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David Swinford

David Swinford

Executive Compensation Strategy
Employment Agreements
Director Compensation
Business Unit Incentives
Compensation Governance Processes
BA, University of Wisconsin-Madison
MS, University of Wisconsin-Madison
JD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Commitment to Clients

Our mission is to help organizations build and maintain great leadership teams to create value for the organization's stakeholders over the long term. All of our work on compensation benchmarking, plan design, and related governance issues is structured to fulfill this mission. Our advice is thoughtful, tailored to the organization, frequently innovative, and always straight-forward, open, and candid.


David Swinford is chairman of Pearl Meyer. He is a senior advisor to the firm’s leadership team and serves on the board of managers. As of the end of 2023, he no longer has a consulting role. 

For more than 45 years, Dave has worked with boards and management teams in all major industries. He has been with Pearl Meyer over 26 years, and was President and CEO from 2007 through 2021. During his tenure as CEO, he guided the firm’s growth and its approach to working with organizations to develop and maintain excellent leadership teams to generate long-term success. Prior to 2007, he served as senior managing director and head of Pearl Meyer’s New York office.

Before joining Pearl Meyer, he was a managing director and worldwide partner of William M. Mercer, Incorporated, where he was a national practice leader for executive compensation. Dave also served as a vice president at Towers Perrin, with worldwide responsibility for the executive compensation consulting practice, and in positions at Sibson & Company and Harris Corporation. He holds BS, MS, and JD degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

At Pearl Meyer, we work with boards and organizations to design and implement compensation and leadership strategies that build great management teams.
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