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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 firm’s board of directors. In his consulting role, Dave works closely with companies to align executive compensation with business and leadership strategies, helping clients build and maintain strong executive teams that create value over the long term.  

For more than 40 years, Dave has worked with boards and management teams in all major industries. He has been with Pearl Meyer over 24 years, and in 2007 was named president and CEO. During his tenure as CEO, he guided the firm’s growth and its approach to delivering strategy-driven executive compensation consulting services. Prior to 2007, he served as senior managing director and head of Pearl Meyer’s New York office.

As an industry leader, Dave works closely with the National Association of Corporate Directors and other organizations on director education and intellectual capital issues. He writes and speaks regularly on executive compensation and board governance, and serves on the board of the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, one of the country’s most respected animal welfare organizations.

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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