company believes, to the best of its knowledge, that for the year ended December 31, 2017, all filing requirements applicable to its directors, officers and greater than ten-percent stockholders were complied with, with one exception:
The Company filed one Form 4 late on behalf of Scott M. Sutton, our Chief Operating Officer, which related solely to the rebalancing of investments in the Celanese Stock Fund in our Deferred Compensation Plan.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 32

 
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Executive Compensation
 

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
Table of Contents
ITEM 2: ADVISORY APPROVAL OF EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
 
 
COMPENSATION DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Executive Summary
Overview
Named Executive Officers
2017 Performance Highlights
Rigorous Performance Goals for 2017
2017 Payouts Aligned to Performance
Our Response to the 2017 Advisory Vote and Stockholder Feedback
We Follow Compensation Governance Best Practices
 
 
Compensation Philosophy and Elements of Pay
Compensation Philosophy
Compensation Objectives
Elements of Compensation
Setting Total Compensation
Our Compensation Comparator Group
 
 
2017 Compensation Decisions
Base Salary
Annual Incentive Plan Awards
Long-Term Incentive Compensation
Executive Pay Parity
 
 
Compensation Governance
Compensation and Management Development Committee Oversight
Role of the Compensation Consultant in Making Decisions
Role of Management in Making Decisions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Additional Information Regarding Executive Compensation
Other Compensation Elements
Executive Stock Ownership Requirements
Executive Compensation Clawback Policy
Tally Sheets
Tax and Accounting Considerations
 
 
COMPENSATION RISK ASSESSMENT
 
 
COMPENSATION AND MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE REPORT
 
 
COMPENSATION COMMITTEE INTERLOCKS AND INSIDER PARTICIPATION
 
 
COMPENSATION TABLES
2017 Summary Compensation Table
2017 Grants of Plan-Based Awards Table
Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal 2017 Year-End Table
2017 Option Exercises and Stock Vested Table
2017 Pension Benefits Table
2017 Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Table
Potential Payments Upon Termination or Change in Control
 
 
CEO PAY RATIO


  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 33

 
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Executive Compensation
 

ITEM 2: Advisory Approval of Executive Compensation    
The Company’s compensation program for our named executive officers was designed by our compensation and management development committee to meet our compensation philosophy and objectives. The principles of the program have contributed to our strong performance and rewarded executives appropriately. See Compensation Discussion and Analysis – Executive Summary for a summary of our compensation philosophy, 2017 performance, pay decisions and additional compensation information.

We are presenting this “say-on-pay” proposal, which gives you, as a stockholder, the opportunity to endorse or not endorse our executive compensation program through an advisory vote on the following resolution:
“Resolved, that the stockholders approve, on an advisory basis, the compensation of our named executive officers, as disclosed pursuant to Item 402 of Regulation S-K, including the Compensation Discussion and Analysis, compensation tables and narrative disclosure, contained in this Proxy Statement.”
The board of directors recommends that stockholders endorse the compensation program for our named executive officers by voting FOR the above resolution. We believe that executive compensation for 2017 was reasonable and appropriate, and justified by our performance. Our compensation program is the result of a carefully considered approach and takes into account advice received from the compensation and management development committee’s independent compensation consultant.
Advisory Vote
This vote is mandated by Section 951 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and SEC regulations. As an advisory vote, this proposal is not binding upon the Company. In addition, the non-binding advisory vote described in this proposal will not be construed as overruling any decision by the Company, the board of directors, or the compensation and management development committee, relating to the compensation of the named executive officers, or creating or changing any fiduciary duties or other duties on the part of the board of directors, or any committee of the board of directors, or the Company.
Vote Required
The voting on this proposal is advisory. Approval of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares of Common Stock present in person or represented by proxy and entitled to vote. In 2017, our stockholders voted to have this advisory vote each year. In 2023, we will have another vote to determine the frequency of this advisory vote.
Recommendation of the Board
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT STOCKHOLDERS
VOTE “FOR” THE APPROVAL OF OUR EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION PROGRAM

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 34

 
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Executive Compensation
 

Compensation Discussion and Analysis    
Our Compensation Discussion and Analysis (“CD&A”) describes the objectives and elements of our executive compensation program, its alignment with performance, the 2017 compensation decisions regarding our named executive officers and other actions of the compensation and management development committee.
Executive Summary
Overview
Our compensation program for named executive officers is intended to
support the execution of our business strategy and long-term financial objectives;
attract, incentivize and retain a talented team of executives who will provide leadership for our success in dynamic, competitive markets and products, using balanced performance metrics;
align performance with the creation of long-term stockholder value and returns; and
reward executives’ contributions at a level reflecting Company performance and their individual performance.
Our compensation and management development committee has designed our executive compensation program based on principles that reflect these objectives. These principles have contributed to our strong performance and rewarded executives appropriately.
Our strategic plan is designed to enhance the overall growth of the Company sustainably. This strategic plan builds upon the Company’s differentiated business models in the Acetyl Chain and the Materials Solutions cores.1 In Acetyls, the business focuses on optimizing profitability by leveraging the flexibility in its operations and and an expansive global asset base. In Advanced Engineered Materials, a unique combination of one of the broadest materials portfolios in the industry and a project pipeline management system has set apart Celanese’s ability to deliver customer value. These economic models are underscored by an unwavering commitment to social responsibility, safety and environmental stewardship.  We have made strong progress toward the goals we created in 2015 and are on-track to deliver the milestones established for 2018. Our long-term objectives are to deliver annualized earnings and cash flow growth such that we consistently rank among the top tier chemical companies. We believe achieving these objectives will continue to significantly increase stockholder value.
Named Executive Officers
Our named executive officers for 2017 (“named executive officers” or “NEOs”) are:
Named Executive Officer
Title (as of December 31, 2017)
Mark C. Rohr
Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President
Christopher W. Jensen
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer*
Scott M. Sutton
Chief Operating Officer
Patrick D. Quarles
Executive Officer**
Peter G. Edwards
Executive Vice President & General Counsel
Kevin S. Oliver
Chief Accounting Officer, Controller and Acting Chief Financial Officer*
* Mr. Jensen resigned from the Company effective February 15, 2018 after a leave of absence. Mr. Oliver performed the functions of the Chief Financial Officer from October 2017 until the appointment of the new Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Oliver remains our Chief Accounting Officer.
** Until September 2017, Mr. Quarles served as our Executive Vice President and President, Acetyl Chain and Integrated Supply Chain, after which time he assisted in the transition of the management responsibilities for the Company’s Acetyl Chain and Integrated Supply Chain businesses until his departure from the Company upon the close of business on December 31, 2017.
___________________
(1) During 2017, the Company operated under a two core model: the Acetyl Chain, comprised of our Acetyl Intermediates and Industrial Specialties segments, and Materials Solutions, comprised of our Advanced Engineered Materials (or Engineered Materials without affiliates) and Consumer Specialties segments. The majority of the Consumer Specialties segment is our acetate tow business.

  
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Executive Compensation
 

2017 Performance Highlights
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We anticipated headwinds coming into 2017 from acetate tow and our largest plant turnaround and a second-half loaded earnings profile. These headwinds materialized, as well as other unexpected challenges, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and an earthquake in Mexico. Nonetheless, we overcame these challenges through rigorous planning and responsiveness that offset these challenges and delivered strong results.
Net sales grew 13.9% and Adjusted EBIT(4) grew 6.1% driven by growth in Advanced Engineered Materials(5) and the Acetyl Chain that more than overcame the headwinds from the decline in acetate tow. The Acetyl Chain anticipated and positioned itself well for a stronger second half and delivered growth in spite of the largest planned turnaround at its Texas Clear Lake facility in the second quarter of 2017 and the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Advanced Engineered Materials grew by commercializing 2,232 projects, a 61% increase year over year, and through
______________________________
(1) 
Adjusted earnings per share or Adjusted EPS is a non-GAAP financial measure that we define as earnings (loss) from continuing operations attributable to Celanese Corporation, adjusted for income tax (provision) benefit, Certain Items, and refinancing and related expenses, divided by the number of basic common shares and dilutive restricted stock units and stock options calculated using the treasury method. See Exhibit A to this Proxy Statement for additional information concerning this performance measure and a reconciliation of this measure to diluted earnings per share, the most comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure.
(2)
Cumulative stock price appreciation plus dividends, with dividends reinvested.
(3)
Free cash flow is a non-GAAP financial measure that we define as net cash provided by (used in) operations, less capital expenditures on property, plant and equipment, and adjusted for capital contributions from or distributions to our partner in our methanol joint venture. Free cash flow amounts noted above are net of pension contributions of $316 million and $300 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively, and a contract termination payment of $177 million in 2015. See Exhibit A to this Proxy Statement for additional information concerning this liquidity measure and a reconciliation of this measure to cash flow from operations, the most comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure.
(4) 
Adjusted EBIT is a non-GAAP financial measure (“Adjusted EBIT”) that we define as net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation, plus (earnings) loss from discontinued operations, less interest income, plus interest expense, plus refinancing expense and taxes, and further adjusted for Certain Items. See Exhibit A to this Proxy Statement for additional information concerning this performance measure and a reconciliation of this measure to net earnings, the most comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure.
(5)
During 2017, our Materials Solutions core was comprised of our Advanced Engineered Materials and Consumer Specialties segments.

  
Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 36

 
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Executive Compensation
 

the Nilit and SO.F.TER. acquisitions. The Company also announced a proposed joint venture with the Blackstone Group to combine the respective acetate tow assets which would enable Celanese to de-risk and monetize its tow assets. Productivity gains across businesses and in support functions also contributed to earnings growth.
Strong overall growth and our commitment to return cash to stockholders contributed to a one-year total stockholder return of 38.5% for 2017 (nearly double the Company’s 2016 TSR), which was significantly higher than the S&P 500 index return of 21.8% for the year.
We believe the performance goals that drive our compensation program for the named executive officers were instrumental in helping us achieve strong financial performance in 2017 and navigating headwinds like the structural changes in the acetate tow industry and Hurricane Harvey.
Our net sales were $6.1 billion in 2017, up 13.9% from 2016.
We generated net earnings of $843 million in 2017, down 6.3%, primarily due to a higher GAAP tax rate in 2017, while Adjusted EBIT(4) was $1.36 billion in 2017, up 6.1% from 2016.
GAAP diluted earnings per share was $6.19, flat year over year, while adjusted earnings per share(1) for 2017 was $7.51, an increase of 13.6% over 2016 and a record, primarily due to an increase in product pricing, volume growth, productivity initiatives and a reduction in outstanding share count.
Cumulative total stockholder return(2) over the prior one-, three- and five-year periods was 38.5%, 89.1% and 161.4%, respectively. Our returns exceeded the S&P Index in all three periods.
Our cash flow from operations was $803 million, down 10.1% from 2016, while our free cash flow(2) was $509 million, down 18.3% from 2016. However, free cash flow was $825 million in 2017 before taking into account a $316 million voluntary contribution to our U.S. pension plans.
During 2017, we returned a record $741 million to stockholders:
We increased the rate of our quarterly cash dividend per share by 27.8% and paid an aggregate of $241 million in cash dividends. We have paid cash dividends for 51 consecutive quarters and the compound rate of increase in the dividend per share has been approximately 35.7% since 2009.
We repurchased $500 million of our Common Stock under our announced share repurchase program.
We have returned $2.8 billion to stockholders since 2012 in the form of cash dividends on Common Stock and share repurchases.
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Celanese 2018 / Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement / 37

 
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Executive Compensation
 

We achieved these results with a highly engaged and dedicated workforce.  Our global leadership team has been charged with accelerating the Company’s growth plans through ownership and accountability of the business objects as well as to continue to shape the culture of the organization.  For these reasons, during 2017, we implemented a career framework to provide our employees with clearer insight into the career opportunities at Celanese for both personal and professional development as we execute our growth plans.  To further engage our employees, we provide support for our employees through numerous employee resource groups that work together for the common good of our company and our communities.  Our employees continued their support of local communities, volunteering over 170,000 hours worldwide.
Rigorous Performance Goals for 2017
In February 2017, we established our 2017 annual incentive plan, as described more fully below, which uses Adjusted EBIT as the primary financial performance measure, as well as working capital and three stewardship performance measures. Also in 2017, we implemented a long-term incentive plan, as described more fully below (the “2017 LTIP”), under which we awarded performance-based restricted stock units (“PRSUs”) to each of our named executive officers. The PRSUs become earned based on our achievement of Adjusted EPS growth and return on capital employed goals for a three-year performance period (2017-2019). See 2017 Compensation Decisions below.
When the compensation and management development committee set the performance hurdles for the 2017 annual incentive plan and the 2017 LTIP, they considered our strategic plan, annual operating plan and the headwinds facing the Company. It was anticipated that these headwinds would only partially be balanced by anticipated benefits to Advanced Engineered Materials from the pipeline model, new acquisitions and productivity efforts.
Taking these considerations into account, the compensation and management development committee set Adjusted EBIT hurdles for the Company under our 2017 annual incentive plan as follows:
 
 
2016
 
 
Percentage Y-o-Y Improvement for 2017 Annual Incentive Plan Payout
 
 
Metric
 
Actual
 
 
Threshold