We did not employ any of our named executive officers until December 2016. Instead, except for our Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer, our named executive officers were employed and compensated by our controlling stockholder, SunEdison, or a subsidiary of SunEdison or, in the case of our Chief Operating Officer and our Interim Chief Accounting Officer, by a third-party consulting company. While certain of our named executive officers became employees of the Company in December of 2016, the Company did not pay any cash compensation to such named executive officers until January 2017, except for certain retention payments described further below. The ultimate responsibility and authority for compensation-related decisions for our named executive officers who were employees of SunEdison resided with the SunEdison compensation committee or the chief executive officer of SunEdison, as applicable, and any compensation decisions were not subject to any approvals by our Board or any committees thereof. Moreover, because we are a controlled company under Nasdaq Rule 5615(c), we were not required to establish a compensation committee.
In light of perceived financial difficulties at SunEdison, we began developing a contingency operating plan in January 2016. On February 27, 2016, the Company engaged AlixPartners, LLP (“AlixPartners”) to provide financial advisory and consulting services to the Conflicts Committee. SunEdison filed for bankruptcy on April 21, 2016. In May 2016, following the SunEdison Bankruptcy, we initiated a strategic review process which included, among other things, a review of the executive compensation previously determined by SunEdison and the exploration of a retention program for key employees, including our senior management. On June 30, 2016, our Board determined that it was in the best interest of the Company for the compensation of our executive officers to be determined by an independent committee of the Board and delegated the power and authority of the Board with respect to compensation for executive officers, including relating to base compensation, bonuses, merit adjustments, annual incentive compensation, awards of restricted stock units and equity-based compensation, to our Conflicts Committee. On August 29, 2016, the Board determined that the Conflicts Committee may be treated as the Company’s ‘compensation committee’ for disclosure purposes with respect to the year ended December 31, 2016 to the extent the Conflicts Committee exercised authority with respect to certain compensation matters during the 2016 fiscal year. On February 3, 2017, the Board created and designated our Compensation Committee. However, our Compensation Committee was created after the end of the 2016 fiscal year and thus was not responsible for, and did not participate in, the determination of compensation for our named executive officers in 2016. The Conflicts Committee's determinations of compensation for our named executive officers in 2016 were made prior to the reconstitution of the Conflicts Committee on February 3, 2017.
Compensation Philosophy and Objectives for 2016
The objective of our executive compensation for 2016 was principally to retain and motivate our senior executives following the SunEdison Bankruptcy. Our payment of equity-based compensation was designed to incentivize our senior executives to preserve and defend stockholder value in light of potential claims against the Company in the SunEdison Bankruptcy and the uncertainty and operational challenges we faced as we transitioned away from reliance on SunEdison for management, corporate and accounting services, employees, critical systems and information technology infrastructure, and the operation, maintenance and asset management of our renewable energy facilities. Our payment of equity-based compensation was also designed to ultimately incentivize our senior executives to maximize stockholder value through our exploration of strategic alternatives. In addition, our senior executives are rewarded for the accomplishment of corporate strategic objectives and the accomplishment of individual goals through the payment of discretionary cash bonuses.
Details of the Elements of Our Named Executive Officer’s 2016 Compensation
All 2016 compensation for Mr. Wuebbels was determined prior to the SunEdison Bankruptcy by our controlling stockholder, SunEdison, or a subsidiary of SunEdison. The ultimate responsibility and authority for the compensation-related decisions for Mr. Wuebbels resided with the SunEdison compensation committee or the chief executive officer of SunEdison, as applicable, and any compensation decisions for Mr. Wuebbels were not subject to any approvals by our Board or any committees thereof. As such, this Compensation and Discussion Analysis does not include a discussion of the elements of 2016 compensation for Mr. Wuebbels.
Mr. Blackmore does not receive compensation for his service as our Interim Chief Executive Officer. All compensation disclosed for Mr. Blackmore in our 2016 Summary Compensation Table represent fees or RSUs awarded to Mr. Blackmore for his service as a member of our Board. Because Mr. Blackmore does not receive compensation for his service as our Interim Chief Executive Officer, this Compensation and Discussion Analysis does not include a discussion of the elements of 2016 compensation for Mr. Blackmore.