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Section 1: DEF 14A (DEF 14A 2019 NOTICE AND PROXY STATEMENT)

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20549
SCHEDULE 14A
Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934

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Definitive Proxy Statement
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Wintrust Financial Corporation
(Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
(Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement, if Other Than the Registrant)
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WINTRUST FINANCIAL CORPORATION
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
TO BE HELD ON MAY 23, 2019
To the Shareholders of Wintrust Financial Corporation:
You are cordially invited to attend the 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the "Annual Meeting") of Wintrust Financial Corporation (the "Company") to be held at our offices located at 9700 West Higgins Road, 2nd Floor, Rosemont, Illinois 60018, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. Central Time, for the following purposes:
1.
To elect the 12 nominees for director named in this Proxy Statement to hold office until the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders or until a successor has been elected and qualified;
2.
To approve, on an advisory (non-binding) basis, the Company’s executive compensation as described in this Proxy Statement;
3.
To ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP to serve as the independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2019; and
4.
To transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting and any adjournment thereof.
The record date for determining shareholders entitled to notice of, and to vote at, the Annual Meeting was the close of business on March 29, 2019. We encourage you to attend the Annual Meeting. Whether or not you plan to attend the Annual Meeting, prompt voting will be appreciated.
Two of our current directors, Sheila G. Talton and Zed S. Francis III, are not standing for re-election this year. Ms. Talton and Mr. Francis have been valued members of our Board of Directors since 2012 and 2015, respectively, and I ask that you join the Board of Directors in thanking them for their service to the Company.
By order of the Board of Directors,
397406601_proxystatement0406201_image1.jpg
Kathleen M. Boege
Corporate Secretary
April 5, 2019
WHETHER OR NOT YOU PLAN TO ATTEND THE ANNUAL MEETING, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU VOTE BY ONE OF THE METHODS NOTED IN THE ATTACHED PROXY STATEMENT.

Important Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials
for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be Held on May 23, 2019:
This Notice of the Annual Meeting, Proxy Statement and the
2018 Annual Report on Form 10-K are Available at:
https://materials.proxyvote.com/97650W





TABLE OF CONTENTS










WINTRUST FINANCIAL CORPORATION
9700 West Higgins Road, Suite 800
Rosemont, Illinois 60018
PROXY STATEMENT
FOR THE 2019 ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
TO BE HELD THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2019
These proxy materials are furnished in connection with the solicitation by the Board of Directors (the “Board” with individual members of the Board each being referred to herein as a “Director”) of Wintrust Financial Corporation, an Illinois corporation (“Wintrust” or the “Company”), of proxies to be used at the 2019 Annual Meeting and at any adjournment of such meeting. In accordance with rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), instead of mailing a printed copy of our proxy materials to each shareholder of record, we furnish proxy materials, which include this Proxy Statement (this “Proxy Statement”) and the accompanying proxy card, Notice of Annual Meeting, and Annual Report on Form 10-K for fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, to our shareholders by making such materials available on the Internet unless otherwise instructed by the shareholder. If you received a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials (the “Notice”) by mail and would like to receive a printed copy of our proxy materials, you should follow the instructions for requesting such materials included in the Notice, which is first being mailed to shareholders on or about April 11, 2019.
ABOUT THE MEETING
When and where is the Annual Meeting?
The Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. Central Time at the Company’s corporate headquarters at 9700 West Higgins Road, 2nd Floor, Rosemont, Illinois 60018.
What is the purpose of the Annual Meeting?
At the Annual Meeting, shareholders will act upon the matters described in the Notice of Annual Meeting that accompanies this Proxy Statement, including the election of the 12 nominees for Director named in this Proxy Statement, a proposal approving (on an advisory basis) the Company’s executive compensation as described in this Proxy Statement, and the ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the Company's independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2019.
Who may vote at the Annual Meeting?
Only record holders of our Common Stock, no par value per share ("Common Stock"), as of the close of business on March 29, 2019 (the "Record Date"), will be entitled to vote at the meeting. On the Record Date, the Company had outstanding approximately 56,638,968 shares of Common Stock. Each outstanding share of the Common Stock entitles the holder to one vote.

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What constitutes a quorum?
The Annual Meeting will be held only if a quorum is present. A quorum will be present if a majority of the shares of the Common Stock issued and outstanding on the Record Date are represented, in person or by proxy, at the Annual Meeting. Shares represented by properly completed proxy cards marked “abstain” or returned without voting instructions are counted as present for the purpose of determining whether a quorum is present at the Annual Meeting. Also, if shares are held by brokers who submit a proxy but are prohibited from exercising discretionary authority for beneficial owners who have not given voting instructions on certain matters (“broker non-votes”), those shares will be counted as present for the purpose of determining whether a quorum is present at the Annual Meeting.
How do I submit my vote?
If you are a shareholder of record, you can vote by:
attending the Annual Meeting and voting by ballot;
using your telephone, according to the instructions on the Notice or proxy card;
visiting www.voteproxy.com and then following the instructions on the screen; or
signing, dating and mailing in your proxy card which may be obtained by calling 888-proxyna (888-776-9962) or by emailing [email protected]
The deadline for voting by telephone or on the Internet is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 22, 2019. Proxy cards submitted by mail must be received by the close of business on May 22, 2019.
How do I vote if I hold my shares through a broker, bank or other nominee?
If you hold your shares through a broker, bank or other nominee, that institution will instruct you as to how your shares may be voted by proxy, including whether telephone or Internet voting options are available. If you hold your shares through a broker, bank or other nominee and would like to vote in person at the Annual Meeting, you must first obtain a proxy issued in your name from the institution that holds your shares and bring that proxy to the Annual Meeting.
Can I change or revoke my vote after I return my proxy card?
Yes. If you are a shareholder of record, you may change your vote by:
voting in person by ballot at the Annual Meeting;
returning a later-dated proxy card;
entering a new vote by telephone or on the Internet (prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 22, 2019); or
delivering written notice of revocation to the Company’s Corporate Secretary by mail at 9700 West Higgins Road, Suite 800, Rosemont, Illinois 60018.

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If you vote by phone or Internet, you may change your vote if you do so prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 22, 2019. Any later-dated proxy card or revocation sent by mail must be received by the close of business on May 22, 2019. If you hold your shares through an institution, that institution will instruct you as to how your vote may be changed.
Who will count the votes?
The Company’s Inspector of Election, American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC, will count the votes.
Will my vote be kept confidential?
Yes. As a matter of policy, shareholder proxies, ballots and tabulations that identify individual shareholders are kept secret and are available only to the Company, its tabulator and inspectors of election, who are required to acknowledge their obligation to keep your votes confidential.
Who pays to prepare, mail and solicit the proxies?
The Company pays all of the costs of preparing, mailing and soliciting proxies. The Company asks brokers, banks, voting trustees and other nominees and fiduciaries to forward proxy materials to the beneficial owners and to obtain authority to execute proxies. The Company will reimburse the brokers, banks, voting trustees and other nominees and fiduciaries upon request. In addition to solicitation by mail, telephone, facsimile, Internet or personal contact by its officers and employees, the Company has retained the services of Morrow Sodali LLC, 470 West Avenue, Third Floor, Stamford, Connecticut 06902, to solicit proxies for a fee of $7,000 plus expenses.
What are the Board’s recommendations as to how I should vote on each proposal?
The Board recommends a vote:
FOR the election of each of the 12 Director nominees named in this Proxy Statement;
FOR the approval, on an advisory (non-binding) basis, of the Company’s executive compensation as described in this Proxy Statement; and
FOR the ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2019.
How will my shares be voted if I sign, date and return my proxy card?
If you sign, date and return your proxy card and indicate how you would like your shares voted, your shares will be voted as you have instructed. If you sign, date and return your proxy card but do not indicate how you would like your shares voted, your proxy will be voted:
FOR the election of each of the 12 Director nominees named in this Proxy Statement;

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FOR the approval, on an advisory (non-binding) basis, of the Company’s executive compensation as described in this Proxy Statement; and
FOR the ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2019.
With respect to any other business that may properly come before the meeting, or any adjournment of the meeting, that is submitted to a vote of the shareholders, including whether or not to adjourn the meeting, your shares will be voted in accordance with the best judgment of the persons voting the proxies.
How will broker non-votes be treated?
A broker non-vote occurs when a broker who holds its customer’s shares in street name submits proxies for such shares, but indicates that it does not have authority to vote on a particular matter. Generally, this occurs when brokers have not received any instructions from their customers. In these cases, the brokers, as the holders of record, are permitted to vote on “routine” matters only, but not on other matters. In this Proxy Statement, brokers who have not received instructions from their customers would only be permitted to vote on:
the ratification of the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the Company's independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2019.
Brokers who have not received instructions from their customers would not be permitted to vote on the remaining proposals to be presented at the Annual Meeting, which are considered "non-routine" matters.
We will treat broker non-votes as present to determine whether or not we have a quorum at the Annual Meeting, but they will not be treated as entitled to vote on the "non-routine" matters described above, for which the broker indicates it does not have discretionary authority.
How will abstentions be treated?
For purposes of determining whether or not we have a quorum at the Annual Meeting, if you vote to abstain, your shares will be counted as present at the Annual Meeting.
If you abstain from voting for one or more of the nominees for Director, this will have the same effect as a vote against such nominee. If you abstain from voting on the advisory (non-binding) proposal approving the Company’s executive compensation as described in this Proxy Statement, or on the ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2019, your abstention will have the same effect as a vote against the proposal or proposals on which you abstain from voting.
What if other matters come up during the Annual Meeting?
If any matters other than those referred to in the Notice of Annual Meeting properly come before the Annual Meeting, the individuals named in the proxy card will vote the proxies held by them in accordance with

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their best judgment. The Company is not aware of any business other than the items referred to in the Notice of Annual Meeting that may be considered at the Annual Meeting.
Your vote is important. Because many shareholders cannot personally attend the Annual Meeting, it is necessary that a large number be represented by proxy. Whether or not you plan to attend the meeting in person, prompt voting will be appreciated. Registered shareholders can vote their shares via the Internet or by using a toll-free telephone number. Instructions for using these convenient services are provided on the proxy card. Of course, you may still vote your shares by submitting the proxy card. A proxy card may be obtained as instructed above under “How do I submit by vote?” If you chose to vote by mail, we ask that you complete, sign, date and return the proxy card promptly in the postage-paid envelope.


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS, COMMITTEES AND GOVERNANCE
Board of Directors
Overview
The Board provides oversight with respect to our overall performance, strategic direction and key corporate policies. It approves major initiatives, advises on key financial and business objectives, and monitors progress with respect to these matters. Members of the Board are kept informed of our business by various reports and documents provided to them on a regular basis, including operating and financial reports made at Board and committee meetings by the Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") and other officers. The Board has seven standing committees. The principal responsibilities of the standing committees are described under the applicable committee headings below. Additionally, the independent Directors meet in regularly scheduled executive sessions, with and without management present, at each meeting of the Board and its committees.
Corporate Governance Practices
We believe that a culture of strong corporate governance is a critical component of our success. Our Board continually evaluates corporate governance developments and strives to adopt “best practices” including:
Annual election of Directors.
Independent Chairman of the Board.
Independent Board. Our Board is comprised of all independent Directors, except our CEO.
Majority vote standard for election of our Directors.
Independent Board committees. Each of our committees (other than the Executive Committee) is made up entirely of independent Directors. Each standing committee operates under a written charter that has been approved by the respective committee, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee (the "Nominating Committee") and the Board.
Regular executive sessions of independent Directors. At each meeting of the Board and each of its Committees, the Directors meet without management present in regularly scheduled executive sessions of independent Directors.
Regular Board self-evaluation process. The Board and each committee evaluate its performance on an annual basis.
Service by the majority of our Directors on the boards of our subsidiary banks or other operating subsidiaries. We believe this dual service gives our Directors a robust view into our operations and performance.
Limitation on other outside board service. We limit our Directors to serve on no more than four other public company boards.

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Retirement Age. We have a policy that we will not nominate a candidate for Director if he or she has attained the age of 76 before the election.
Robust code of ethics. Our corporate code of ethics applies to all of our employees, including our Directors and executive officers. We also have an additional code of ethics applicable to our senior financial officers.
Robust role for the Board in risk oversight. Our Board and its committees play an active and ongoing role in the management of the risks of our business.
Stock ownership guidelines for Directors and named executive officers. Our Directors and named executive officers each must maintain a significant ownership of our Common Stock in order to increase alignment of their interests with those of our shareholders.
Prohibition on hedging, short selling and pledging. Our Directors and executive officers are prohibited from engaging in selling short our Common Stock, engaging in hedging or offsetting transactions regarding our Common Stock or pledging our Common Stock.
No shareholder rights plan (poison pill).
Meetings
The Board met seven times in 2018. Each member of the Board attended more than 80% of the total number of meetings of the Board and the committees on which he or she served. We encourage, but do not require, our Board members to attend annual meetings of shareholders. All of our Board members then in office attended our 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
Board Leadership Structure
The Board has a non-executive Chairman. This position is independent from management. The Chairman leads the Board meetings as well as meetings of the independent Directors. The CEO is a member of the Board and participates in its meetings. The Board believes that this leadership structure is appropriate for the Company at this time because it allows for independent oversight of management, increases management accountability and encourages an objective evaluation of management’s performance relative to compensation. In addition, the Board recognizes that acting as Chairman of the Board is a particularly time-intensive responsibility. Separating these roles allows the CEO to focus solely on his duties, which the Board believes better serves the Company. Separation of the roles of Chairman and CEO also promotes risk management, enhances the independence of the Board from management, and mitigates potential conflicts of interest between the Board and management. In order to ensure continuity of leadership, the Company has a policy set forth in its Corporate Governance Guidelines providing that each non-executive Chairman may serve for a term of not more than nine (9) consecutive years, subject to the requirement that he or she be re-elected as Chairman annually by the Board. The Nominating Committee has proposed, and the Board has agreed, that pending his re-election, H. Patrick Hackett, Jr. will continue to serve as non-executive Chairman of the Board following the Annual Meeting.

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The Board’s Role in Risk Oversight
Our Board has an active and ongoing role in the management of the risks of our business. This role has two fundamental elements: (1) ensuring that management of the Company has implemented an appropriate system to manage risks by identifying, assessing, mitigating, monitoring and communicating about risks; and (2) providing effective risk oversight through the Board and its committees.
The Board believes the first element of its risk oversight role is fulfilled through the Company’s extensive risk assessment and management program designed to identify, monitor, report and control the Company’s risks, which are broken down into various categories deemed relevant to the Company and its business operations. The Enterprise Risk Management Program is administered by the Company’s Senior Vice President — Chief Risk Officer, who provides reports to the Board, the Audit Committee and the Risk Management Committee on a regular basis and other committees of the Board as needed.
The second element of the Board’s oversight role is fulfilled primarily by the full Board regularly receiving written and oral reports from management on the status of various categories of Company risk and on the Company’s overall risks as well as any material changes or developments in risk profiles or experiences. Through this process, our Board reviews and assesses information regarding cybersecurity risks with management. The Board also periodically receives reports regarding regulatory priorities and reviews regulatory examination reports of the Company to remain informed on issues and observations raised by regulatory authorities regarding the risk categories of the Company.
In addition to the full Board’s direct oversight, the Board’s committees provide oversight of various risks created by the Company’s operations. The Audit Committee provides oversight of the monitoring of risk, generally, and oversight of financial, regulatory, operational and legal risks, in particular. The Risk Management Committee monitors, among other things, overall enterprise risk management, credit, interest rate, liquidity and market risks. The Finance Committee provides oversight of risks related to strategic transactions and reviews risks associated with the Company’s capital planning strategy and liquidity. The Information Technology & Information Security Committee ("IT/IS Committee") provides oversight of risks related to the Company’s information technology and information security strategy, infrastructure, systems, business continuity planning and disaster recovery plans and testing. The IT/IS Committee and the Audit Committee coordinate regarding oversight of the Company’s information security programs. The Nominating Committee provides risk oversight relating to the Company’s board and governance. The Compensation Committee provides oversight of risks related to the Company’s compensation of its employees. In addition, the Audit Committee, Finance Committee and Risk Management Committee have each undertaken to monitor relevant portions of the risks relating to the capital stress testing process.
Codes of Ethics
The Board has adopted our Corporate Code of Ethics applicable to all Directors, officers and employees, and our Senior Financial Officer Code of Ethics (together with the Corporate Code of Ethics, the "Codes") each of which is available on the Company’s website at www.wintrust.com by choosing “Investor Relations” and then

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choosing “Corporate Governance.” To assist in enforcement of the Codes, we maintain Wintrust’s Ethicspoint, a toll-free hotline and Internet-based service through which confidential complaints may be made by employees regarding illegal or fraudulent activity; questionable accounting, internal controls or auditing matters; conflicts of interest, dishonest or unethical conduct; disclosures in the Company’s reports filed with the SEC, bank regulatory filings and other public disclosures that are not full, fair, accurate, timely or understandable; violations of our Codes; and/or any other violations of laws, rules or regulations. Any complaints submitted through this process are presented to the Audit Committee on a regular, periodic basis or more frequently as needed. The Company will post on its website any amendments to, or waivers from, the Codes as they apply to its Directors and executive officers to the extent required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) or the Nasdaq stock market (“NASDAQ”).
Shareholder Communications
Any shareholder or other interested parties who desires to contact the non-employee Directors or the other members of our Board may do so by writing to: Wintrust Financial Corporation, Board of Directors, c/o the Corporate Secretary, Wintrust Financial Corporation, 9700 West Higgins Road, Suite 800, Rosemont, Illinois 60018. Copies of written communications received at this address will be provided to the Board, the applicable committee chair or the non-employee Directors as a group unless such communications are considered, in consultation with the non-employee Directors, to be improper for submission to the intended recipient(s). All communications will be forwarded to the Chair of the Nominating Committee unless the communication is specifically addressed to another member of the Board, in which case, the communication will be forwarded to that Director. Shareholders also may obtain a copy of any of the documents posted to the website free of charge by calling (847) 939-9000 and requesting a copy. Information contained on Wintrust’s website is not deemed to be a part of this Proxy Statement.
Committee Membership
The following table summarizes the current membership of the Board and each of its committees as of the date of this Proxy Statement:
Board of Directors
Nominating
and
Corporate
Governance Committee
Audit
Committee
Compensation
Committee
Risk
Management
Committee
Finance
Committee
Information Technology/Information Security Committee
Executive Committee
Peter D. Crist
Chair
 
Member
 
Member
 
Member
Bruce K. Crowther
 
 
Chair
 
Member
Member
Member
William J. Doyle
Member
 
Member
 
Member
 
 
Zed S. Francis III*
 
Member
 
Member
 
 
 
Marla F. Glabe
Member
Member
 
Member
 
 
 
H. Patrick Hackett, Jr. (Chair)
Member
 
 
 
Member
 
Chair
Scott K. Heitmann
 
Member
 
Chair
 
Member
Member
Christopher J. Perry
 
 
 
Member
Chair
 
Member
Ingrid S. Stafford
 
Chair
 
Member
 
Member
Member
Gary D. Sweeney
Member
Member
Member
 
 
 
 
Sheila G. Talton*
 
 
 
Member
 
Chair
Member
Edward J. Wehmer
 
 
 
 
 
 
Member
* Mr. Francis and Ms. Talton are not standing for re-election at the Annual Meeting.

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The Nominating Committee has proposed, and the Board has agreed, that the membership of the Board and each of its committees following the Annual Meeting, assuming each Director nominee is elected, shall be as follows:
Board of Directors
Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
Audit Committee
Compensation Committee
Risk Management Committee
Finance Committee
Information Technology/Information Security Committee
Executive Committee
Peter D. Crist
Chair
 
Member
 
Member
 
Member
Bruce K. Crowther
 
 
Chair
 
Member
Member
Member
William J. Doyle
Member
 
Member
 
Member
 
 
Marla F. Glabe
Member
Member
 
Member
 
 
 
H. Patrick Hackett, Jr. (Chair)
Member
 
 
 
Member
 
Chair
Scott K. Heitmann
 
Member
 
Chair
 
Member
Member
Deborah L. Hall Lefevre*
 
 
 
 
 
Chair
Member
Christopher J. Perry
 
 
 
Member
Chair
 
Member
Ingrid S. Stafford
 
Chair
 
Member
 
Member
Member
Gary D. Sweeney
Member
Member
Member
 
 
 
 
Karin Gustafson Teglia*
 
Vice Chair
 
Member
 
Member
 
Edward J. Wehmer
 
 
 
 
 
 
Member
* Ms. Hall Lefevre and Ms. Teglia are nominees for election to the Board at the Annual Meeting.
The Board adopted the charter of each of the Nominating Committee, the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee, the Risk Management Committee, the Finance Committee, the IT/IS Committee and the Executive Committee, copies of which are available at www.wintrust.com by choosing "Investor Relations" and then choosing "Corporate Governance." Our Corporate Governance Guidelines are also available on the Company's website under the same heading.
Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
The Board has established the Nominating Committee which is responsible for the following, among other responsibilities:
determining criteria for the selection and qualification of the members of the Board and reviewing with the Board the appropriate skills and characteristics required of the Board members;
identifying, evaluating and recommending candidates to fill positions on the Board;
seeking out possible candidates and otherwise aid in attracting highly qualified candidates to serve on the Board and coordinating with the CEO to the extent the Nominating Committee deems appropriate;
evaluating the independence of each member of the Board and establishing procedures for the regular ongoing reporting by Directors of any developments that may be deemed to affect their independence status or qualification to serve as a Director;
considering any resignation submitted by a Director who has experienced a significant change to his or her personal circumstances;

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reviewing the corporate governance guidelines and code of ethics and recommending modifications thereto to the Board;
advising the Board with respect to the size, composition and individual members of the various committees of the Board and the functions of the Board and its committees;
establishing and implementing self-evaluation procedures for the Board and its committees;
assessing and reviewing with management the overall effectiveness of the organization of the Board and the conduct of its business and making appropriate recommendations to the Board with regard thereto;
reviewing shareholder proposals submitted for business to be conducted at an annual meeting;
in consultation with the Audit Committee, reviewing related-party transactions;
reviewing annually Director compensation and recommending modifications thereto to the Board;
reviewing insurance policies and indemnification arrangements applicable to the Directors and executive officers and recommending modifications thereto to the Board;
considering from time to time the overall relationship of the Board and management;
reviewing and assessing annually the adequacy of the Executive Committee Charter and, if appropriate, recommending changes to the Board for approval; and
reviewing and assessing annually the adequacy of the Nominating Committee Charter and, if appropriate, recommending changes to the Board for approval.
The Nominating Committee consists of five Directors, and the Board has determined that each of these Directors has no material relationship with the Company and is otherwise independent under the applicable NASDAQ listing standards. During 2018, the Nominating Committee met four times.
Nomination of Directors
The Nominating Committee seeks nominees from diverse professional backgrounds who combine a broad spectrum of experience and expertise with a reputation for integrity. In doing so, the Nominating Committee considers a wide range of factors in evaluating the suitability of director candidates, including a general understanding of finance and other disciplines relevant to the success of a publicly-traded company in today’s business environment, understanding of our business, education and professional background. The following personal characteristics are considered minimum qualifications for Board membership under the Corporate Governance Guidelines approved by the Board: integrity and accountability, the ability to provide informed judgments on a wide range of issues, financial literacy, a good reputation in the business community, a talent for networking and referring business to the Company, a history of achievements that reflects high standards for themselves and others, and willingness to raise tough questions in a manner that encourages open discussion. On October 25, 2018, the Board approved an increase in the annual retainer fee from $75,000 to $115,000, effective

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January 1, 2019. Under the Corporate Governance Guidelines adopted by the Board, Directors are expected to own Common Stock having a value of at least four times the annual retainer fee, which is $115,000 for fiscal year 2019, within four years of becoming a Director, and to limit board service at other companies to no more than four other public company boards.
The Nominating Committee believes in an expansive definition of diversity that includes differences of experience, education and talents, among other things. While the Nominating Committee does not have a formal policy in this regard, the diversity of the Board is a consideration in evaluating candidates for the Board, among others, as set forth in our Corporate Governance Guidelines.
The Nominating Committee also evaluates the performance of Directors and assesses the effectiveness of committees and the Board as a whole. The effectiveness of the nomination process is evaluated by the Board each year as part of its self-evaluation process and by the Nominating Committee as it evaluates and identifies director candidates.
The Nominating Committee does not have any single method for identifying director candidates but will consider candidates suggested by a wide range of sources. The Nominating Committee will consider director candidates recommended by our shareholders and will apply the same standards in considering director candidates recommended by shareholders as it applies to other candidates. Once the Nominating Committee receives a recommendation from a shareholder, it may request additional information from the candidate about the candidate’s independence, qualifications and other information that would assist the Nominating Committee in evaluating the candidate, as well as certain information that must be disclosed about the candidate in the Company's proxy statement, if nominated.
Shareholders may also directly nominate a candidate for Director pursuant to the advance notice provisions of the Company’s By-laws. Nominations must be received in writing at the principal executive offices of the Company and addressed to Wintrust Financial Corporation, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, c/o Corporate Secretary, 9700 West Higgins Road, Suite 800, Rosemont, Illinois 60018 and otherwise satisfy the requirements set forth in the Company's By-laws.
Audit Committee
The Board has established an Audit Committee for the purpose of overseeing our accounting and financial reporting processes and the audits of our financial statements and evaluating and monitoring the risk profile of the Company. In addition, the Audit Committee assists the Board in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities with respect to the following, in addition to other responsibilities:
be directly responsible for the appointment, termination, compensation and oversight of the work of the independent auditors, including an assessment of the qualifications and independence of the independent auditors;
reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures and

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management reports thereon;
discussing with the independent auditors the matters required to be discussed by the applicable requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the SEC;
overseeing the Company’s internal audit function;
reviewing with management and the independent auditors, the financial statements, footnotes and related disclosures to be included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q;
reviewing results of quarterly interim financial statements and the financial disclosure in the Company’s earnings press releases, registration statements, or current reports;
in consultation with the Nominating Committee, reviewing related-party transactions;
reviewing the status of the Company’s Information Security Program, including updates to risk assessments, results of audit testing and details of any security breaches or violations, as well as any changes to the program;
monitoring and discussing with management and the internal auditors, as it deems appropriate, the Company’s risk assessment and risk management policies;
reviewing the status and results of regulatory examinations;
reviewing compliance with the Codes and insider trading policy;
reviewing and assessing annually the adequacy of the Audit Committee Charter and, if appropriate, recommending changes to the Board for approval.
The Audit Committee has established a policy to pre-approve all audit and non-audit services provided by the independent registered public accounting firm. These services may include audit services, audit-related services, tax services and other services. Pre-approval is generally provided for up to one year. Once pre-approved, the services and pre-approved amounts are monitored against actual charges incurred and modified if appropriate.
To serve on the Audit Committee, Directors must meet financial competency standards and heightened independence standards set forth by the SEC and NASDAQ. In particular, each Audit Committee member:
must be financially literate;
must not have received any consulting, advisory, or other compensatory fees from the Company (other than in his or her capacity as a Director);
must not be the Company's affiliate or the affiliate of any of the Company's subsidiaries; and
must not serve on the audit committee of more than two other public companies, unless the Board determines that such simultaneous service would not impair the ability of such Director to effectively serve on the Audit Committee.

13




Furthermore, at least one member of the Audit Committee must be an “audit committee financial expert” as defined by SEC rules.
The Audit Committee consists of five Directors, and the Board has determined that each of these Directors (including Director nominee Ms. Teglia) has no material relationship with the Company and each is otherwise independent under the applicable NASDAQ listing standards and meets the financial competency and heightened independence standards set forth above. The Board has determined that each of Ms. Stafford, Ms. Glabe, Mr. Heitmann, Mr. Sweeney and Ms. Teglia qualify as audit committee financial experts. During 2018, the Audit Committee met six times.
Compensation Committee
The Board has established a Compensation Committee which is responsible for the following, among other responsibilities:
establishing, in consultation with senior management, the Company’s overall compensation philosophy and overseeing the development and implementation of compensation programs and policies;
reviewing and approving corporate goals and objectives relevant to the compensation of the CEO and other senior management, evaluating the performance of the CEO and other senior management in light of those goals and objectives, and, either as a committee or together with the other independent members of the Board, setting the CEO’s and other senior management’s compensation levels based on this evaluation;
reviewing and approving in advance employment agreements, salary levels, salary increases and bonuses for executive and senior officers of the Company and, if appropriate, senior officers of its subsidiaries, including salaries and awards to newly hired executives and senior officers of the Company;
reviewing the Company's compensation programs to assess the extent to which such practices encourage risk-taking (including compliance with the Company’s Volcker Rule Compliance Policy) or earnings manipulation, and taking any appropriate remedial actions;
administering the Company's stock option and employee stock purchase programs;
reviewing and recommending for Board approval additional executive compensation and employee benefit programs;
reviewing with the CEO senior management promotions and employment of senior management candidates;
conferring with the CEO and other senior management regarding succession planning for senior executive officers and making any such recommendations to the Board;

14




reviewing and approving changes to be made to severance programs and forms of employment agreements and change-in-control agreements;
pre-approving all services provided by any independent compensation consultant retained to participate in the evaluation of executive compensation, other than services performed in connection with non-employee Director compensation;
reviewing the results of any advisory shareholder votes on executive compensation (say-on-pay votes), and considering whether to recommend adjustments to the Company’s executive compensation policies and practices as a result of such votes;
recommending for approval by the Board how frequently the Company should conduct advisory shareholder votes on executive compensation, taking into account the results of any prior shareholder votes regarding the frequency of such votes;
developing and implementing policies with respect to the recovery or “clawback” of any excess compensation, including stock options, paid to any of the Company’s executive officers based on erroneous data; and
reviewing and assessing annually the adequacy of the Compensation Committee Charter and, if appropriate, recommending changes to the Board for approval.
The Compensation Committee consists of four Directors, and the Board has determined that each of these Directors has no material relationship with the Company and each is otherwise independent under the applicable NASDAQ listing standards. During 2018, the Compensation Committee met seven times. The Compensation Committee may, in its discretion, delegate all or a portion of its duties and responsibilities to a subcommittee.
Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation
During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, there were no compensation committee interlocks or insider participation.
Risk Management Committee
The Board has established a Risk Management Committee which is responsible for the following, among other responsibilities:
reviewing and approving the Enterprise Risk Management Policy;
reviewing and approving the Risk Appetite Statement;
reviewing summary reports regarding the Company’s risk profile relative to the Risk Appetite Statement and associated metrics and risk tolerances;
reviewing the Company’s independent loan review plan and loan review results;

15




reviewing measures taken by the Company to identify, measure, monitor, manage and report its risks in the areas of credit, liquidity, interest rates and other market risks, operational risk, vendors, and financial models;
reviewing measures taken by the Company to identify, measure, monitor, manage and report its risks in the areas of information technology & information security, in cooperation with the IT/IS Committee;
reviewing measures taken by the Company to identify, measure, monitor, manage and report its risks in the areas of legal & regulatory compliance, in cooperation with the Audit Committee of the Board;
reviewing the Company’s capital position including the Company’s annual capital planning and stress testing processes and results in cooperation with the Finance Committee of the Board;
reviewing and approving additional policies as may be assigned to the Committee pursuant to the Company’s Enterprise Risk Management Policy, subject to the Board’s reservation of its authority to review and approve any such policies;
meeting periodically with the Chief Risk Officer in separate executive sessions and discussing, among other items, the corporate risk management function’s independent responsibilities, budget and staffing;
coordinating with other committees of the Board and management committees as appropriate concerning risk management issues within the other committees’ respective areas of responsibility;
reviewing reports on special or emerging risk topics as deemed appropriate; and
reviewing and assessing annually the adequacy of the Risk Management Committee Charter and, if appropriate, recommending changes to the Risk Management Committee Charter to the Board for approval.
The Risk Management Committee consists of six Directors, and the Board has determined that each of these Directors (including Director nominee Ms. Teglia) has no material relationship with the Company and each is otherwise independent under the applicable NASDAQ listing standards. During 2018, the Risk Management Committee met four times.
Finance Committee
The Board has established a Finance Committee to provide guidance to management regarding strategic opportunities and related financing transactions. In addition, the Finance Committee assists the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities with respect to the following, among other responsibilities:
reviewing the capital plan and cash position of the Company, and providing advice and guidance on the sources and uses of capital and expected returns on capital deployed;
reviewing and approving key strategic initiatives to determine if they are aligned with the Risk Appetite Statement;

16




reviewing and approving capital policies including the Capital Plan, the Capital Adequacy and Planning Policy and the Capital Contingency Plan;
reviewing and approving results of capital and earnings business plan, annual budget and forecasts;
reviewing and approving components of the capital stress testing process including stress test results;
reviewing holding company/intercompany capital actions, linking to current and forecasted capital levels;
reviewing and approving action plans to remediate gaps identified in the capital management process;
reviewing the Company’s financial policies, capital structure, strategy for obtaining financial resources, tax-planning strategies and use of cash flow;
reviewing and making recommendations with respect to any share repurchase programs and dividend policy;
reviewing proposed mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and divestitures involving the Company and its subsidiaries;
reviewing and making recommendations with respect to private equity and other strategic investments;
reviewing and making recommendations with respect to issuing equity and debt securities;
providing advice to management with respect to the financial aspects of transactions by subsidiaries of the Company that require a vote by the Company, as a shareholder of such subsidiaries; and
reviewing and assessing annually the adequacy of the Finance Committee Charter and, if appropriate, recommending changes to the Board for approval.
The Finance Committee consists of five Directors, and the Board has determined that each of these Directors has no material relationship with the Company and each is otherwise independent under the applicable NASDAQ listing standards. During 2018, the Finance Committee met four times.
Information Technology/Information Security Committee
The Board has established an IT/IS Committee to provide guidance to management regarding information technology and information security. In addition, the IT/IS Committee assists the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities with respect to the following, among other responsibilities:
reviewing and approving the Company’s information technology strategic plan and planning process;
assessing the likelihood, frequency and severity of cyber attacks and data breaches;
reviewing and approving the development and implementation of the Company’s information technology and information security programs and policies in context of the Company's risk profile;

17




reviewing the scope and effectiveness of the Company’s material information technology and information security infrastructure, including strategies for the design, development, implementation and maintenance of new technologies and systems;
reviewing the strategies and measures taken by the Company to identify, assess, monitor, control and mitigate its risks in the areas of information technology and information security;
reviewing and approving the data management strategy for the Company;
overseeing any independent third-party assessments of the Company's information technology and information security programs and policies and data management strategy;
reviewing the effectiveness of business continuity/disaster recovery following cyber attacks, including adequate insurance coverage and incident response plans and testing; and
reviewing annually the adequacy of the IT/IS Committee Charter and, if appropriate, recommending changes to the charter to the Board for approval.
The IT/IS Committee consists of four Directors, and the Board has determined that each of these Directors (including Director nominee Ms. Hall Lefevre) has no material relationship with the Company and each is otherwise independent under the applicable NASDAQ listing standards. During 2018, the IT/IS Committee met four times.
Executive Committee
The Board has established an Executive Committee to provide guidance and counsel to the Company’s management team on significant matters and to take action on behalf of the Board between meetings of the Board or when it is not feasible to convene a meeting of the full Board for timely consideration of the actions proposed to be taken. The Executive Committee may exercise all authority of the Board including, without limitation, the approval of acquisition, financing and other business transactions not involving the issuance of Company stock or approval by shareholders, except as otherwise prohibited by law.
The Executive Committee currently consists of eight Directors, and the Board has determined that each of these Directors, except for Mr. Wehmer, has no material relationship with the Company and is otherwise independent under the NASDAQ listing standards. During 2018, the Executive Committee did not meet.


18




DIRECTOR COMPENSATION
The Company seeks to compensate its non-employee Directors in a manner that attracts and retains qualified candidates to serve on the Board and to compensate such Directors for their service on the Board in an amount that is commensurate with their role and involvement. In setting non-employee Director compensation, the Nominating Committee and the Board consider the significant amount of time the Directors expend in fulfilling their duties as well as the skill level required. During its most recent review of Director compensation, the Nominating Committee reviewed compensation data for non-employee directors from the Company’s then-current peer group. Based on this review of compensation data, which was set forth in the most recent proxy statement filed by each member of the Company's peer group, the Nominating Committee recommended, and the Board determined, to increase the annual retainer fee of our Directors to $115,000, effective January 1, 2019.
To strengthen the alignment of interests between Directors and shareholders, the Board maintains a minimum stock ownership guideline for Directors, which requires Directors to own Common Stock (or Common Stock equivalents) having a value of at least four times the then-current annual retainer fee paid to non-employee Directors. For 2019, this results in an ownership requirement of $460,000. This minimum stock ownership is required to be met within four years of joining the Board. In the event the annual retainer fee is increased, Directors will have four years to meet the new ownership guideline.
As of April 1, 2019, all of the Company’s non-employee Directors either own sufficient shares to meet the stock ownership guideline or are on target to meet the minimum stock ownership guideline within the prescribed time frame.
Compensation for Non-employee Directors
For their service to the Company, non-employee Directors are entitled to an annual retainer fee (the “Annual Retainer”), attendance fees for committee meetings and certain Board meetings, and a payment for service as a chairman of the Board or of certain committees (other than the Annual Retainer, “Other Director Fees”). Additionally, non-employee Directors who serve as a director of any of the Company’s subsidiaries are entitled to compensation for such service. Directors who are employees of the Company receive no additional compensation for their service on the Board.
Annual Retainer. In 2018, the Company paid an Annual Retainer to non-employee Directors of $75,000. As explained further below, this amount may be paid in cash or in shares of the Company’s Common Stock.
Board Meeting Attendance Fees. The Company does not pay an attendance fee for meetings of the Board; however, in the event the Company holds more than six Board meetings in one year, non-employee Directors will receive per meeting fees of $2,000 for in-person attendance, or $1,500 for telephonic attendance, for each such additional Board meeting the Director attends.
Committee Meeting Attendance Fees. In order to properly reward non-employee Directors who sit on committees for their efforts and contributions, non-employee Directors receive an attendance fee for service on a committee of the Board. Non-employee Directors receive $1,700 per committee meeting attended, except for Audit Committee members, who receive a $2,000 per meeting attendance fee.

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Chairmanships. In 2018, each of the Chair of the Audit Committee, the Chair of the Compensation Committee, the Chair of the Finance Committee, the Chair of the IT/IS Committee, the Chair of the Nominating Committee, and the Chair of the Risk Management Committee were entitled to an additional annual fee of $25,000. In 2018, the Company paid the Chairman of the Board an additional annual fee of $60,000.
Subsidiary Directorships. Non-employee Directors who serve on the boards of directors of our subsidiaries are entitled to compensation for such service. No independent member of the Company’s Board serves on more than one subsidiary board other than Ms. Glabe and Mr. Heitmann.
Directors Deferred Fee and Stock Plan
The 2005 Directors Deferred Fee and Stock Plan ("Director Plan") is a program that allows non-employee Directors to receive their Director fees in either cash or Common Stock. Under the Director Plan, Directors may also choose to defer the receipt of the Annual Retainer delivered in the form of Common Stock or defer the receipt of Other Director Fees in the form of cash or Common Stock.
A Director will receive all fees in cash unless he or she elects to receive such fees in shares of the Company’s Common Stock. The number of shares of Common Stock to be issued will be determined by dividing the fees earned during a calendar quarter by the fair market value (as defined in the Director Plan) of the Common Stock on the last trading day of the preceding quarter.
Under the Director Plan, a Director may elect to defer receipt of shares of Common Stock received as an Annual Retainer or as Other Director Fees. If a Director elects to defer his or her receipt of fees paid in Common Stock, the Company will maintain on its books deferred stock units (“Units”) representing an obligation to issue shares of Common Stock to the Director. The number of Units credited will be equal to the number of shares that would have been issued but for the deferral election. Additional Units will be credited at the time dividends are paid on the Common Stock. The number of additional Units to be credited each quarter will be computed by dividing the amount of the dividends that would have been received if the Units were outstanding shares by the fair market value of the Common Stock on the last trading day of the preceding quarter. Because Units represent a right to receive Common Stock in the future, and not actual shares, there are no voting rights associated with them. In the event of an adjustment in the Company’s capitalization or a merger or other transaction that results in a conversion of the Common Stock, corresponding adjustments will be made to the Units. The Director will be a general unsecured creditor of the Company for purposes of the Common Stock to be paid in the future. The shares of Common Stock represented by the Units will be issued to the Director in accordance with the deferral election of the Director.
The Director Plan also permits deferral of Other Director Fees in cash. If a Director elects to defer receipt of Other Director Fees in cash, the Company will maintain on its books a deferred compensation account representing an obligation to pay the Director cash in the future. The amount of the Director’s fees will be credited to a Director’s deferred compensation account as of the date such fees otherwise would be payable to the Director. All amounts in such account will accrue interest based on the 91-day Treasury Bill discount rate, adjusted quarterly, until paid. Accrued interest will be credited at the end of the quarter. No funds will actually be set aside for payment to the Director and the Director will be a general unsecured creditor of the Company for the purposes of the amount in his or her deferred compensation account.

20




The amount in the deferred compensation account will be paid to the Director in accordance with the deferral election of the Director.
All deferrals under the Director Plan will be deferred until the 15th of January following the retirement of such Director from the Board and each of its subsidiaries, or, at the election of the Director at the time of deferral, until the first, second, third, fourth or fifth anniversary of such retirement.
2018 Director Compensation Table
The table below summarizes the compensation paid by the Company to non-employee Directors for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.
(a)
Name
(b)
Fees
Earned or
Paid in Cash
($)(1)

(c)
Stock Awards ($)

(d)
Option
Awards
($)

(e)
Change in Pension Value and Nonqualified Deferred Compensation
Earnings ($)

(f)
All Other
Compensation
($)(2)

(g)
Total
($)

Peter D. Crist
127,000




43,961

170,961

Bruce K. Crowther
125,500




31,641

157,141

William J. Doyle
102,000




1,286

103,286

Zed S. Francis III
93,800




10,553

104,353

Marla F. Glabe
102,100




16,200

118,300

H. Patrick Hackett, Jr.
150,100




2,100

152,200

Scott K. Heitmann
127,100




31,857

158,957

Christopher J. Perry
113,600




15,802

129,402

Ingrid S. Stafford
127,100




26,121

153,221

Gary D. "Joe" Sweeney
105,200




13,100

118,300

Sheila G. Talton
111,900




920

112,820

(1)
Represents fees for services as non-employee Directors of the Company. During 2018, certain Directors elected to receive fees in Common Stock, in lieu of cash payments, as follows:
Name
Fees Earned in Common Stock ($)
Peter D. Crist
127,000
Bruce K. Crowther
100,000
William J. Doyle
102,000
Zed S. Francis III
93,800
Marla F. Glabe
102,100
Scott K. Heitmann
40,000
Christopher J. Perry
113,600
Ingrid S. Stafford
50,000
Sheila G. Talton
20,000
As of December 31, 2018, Directors held Units in our deferred stock program as follows:  Mr. Crist: 48,374 Units; Mr. Crowther: 31,979 Units; Mr. Doyle: 2,447 Units; Mr. Hackett: 2,778 Units; Mr. Heitmann: 9,035 Units; Mr. Perry: 21,739 Units; Ms. Stafford: 11,381 Units; and Ms. Talton: 1,364 Units.

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(2)
Includes fees paid in cash and stock, both currently paid and deferred, for services as directors of the Company’s subsidiaries. Also includes dividends earned on fees deferred as described above. Directors with $10,000 or more in "All Other Compensation" for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 were: Mr. Crist ($35,811 in dividends earned and $8,150 in fees for service as a director of one of the Company’s subsidiaries); Mr. Crowther ($23,616 in dividends earned and $8,025 in fees for service as a director of one of the Company’s subsidiaries); Mr. Francis ($353 in dividends earned and $10,200 in fees for service as a director of one of the Company’s subsidiaries); Ms. Glabe ($400 in dividends earned and $15,800 in fees for service as a director or member of the executive advisory committee of five of the Company’s subsidiaries or divisions); Mr. Heitmann ($6,607 in dividends earned and $25,250 in fees for service as a director of four of the Company’s subsidiaries); Mr. Perry ($15,802 in dividends earned); Ms. Stafford ($8,771 in dividends earned and $17,350 in fees for service as a director of one of the Company’s subsidiaries); and Mr. Sweeney ($13,100 in fees for service as a director of one of the Company’s subsidiaries).


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SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS, DIRECTORS AND MANAGEMENT
The following table sets forth the beneficial ownership of the Common Stock as of the Record Date (except as otherwise indicated), with respect to (i) each Director, nominee for Director and each NEO (as defined herein) of the Company; (ii) all Directors and executive officers of the Company as a group and (iii) significant shareholders known to the Company to beneficially own in excess of 5% of the Common Stock. Unless otherwise indicated, the listed person has sole voting and dispositive power.
 
Amount of Common Shares Beneficially Owned (1)
Restricted Stock Units (1)
Options & Warrants Exercisable Within 60 Days (1)
Total Amount of Beneficial Ownership (1)
Total Percentage Ownership (1)
Directors
 
 
 
 
 
 
Peter D. Crist
48,374



48,374

*
 
Bruce K. Crowther
32,623



32,623

*
 
William J. Doyle
2,578



2,578

*
 
Zed S. Francis III
14,187



14,187

*
 
Marla F. Glabe
7,068



7,068

*
 
H. Patrick Hackett, Jr.
33,862



33,862

*
 
Scott K. Heitmann
18,862



18,862

*
 
Christopher J. Perry
57,489



57,489

*
 
Ingrid S. Stafford
21,023



21,023

*
 
Gary D. "Joe" Sweeney
3,645



3,645

*
 
Sheila G. Talton
6,048



6,048

*
 
Edward J. Wehmer**
134,859

53,838

29,173

217,870

*
 
Director Nominees not currently serving
 
 
 
 
 
 
Deborah L. Hall Lefevre




*
 
Karin Gustafson Teglia
310



310

*
 
Named Executive Officers
 
 
 
 
 
 
David A. Dykstra
146,871

37,450

16,790

201,111

*
 
Richard B. Murphy
32,139


3,778

35,917

*
 
Timothy S. Crane
18,674

407

23,641

42,722

*
 
David L. Stoehr
10,127


2,829

12,956

*
 
Total Directors & Executive Officers (21 persons)
670,284

91,899

134,105

896,288

1.58
%
Total Continuing Directors & Executive Officers (21 persons)
650,359

91,899

134,105

876,363

1.54
%
Significant Shareholders
 
 
 


 
 
BlackRock, Inc. (2)
5,672,377



5,672,377

10.0
%
The Vanguard Group, Inc. (3)
5,289,842



5,289,842

9.38
%
*
Less than 1%.
**
Mr. Wehmer is also a named executive officer.
(1)
Beneficial ownership and percentages are calculated in accordance with SEC Rule 13d-3 promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).
(2)
Based solely on information obtained from a Schedule 13G/A filed by BlackRock, Inc. ("BlackRock") with the SEC on March 8, 2019 reporting beneficial ownership as of February 28, 2019. According to this report,

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BlackRock’s business address is 55 East 52nd Street, New York, New York 10055. BlackRock has indicated that it holds shares of our Common Stock together with certain of its subsidiaries. BlackRock has sole voting power with respect to 5,258,998 of these shares and sole dispositive power with respect to 5,672,377 of these shares.
(3)
Based solely on information obtained from a Schedule 13G/A filed by The Vanguard Group, Inc. (“Vanguard”) with the SEC on February 11, 2019 reporting beneficial ownership as of December 31, 2018. According to this report, Vanguard’s business address is 100 Vanguard Blvd., Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355. Vanguard has indicated that it holds shares of our Common Stock together with certain of its subsidiaries. Vanguard has sole voting power with respect to 26,729 of these shares, shared voting power with respect to 5,870 of these shares, sole dispositive power with respect to 5,262,559 shares and shared dispositive power with respect to 27,283 of these shares.


24




RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS
Director Independence
A Director is independent if the Board affirmatively determines that he or she has no material relationship with the Company other than serving as a Director of the Company and he or she otherwise satisfies the independence requirements of the NASDAQ listing standards. A Director is “independent” under the NASDAQ listing standards if the Board affirmatively determines that the Director has no material relationship with us directly or as a partner, shareholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with us. Direct or indirect ownership of even a significant amount of our stock by a Director who is otherwise independent will not, by itself, bar an independence finding as to such Director.
The Board has reviewed the independence of our current non-employee Directors and nominees and found that each of them are independent under the applicable NASDAQ listing standards, except Edward J. Wehmer, who serves as our President and CEO. Accordingly, more than 91% of the members of the Board are independent, including the Chairman of the Board.
Related Party Transactions
We or one of our subsidiaries may occasionally enter into transactions with certain “related persons.” Related persons include our executive officers, directors, 5% or more beneficial owners of our Common Stock, immediate family members of these persons and entities in which one of these persons has a direct or indirect material interest. We refer to transactions with these related persons as “related party transactions.” The Audit Committee and the Nominating Committee are jointly responsible for the review and approval of each related party transaction exceeding $120,000. Such committees consider all relevant factors when determining whether to approve a related party transaction including, without limitation, whether the terms of the proposed transaction are at least as favorable to us as those that might be achieved with an unaffiliated third party. Among other relevant factors, the Audit Committee and the Nominating Committee consider the following:
the size of the transaction and the amount of consideration payable to a related person;
the nature of the interest of the applicable executive officer, Director or 5% shareholder in the transaction;
whether the transaction may involve a conflict of interest;
whether the transaction involves the provision of goods or services to us that are available from unaffiliated third parties; and
whether the proposed transaction is on terms and made under circumstances that are at least as favorable to us as would be available in comparable transactions with or involving unaffiliated third parties.
Some of the executive officers and Directors of the Company are, and have been during the preceding year, customers of the Company’s banking subsidiaries (the “Banks”), and some of the officers and Directors of the Company are direct or indirect owners of 10% or more of the stock of corporations which are, or have been in the past, customers of the Banks. Extensions of credit by the Company and its banking subsidiaries to “insiders” of the Company and its subsidiaries are also regulated by Regulation O adopted under the Federal Reserve Act and the Federal Deposit Insurance

25




Corporation Improvement Act. It is the Company’s policy that any transactions with persons whom Regulation O defines as “insiders” (i.e., executive officers, Directors, principal shareholders and their related interests) are engaged in the same manner as transactions conducted with all members of the public. As such customers, they have had transactions in the ordinary course of business of the Banks, including borrowings, all of which transactions are or were on substantially the same terms (including interest rates and collateral on loans) as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with nonaffiliated persons. In the opinion of management of the Company, none of the transactions involved more than the normal risk of collectability or presented any other unfavorable features. Additionally, in certain cases, a family member of an executive officer or Director of the Company serves as a director of a Bank or is employed in a non-executive role by the Company or an affiliate of the Company on terms that are consistent with their peers and at market compensation levels that are commensurate with their roles. In no case does an immediate family member directly report to a related executive officer or Director. Other than as described above, since January 1, 2018, no transaction was identified as a related party transaction.


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SECTION 16(A) BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING COMPLIANCE
Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act requires the Company’s Directors and executive officers and any person who beneficially owns greater than 10% of the Common Stock to file reports of holdings and transactions in the Common Stock with the SEC.
Based solely on a review of the Section 16(a) reports furnished to us with respect to 2018 and written representations from our executive officers and Directors, we believe that all Section 16(a) filing requirements applicable to each covered person were satisfied during 2018.


27




PROPOSAL NO. 1 — ELECTION OF DIRECTORS
The Company’s Board is currently comprised of 12 Directors, each serving a term that will expire at this year’s Annual Meeting or until a successor has been elected and qualified. Two of our current directors, Sheila G. Talton and Zed S. Francis III, are not standing for re-election this year.
At the Annual Meeting, you will elect 12 individuals to serve on the Board until the next Annual Meeting or until a successor has been elected and qualified. The Board, acting pursuant to the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, has nominated each Director standing for election. Each nominee has indicated a willingness to serve, and the Board has no reason to believe that any of the nominees will not be available for election. However, if any of the nominees is not available for election, proxies may be voted for the election of other persons selected by the Board. Proxies cannot, however, be voted for a greater number of persons than the number of nominees named. Shareholders of the Company have no cumulative voting rights with respect to the election of Directors.
It is expected that, pending re-election at the Annual Meeting, H. Patrick Hackett, Jr. will serve as non-executive Chairman of the Board following the Annual Meeting. Assuming each Director nominee is elected to serve on the Board until the next Annual Meeting, the membership of the Board and each of its committees following the Annual Meeting, is expected to be as follows:
Name
Age
Director Since
Committees
Subsidiaries/Divisions
Peter D. Crist
67
1996
Nominating
Compensation
Finance
Executive
Hinsdale Bank
Bruce K. Crowther
67
1998
Compensation
Finance
IT/IS
Executive
Barrington Bank
William J. Doyle
68
2017
Nominating
Compensation
Finance
Marla F. Glabe
65
2015
Nominating
Audit
Risk Management
Great Lakes Advisors
Wintrust Investments
The Chicago Trust Company
FIRST Insurance Funding
Wintrust Life Finance
H. Patrick Hackett, Jr., Chairman of the Board
67
2008
Nominating
Finance
Executive
Wintrust Bank
(Advisory Director)
Scott K. Heitmann
70
2008
Audit
Risk Management
IT/IS
Executive
Great Lakes Advisors
Wintrust Investments
The Chicago Trust Company
Wintrust Bank
Deborah L. Hall Lefevre
51
IT/IS
Executive
Christopher J. Perry
63
2009
Risk Management
Finance
Executive
Ingrid S. Stafford
65
1998
Audit
Risk Management
IT/IS
Executive
Wintrust Bank
Gary D. "Joe" Sweeney
61
2015
Nominating
Audit
Compensation
Town Bank
Karin Gustafson Teglia
51
Audit
IT/IS
Risk Management
Hinsdale Bank
Tricom
Edward J. Wehmer
65
1996
Executive
Shared officer of each subsidiary
Each of our nominees for election to the Board has previously served as a Director, other than Ms. Hall Lefevre and Ms. Teglia. Ms. Hall Lefevre was recommended to the Chairman of the Nominating and Governance

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Committee by several independent third parties. Ms. Teglia was known to several independent Directors by virtue of her service as a member of the Tricom, Inc. of Milwaukee ("Tricom") board of directors and Hinsdale Bank board of directors, including her service as its Audit Committee chair. The Nominating Committee, in accordance with its customary process, duly considered the qualifications of these two Director nominees, as well as other candidates, considering factors including those set forth in “Nomination of Directors” on page 11. At the conclusion of its comprehensive candidate vetting process, the Nominating Committee recommended nomination of Ms. Hall Lefevre and Ms. Teglia, and based upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, the Board has nominated Ms. Hall Lefevre and Ms. Teglia for election to the Board at the Annual Meeting.
Nominees for Election at the 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders
Peter D. Crist (67), Director since 1996. Mr. Crist served as the Company’s Chairman from 2008 to 2017. He currently is the chair of the Nominating Committee. Mr. Crist founded Crist/Kolder Associates, an executive recruitment firm which focuses on chief executive officer and director searches, in 2003 and has served since inception as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. From December 1999 to January 2003, Mr. Crist served as Vice Chairman of Korn/Ferry International (NYSE), the largest executive search firm in the world. Previously, he was President of Crist Partners, Ltd., an executive search firm he founded in 1995 and sold to Korn/Ferry International in 1999. Immediately prior thereto he was Co-Head of North America and the Managing Director of the Chicago office of Russell Reynolds Associates, Inc., the largest executive search firm in the Midwest, where he was employed for more than 18 years. He currently serves as a director of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he chairs the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Crist is a director of Hinsdale Bank.
Mr. Crist’s experience assisting companies with executive searches provides him with insight into the attraction and retention of Company personnel, an important concern of the Company. In addition, Mr. Crist’s experience as an executive of several large, Chicago-based businesses provides him with insight into the management and operational challenges and opportunities facing the Company in its markets. He also brings experience as the chair of the compensation committee of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In addition, Mr. Crist’s experience as a director of Hinsdale Bank gives him valuable insight into the Company’s banking operations.
Bruce K. Crowther (67), Director since 1998. Mr. Crowther served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Community Healthcare, Northwest Community Hospital and certain of its affiliates (“Northwest Community”) from January 1992 until his retirement in December 2013. Prior to that time he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Northwest Community from 1989 to 1991. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Mr. Crowther is the past Chairman of the board of directors of the Illinois Hospital Association as well as recent former Chairman of the board of directors of the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation. Additionally, he serves as a director of NeoGenomics, Inc. (NASDAQ). Mr. Crowther is a director of Barrington Bank.
Mr. Crowther’s experience as President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Community provides him with insight into the challenges of leading a large and complex organization in the greater Chicago area and an

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understanding of the operation and management of a large business. In addition, Mr. Crowther’s experience as a director of Barrington Bank gives him valuable insight into the Company’s banking operations.
William J. Doyle (68), Director since 2017. Mr. Doyle served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (“PotashCorp”), one of the world’s largest fertilizer suppliers, for 15 years, and retired in July 2015. Mr. Doyle formerly served as President of the International Fertilizer Industry Association, a trade association representing the global fertilizer industry, and was a board member of Canpotex and the International Plant Nutrition Institute.
Mr. Doyle is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Chairman of the University’s Board of Directors. He is also on the board of the Big Shoulders Fund, a charity providing support to Catholic schools in the neediest areas of inner-city Chicago.
Mr. Doyle’s experience as President and Chief Executive Officer of PotashCorp provides him with insight into the challenges of leading a large and complex global organization with key operations throughout the world, as well as an understanding of the operation and management of, and governance and regulatory considerations associated with, a large public company.
Marla F. Glabe (65), Director since 2015. Ms. Glabe has over 40 years of experience in the financial services industry including her service as a senior executive with Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") and as a member of the board of directors of Allstate Life Insurance Company. From 1974 to 2009, she held various executive positions at Allstate and its affiliates. From 2011 until March of 2019, Ms. Glabe served as the Lead Managing Director for MasterMind Advisory Board, a corporation offering advisory services to CEOs and business entrepreneurs. Ms. Glabe is Senior Advisor for Management Control International, Inc., a privately owned family asset management firm, serves on the boards of Royal Neighbors of America, a fraternal life insurance company, and Northwest Community Healthcare, and is a member of the Society of Actuaries. Ms. Glabe is a director of Great Lakes Advisors, Wintrust Investments, and The Chicago Trust Company and serves on the Executive Advisory Committee for First Insurance Funding and Wintrust Life Finance.
Ms. Glabe’s business experience gives her in-depth knowledge of managing and providing leadership at sophisticated nationwide organizations in highly regulated businesses. Her knowledge of the insurance industry gives her insight into an area which, through the Company’s insurance premium financing business, impacts a substantial portion of the Company’s business. In addition, her experience in leadership provides Ms. Glabe with knowledge of the issues faced by large and complex businesses in the financial services industry. As a result of her financial experience, Ms. Glabe qualifies as a financial expert for purposes of rules governing audit committees. Ms. Glabe’s experience on the Executive Advisory Committee for First Insurance Funding and Wintrust Life Finance and as a current director of the boards associated with Wintrust Wealth Management gives her valuable insight into the Company’s non-banking operations
H. Patrick Hackett, Jr. (67), Director since 2008. Mr. Hackett has served as the Company's Chairman since 2017. Mr. Hackett has been the Principal of HHS Co., an investment company located in the Chicago area, since 2001.

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Previously, he served for 12 years as the President and Chief Executive Officer of RREEF Capital, Inc. and as Principal of The RREEF Funds, an international commercial real estate investment management firm. Mr. Hackett taught real estate finance at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management for 15 years when he also served on the real estate advisory boards of Kellogg and of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He serves on the boards of First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE) and Northwestern University. Mr. Hackett is an advisory director of Wintrust Bank.
Mr. Hackett’s experience provides him deep familiarity with financial modeling and underwriting approaches toward valuing corporate and bank acquisitions, as well as commercial real estate, which often serves as collateral for the Company’s products. Mr. Hackett’s experience as an advisory director of Wintrust Bank and as a bank auditor, early in his career, give him valuable insight into bank accounting of the Company’s banking operations.
Scott K. Heitmann (70), Director since 2008. Mr. Heitmann, retired for the past 14 years, has over 30 years of experience in the banking industry, including his service as Vice Chairman of LaSalle Bank Corporation and President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Federal Bank from 1997 to 2005. He served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of LaSalle Community Bank Group and LaSalle Bank FSB from 1988 to 1996. Mr. Heitmann currently serves as an Advisory Director of Boys Hope Girls Hope of Illinois. Mr. Heitmann has previously served as a director of LaSalle Bank Corporation, Standard Federal Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. Mr. Heitmann is a director of Great Lakes Advisors, Wintrust Investments, The Chicago Trust Company, and Wintrust Bank.
Mr. Heitmann’s experience in the banking industry, including service in executive leadership roles at LaSalle Bank Corporation and Standard Federal Bank, provide him with knowledge of the financial services business, generally, and the business of community banking, in particular. His experience as a former bank lender also provides insight into the Company’s community banking business. In addition, his experience with LaSalle Bank’s various predecessors provides him with insight into the opportunities and challenges posed to a growth-oriented Chicago-based community bank. As a result of his financial experience, Mr. Heitmann qualifies as a financial expert for purposes of rules governing audit committees. Mr. Heitmann’s experience as a director of Wintrust Bank and the boards associated with Wintrust Wealth Management gives him valuable insight into the Company’s banking, brokerage and investment advisory operations.
Deborah L. Hall Lefevre (51), Director Nominee. Ms. Lefevre currently serves as Senior Vice President, Global Chief Information Officer of Couche-Tard/Circle K (“Circle K”), where she is responsible for global technology and digital strategy and execution across a network of approximately 15,500 locations operated by Circle K, a multinational operator of convenience stores. From 2003 until joining Circle K in 2017, Ms. Lefevre served in various management positions within the Information Technology department of McDonald’s Corporation, including Corporate Vice President, Global Enterprise Solutions and Business Transformation (2015-17); Chief Information Officer, U.S. Segment (2013-15); and Vice President, IT Enterprise (2008-13).
Ms. Lefevre’s extensive knowledge of information technology systems and information security issues will

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provide the Company with sophisticated guidance regarding the Company’s technology and information security strategy and tactical objectives. In addition, her experience as a senior executive of two large, highly-complex public companies provides her with comprehensive knowledge of the issues faced by complex businesses.
Christopher J. Perry (63), Director since 2009. Mr. Perry is currently a partner at CIVC Partners LLC ("CIVC Partners"), a private equity investment firm which he joined in 1994 after leading Continental Bank’s ("Continental") Mezzanine Investments and Structured Finance groups. Prior to joining Continental in 1985, he served as a Vice President in the Corporate Finance Department of the Northern Trust Company. He has been in the financial services industry for the past 35 years. During his time at CIVC Partners, he has served on the boards of over a dozen public and private companies. Mr. Perry previously served as a director of Wintrust from 2001 to 2002.
Mr. Perry’s role as a partner of CIVC Partners gives him insight into a broad range of privately held companies across a number of industries, including financial services. In addition, his experience as a leader at CIVC Partners, Continental’s Mezzanine Investments Group and Structured Finance Group gives him insight into complex capital structures, financial instruments and all aspects of transactions. Mr. Perry’s more than three decades of experience in the financial services industry have given him considerable experience in many aspects of the industry during several credit and economic cycles.
Ingrid S. Stafford (65), Director since 1998. Ms. Stafford has held various positions since 1977 with Northwestern University, where she is currently serving as Senior Advisor to the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance. Ms. Stafford plans to retire from her Senior Advisor role at Northwestern University in August 2019. Ms. Stafford is a trustee of the Evanston Alternative Opportunities Fund, an SEC registered fund advised by Evanston Capital Management. She is chair of its audit committee and a member of its fund valuation committee. In 2013, Ms. Stafford was elected to the national governing council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where she is chair of its audit committee and member of its executive and finance committees. She also serves on the investment and audit committees of the Evanston Community Foundation. She is an emeritus director of Wittenberg University where she served from 1993 to 2006, including serving as Board Chair from 2001 to 2005. Ms. Stafford is a director of Wintrust Bank.
Ms. Stafford’s experience in financial management at Northwestern University, including prior service as Vice President for Financial Operations and Treasurer, provides experience with the management of the liquidity, financial reporting, risk and audit management of a large organization. She serves in a management support role to its Board of Trustees’ Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, Finance and Investment Committees. In addition, as a member of the investment committee of the Evanston Community Foundation, she has experience with investment strategy and asset allocation. She also has experience as an audit committee member and chair of the Board of Pensions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (now known as Portico Benefit Services) and audit committee member of Wittenberg University. As a result of her financial experience, Ms. Stafford qualifies as a financial expert for purposes of rules governing audit committees. In addition, Ms. Stafford’s experience as a director of Wintrust Bank gives her valuable insight into the Company’s banking operations.

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Gary D. "Joe" Sweeney (61), Director since 2015. Mr. Sweeney serves as strategic advisor to Corporate Financial Advisors, LLC (“CFA”), a middle-market investment banking firm, which specializes in providing merger and acquisition advisory services, capital sourcing, exit planning and general corporate advisory services. From 2000 to April 2015, Mr. Sweeney was a co-owner and a managing director of CFA. Prior to that time, he founded and served as president of Sports Marketing and Management Group, LLC, a sports marketing and management firm that specializes in assisting and representing coaches and professional athletes in securing contracts and marketing opportunities. Mr. Sweeney is a published best-selling author and a frequent public speaker. Mr. Sweeney has served on the boards of directors of numerous private companies over the past 30 years. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of The University of Notre Dame Graduate Alumni Board for the Mendoza College of Business and Town Bank.
Mr. Sweeney’s experience provides him with extensive knowledge of mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, and the investment process, each of which are key functions of the Company. His knowledge of underwriting approaches and valuation methodologies are valuable in evaluations of proposed transactions. Mr. Sweeney's experience provides experience with the management of the liquidity, financial reporting, risk and audit management of a large organization. As a result of his financial experience, Mr. Sweeney qualifies as a financial expert for purposes of rules governing audit committees. In addition, his experience in leadership provides Mr. Sweeney with knowledge of the issues faced by large and complex businesses. Mr. Sweeney’s experience as a current director of Town Bank gives him valuable insight to the Company’s banking operations.
Karin Gustafson Teglia (51), Director Nominee. Ms. Teglia is President of DEKK Enterprises, LLC, an incubator that develops innovative concepts and go-to-market strategies for consumer products and services. Ms. Teglia also has served since 2009 as an advisor to TRP Investments, LLC, a commercial real estate investor. Prior to this role, Ms. Teglia served in various corporate finance management and international tax roles within McDonald’s Corporation, including Corporate Senior Vice President, Finance (2007-08); Corporate Vice President, Finance (2005-07) and Corporate Vice President of Tax (2001-05). Prior to joining McDonald’s Corporation in 1995, Ms. Teglia began her career as an international tax consultant with Price Waterhouse. Ms. Teglia is a certified public accountant and an attorney licensed to practice in Illinois.
Ms. Teglia currently serves as a director of Tricom as well as a director of Hinsdale Bank, chairing its Audit Committee and also serving on its Risk Committee. She also served on an Advisory Panel of the National Academy of Sciences, focusing on food allergy research, and serves on the Food Allergy Research and Education Board of National Ambassadors.
Ms. Teglia’s management experience at McDonald’s Corporation provides experience with the management of the liquidity, financial reporting, risk and audit management of a large organization. As a result of her financial experience, Ms. Teglia qualifies as a financial expert for purposes of rules governing audit committees. Additionally, Ms. Teglia’s experience as a director of Hinsdale Bank gives her valuable insight into the Company’s banking operations, as well as experience as an audit committee member and chair.

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Edward J. Wehmer (65), Director since 1996. Mr. Wehmer, a founder of the Company, has served since May 1998 as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Prior to May 1998, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company since its formation in 1996. He served as the President of Lake Forest Bank from 1991 to 1998. He serves as an Advisory Director of each of the Company’s main operating subsidiaries. Mr. Wehmer is a certified public accountant and earlier in his career spent seven years with the accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP specializing in the banking field and particularly in the area of bank mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Wehmer serves as Lead Independent Director on the board of directors of Stepan Company (NYSE), a chemical manufacturing and distribution company. He also serves as a director of the Catholic Extension Society, on the audit committee of Northwestern Memorial Health Care, as a trustee for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Foundation, as chair of Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation, and on the Finance Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Mr. Wehmer is the only member of the Board who is also an executive officer of the Company. As such, he provides the views of the management of the Company and substantial insight into the operations of the Company. As an employee of the Company since its inception, he also provides historical context for the Board’s discussions.
Required Vote
Election as a Director of the Company requires that a nominee receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares of Common Stock represented at the Annual Meeting, in person or by proxy, and entitled to vote thereon. Accordingly, instructions to abstain will have the same effect as a vote against such nominee. Broker non-votes will have no impact on the election of Directors.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE “FOR” THE ELECTION
OF EACH OF THE NOMINEES FOR DIRECTOR NAMED ABOVE.


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EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE COMPANY
Certain information regarding those persons serving as the Company’s executive officers is set forth below.
Edward J. Wehmer (65) — President and Chief Executive Officer — Mr. Wehmer serves as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Accordingly, he is responsible for overseeing the execution of the Company’s day-to-day operations and strategic initiatives. See the description above under “Proposal No. 1 — Election of Directors” for additional biographical information.
David A. Dykstra (58) — Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer — Mr. Dykstra joined the Company in 1995 and currently serves as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to 2002, Mr. Dykstra served as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Dykstra also serves as a Regional Market Head overseeing First Insurance Funding and Wintrust Life Finance divisions and First Insurance Funding of Canada. Prior thereto, Mr. Dykstra was employed from 1990 to 1995 by River Forest Bancorp, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, most recently holding the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to his association with River Forest Bancorp, Mr. Dykstra spent seven years with KPMG LLP, most recently holding the position of Audit Manager in the banking practice. Mr. Dykstra is a Director of Chicago Deferred Exchange Company, LLC, First Insurance Funding of Canada, State Bank of the Lakes, and Tricom and serves on the Executive Advisory Committee of FIRST Insurance Funding and Wintrust Life Finance, both divisions of Lake Forest Bank.
Kathleen M. Boege (52) — Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary — Ms. Boege joined the Company in September 2015. Ms. Boege manages all legal affairs of the Company, as well as assisting banks and non-bank subsidiaries with legal matters. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Boege served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of FreightCar America, Inc. from January 2013 through August 2015. She joined FreightCar America, Inc. from Bally Total Fitness Corporation ("Bally") where she served as Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary from August 2011 through December 2012. Prior to this role, she held other leadership roles in legal and human resources at Bally commencing in 2007. Prior to joining Bally, Ms. Boege was Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at the Chicago Stock Exchange. Prior to joining the Chicago Stock Exchange, Ms. Boege worked in private practice at two Chicago law firms from 1991 to 1999.
Timothy S. Crane (57) — Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Senior Market Head — Mr. Crane joined the Company in August 2008. He oversees Wintrust's subsidiary banks and was appointed to serve as Corporate Treasurer of the Company in January 2016. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Crane served as President and Head of Retail Banking of Harris Bank in Chicago where he was employed for 24 years. Mr. Crane serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Family Services and the Bank Administration Institute. In addition, Mr. Crane is a Director of several of the Wintrust subsidiary banks including the two largest banks, Lake Forest Bank and Wintrust Bank where he serves as Chairman.
Guy W. Eisenhuth (63) — Executive Vice President and Regional Market Head — Mr. Eisenhuth joined the Company in January 2010 as President and Chief Executive Officer of Village Bank and was promoted in January 2014 to Executive Vice President and Regional Market Head and currently oversees Barrington Bank, Schaumburg Bank, St. Charles Bank and Village Bank. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Eisenhuth served as Head of Commercial Banking of Fifth Third Bank in Chicago where he was employed for one year and worked for several years at J.P. Morgan Chase, and

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predecessors, ultimately serving as Senior Vice President-Group Head, Middle Market Banking. Mr. Eisenhuth is a Director of Barrington Bank, Schaumburg Bank, St. Charles Bank and Village Bank.
Leona A. Gleason (69) — Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer — Ms. Gleason joined the Company in January 2010 and oversees certain administrative affairs of the Company including Operations, Compliance, Community Reinvestment Act, Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering. From 1996 to 2009, Ms. Gleason was Executive Vice President at FBOP Corporation, a $19 billion privately-held bank holding company. She had primary responsibility for Human Resources, Training, Compliance, Community Reinvestment Act, Bank Secrecy Act, Risk Management, Retail, Operations and Information Technology. Prior to her association with FBOP, from 1977 to 1996, Ms. Gleason was Senior Vice President at Corus Bankshares, Inc. where she managed Retail Banking, Operations, Information Technology, Compliance and Human Resources and from 1972 to 1977 was Vice President at Boulevard Bank.
David L. Larson (56) — Executive Vice President and Regional Market Head — Mr. Larson joined the Company in April 2010. He oversees the Managed Asset Division of the Company which directs collection efforts for both the Company’s loan portfolios. He also serves as a Regional Market Head overseeing Old Plank Trail Community Bank, Beverly Bank and Wheaton Bank. Mr. Larson was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Wheatland Bank from December 2009 to April 2010, when it was taken into receivership by the FDIC and acquired by the Company. From 1995 until 2009, Mr. Larson served in various executive positions at Chicago subsidiaries of FBOP Corporation, a $19 billion privately-held bank holding company. Prior to his association with FBOP, Mr. Larson served in various commercial banking positions at American National Bank from 1987 to 1995. Mr. Larson is the Chairman of Beverly Bank and a Director of Old Plank Trail Community Bank and Wheaton Bank.
Richard B. Murphy (59) — Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer — Since January 2002, Mr. Murphy has served as the Company’s Chief Credit Officer and is responsible for coordinating all the credit functions of the Company as well as its Treasury Management function and mortgage banking business. Mr. Murphy served as the President of Hinsdale Bank from 1996 until December of 2005. From 1993 until his promotion to President of Hinsdale Bank, Mr. Murphy served as the Executive Vice President and Senior Lender of Hinsdale Bank. Prior to his association with the Company, Mr. Murphy served as President of the First State Bank of Calumet City. Mr. Murphy is a Director of Hinsdale Bank. Mr. Murphy is on the Board of the Big Shoulders Fund, the Advisory Board of After School Matters, and is Co-Chair of the Keystone Board of Shirley Ryan Ability Labs. Mr. Murphy is married to the sister of Mr. Wehmer’s wife.
David L. Stoehr (59) — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer — Mr. Stoehr joined the Company in January 2002 and manages all financial and accounting affairs of the Company, including internal and external financial reporting. Previously, Mr. Stoehr was Senior Vice President/Reporting & Analysis at Firstar/U.S. Bancorp, Director of Finance/Controller of Associated Banc-Corp with primary responsibility for financial accounting and reporting, business unit financial management and data warehouse design and implementation. Prior to his association with Associated Banc-Corp, Mr. Stoehr was Assistant Vice President/Balance Sheet Management at Huntington Bancshares, Inc., Columbus,

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Ohio, from 1993 to 1995 and Financial Reporting Officer at Valley Bancorporation, Appleton, Wisconsin, from 1983 to 1993.
Thomas P. Zidar (50) — Executive Vice President and Senior Market Head of Wealth Management Services — Mr. Zidar joined the Company in 2006 and also serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wintrust Wealth Management. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Zidar worked at ABN AMRO/LaSalle Bank for nine years, most recently as Executive Vice President in the Personal Financial Services group of LaSalle Bank, responsible for five business units. Throughout Mr. Zidar’s tenure with ABN AMRO/LaSalle Bank, he served as Chairman, President and CEO of ABN AMRO Financial Services; Senior Vice President, Integration Management; Senior Vice President/First Vice President, Acquisitions & Corporate Capital; and Vice President, Profit Enhancement. Previously, Mr. Zidar held positions as an Associate at A.T. Kearney, a management consulting firm, in Chicago, and as a Financial Analyst and Associate at TTG, an investment banking firm, in New York and London. Mr. Zidar serves as a Director of Great Lakes Advisors, Wintrust Investments, The Chicago Trust Company, and Chicago Deferred Exchange Company.


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EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION COMPENSATION DISCUSSION & ANALYSIS
This Compensation Discussion & Analysis section reviews the compensation program for our five named executive officers (“NEOs”), which include our principal executive officer, principal financial officer and our three other most highly-compensated executive officers as of December 31, 2018.
Our 2018 NEOs were:
Named Executive Officer
Title/Role
Edward J. Wehmer
President and Chief Executive Officer
David A. Dykstra
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Richard B. Murphy
Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer
Timothy S. Crane
Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Senior Market Head
David L. Stoehr
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Executive Summary
2018 Business Highlights
In 2018, the Company achieved favorable business results overall with growth as a focus for both the banks and the non-bank business. Consistent with its founding values, the Company continued to adhere to its core principles of sound and conservative underwriting. The Company drove growth through both new bank branches and multiple acquisitions while also making significant investments in segments of the business as well as continued asset diversification. As a result of these steps and the executive officers’ leadership, the Company generated its highest net income in history. We believe that the exceptional results achieved in 2018 highlighted the benefit of the guidance provided by the executive leadership team who maintained a measured and balanced approach to pursuing a comprehensive growth strategy and increasing net income, while maintaining credit quality and appropriate reserves.
The Compensation Committee of our Board (the "Committee") recognizes that the Company's executive officers have a key role in overseeing growth while appropriately managing risk. In that regard, the Committee considered the accomplishments of management in the following context (results are as of December 31, 2018):
Generated highest reported net income in the history of the Company ($343.2 million, up 33% from $257.7 million in 2017);
Increased deposits by 13% to $26.1 billion (a $2.9 billion increase from $23.2 billion in 2017);
Increased loan portfolio (excluding loans held for sale) by 10% to $23.8 billion, the highest reported level in the history of the Company;
Increased total assets to $31.2 billion;
Reduced total non-performing assets as a percentage of total assets to 0.44%, down from 0.47% at the end of 2017;
Increased number of banking offices to 167, compared to 157 in 2017, and planned for future organic growth;

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Continued strong capital ratios;
Increased quarterly Common Stock dividend to $0.19 per share, resulting in total dividends of $42.8 million paid in 2018 to eligible holders of Common Stock; and
Increased reported earnings per diluted share of Common Stock to $5.86 per share, up from $4.40 per share in fiscal year 2017.
The Committee also noted that 2018 was the Company’s twenty-second consecutive year of profitability.
Highlights of our Executive Compensation Philosophy, Program and Practices
Philosophy and Culture of Achievement and Accountability
The Committee has responsibility for developing, implementing and monitoring our executive officer compensation program and policies as well as adherence with the Company’s compensation philosophy. The Committee sets the compensation for all of our NEOs and reviews compensation for all executive officers of the Company. In administering the Company’s executive compensation program, the Committee is mindful of our operating structure, culture and history as well as the growth strategy of our Company and its business. As a Company with growth oriented operations, we are cognizant that to attract and retain the managerial talent deemed necessary to operate and grow our businesses, we often have to compensate our executives with a view to the scope and complexity of the business we expect them to manage, rather than the size of the business they currently manage. Our assets have grown 73%, 36% and 12% over the last five, three and one year periods, respectively, and our loans, excluding covered loans and loans held for sale, have grown 85%, 39% and 10% over the same five, three and one year periods, respectively. Our compensation philosophy and programs are designed to attract and retain management capable of leading the organization in its efforts to create the infrastructure to meet its growth curve while still managing risk.
The Committee believes executives’ total direct compensation should be heavily weighted toward incentive compensation rather than through fixed components such as base salary and benefits. This philosophy is intended to create and foster a pay-for-performance framework within defined risk parameters that drives shareholder value by aligning shareholder and NEO interests. Our Short-Term Incentive Plan, or STIP, and Long-Term Incentive Program, or LTIP, are designed to provide a significant percentage of our executives’ total compensation which is linked to performance and the interests of our shareholders.
Our Pay-for-Performance Focus
Reinforcing pay for performance is an important underpinning of our compensation framework. For 2018, target performance-based compensation for our CEO and the other NEOs was approximately 75% and 58% of total compensation, respectively. As seen in the pie charts below, a majority compensation for the CEO and NEOs is

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performance based.
397406601_ceoneopiechartrevised.jpg
Our Executive Compensation Practices
 
What We Do
 
What We Don’t Do
þ
We Pay for Performance: The majority of executive pay is not guaranteed. Our CEO and NEOs on average have approximately 75% and 58%, respectively, of their target total direct compensation tied to Company performance.
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No Hedging or Short Selling: Our NEOs are prohibited from engaging in short selling of our Common Stock or engaging in hedging or offsetting transactions regarding our Common Stock.
þ
We Align Our Long-Term Incentives With Performance: 100% of our long-term incentive awards vest based on three-year Company performance.
ý
No Pledging: Our NEOs are prohibited from pledging our securities.
þ
We Set Stretch Goals: Our performance hurdles are designed to require stretch individual performance along with superior returns in order to receive commensurate payout.
ý
No Excessive Expenditures or Perquisites: We have adopted a policy designed to prevent any excessive or luxury expenditures and maintain modest perquisites.
þ
We Have a Clawback Policy: In the event of a material negative restatement, we can claw back any payments made which were predicated on achieving certain financial results.
ý
No Undue Risk: We discourage excessive risk taking by having a balanced portfolio of short- and long-term incentive performance measures and a cap on final payouts.
þ
We Require Stock Ownership: We have robust ownership guidelines. Our CEO is required to hold Common Stock with a value equal to a multiple of six times base salary and our other NEOs are between one and three times base salary.
ý
No Repricing Underwater Options: Our stock incentive plan does not permit repricing or the exchange of underwater stock options without shareholder approval.
þ
We Utilize Independent Compensation Expertise: The Compensation Committee has retained Meridian, an independent compensation consultant, to advise on the executive compensation program and practices, including annual assessments of the Company's peer group.
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No CIC Payment Absent a Double Trigger: Payments under our employment agreements and our long-term incentive programs generally require two events for vesting - both a change in control and a qualifying termination of employment.
Shareholder Support
During its compensation review process, the Committee considers whether the Company’s executive compensation and benefits program are in line with the interests of the Company’s shareholders. In that respect, the Committee considered the approval by approximately 99% of the votes cast for the Company’s “say on pay" proposal at the Company’s prior annual meeting of shareholders and determined that the Company’s executive compensation

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philosophy, compensation objectives, and compensation elements continued to be appropriate and did not make any changes to the Company’s executive compensation program in response to such vote.
Compensation Philosophy and Objectives
The philosophy underlying our executive compensation program is to promote a pay-for-performance environment and remain competitive with market practices in order to attract and retain key talent, which will support the long-term success of the Company and build value for our shareholders.
The compensation elements included in the pay of our NEOs vary and are reflective of different pay objectives. Base salaries are intended to pay executives competitively relative to market peers and individual performance. Relevant performance factors that influence base pay include leadership, innovation, strategic contributions, maintaining effective company systems and infrastructure, customer service and talent management. Variable compensation (short-term and long-term incentives) is tied to financial measures (such as pre-tax net income, net interest margin, net overhead ratio, core loan asset and deposit growth, credit quality, and earnings per share) as well as the achievement of specific business objectives (including satisfactory regulatory exams), retention of the executive, and increased shareholder value. It is also the Committee’s philosophy to provide retirement and health and welfare benefits to all employees on a non-discriminatory basis.
The Committee has set forth the following objectives for its executive compensation program:
Attract first-rate entrepreneurial talent that reflects our structure. Our organizational design and structure are a significant part of our value proposition. Consequently, we need to hire leaders who will thrive within our structure, are able to operate well within a matrixed organizational structure which allows the capacity to act in equal measure autonomously at times and in collaboration at times, while driving growth and managing risk.
Focus on performance-based compensation. Our compensation program is designed to support performance and achievement at every level of the organization, from the individual to the bank, subsidiary, and Company. It also drives performance across both short-term and long-term horizons.
A significant portion of total compensation should be in the form of long-term incentives. Our compensation program includes incentives designed to align management and shareholder interests over a multi-year performance period. This longer-term horizon also helps promote retention and therefore business continuity.
Long-term incentive compensation should balance growth and risk. Our longer term rewards are structured to help mitigate excessive risk-taking since leaders are rewarded for creating lasting value for the Company and its shareholders.
Long-term incentive compensation should be highly correlated with returns. The prescribed performance goals under our long-term incentive compensation program are designed to be challenging and

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at or above target payouts should be achievable only with above target, superior organizational performance.
Compensation levels should be competitive to ensure that we attract and retain a highly qualified management team to lead and grow our Company. The successful operation of our Company requires an experienced and talented management team. We hire for both the current and anticipated future needs of the organization, so executives must be able to effectively lead the organization now, and also meet future needs of a growing organization. To do this, our compensation program must be competitive with those of our peer firms to attract and retain talent that is capable of scaling for the future.
Compensation opportunities should be commensurate with an executive’s roles and responsibilities. Our organization values talented executives who perform comprehensively, both within their specific roles as well as taking on more leadership responsibilities. Consequently our compensation program seeks to recognize and reward our executives who are most responsible for the performance of the Company and who engage in broader duties than their job titles may imply.
Compensation for NEOs should be fair and perceived as such, both internally and externally. We measure the appropriateness of our compensation offerings by comparing them both internally and externally to peer group benchmarks. Shareholders are best served when we can attract and retain talented executives with compensation packages that are competitive but fair.
Peer Group Benchmarking
On an annual basis, the independent compensation consultant, Meridian Compensation Partners LLC (“Meridian”), provides the Committee with assessments of the competitive market and best practices relating to executive compensation practices, including peer group benchmarking, pay-for-performance analysis, research on regulatory and industry trends, and program design. The Committee utilizes these assessments when considering compensation program design and other decisions.
Peer Group Analysis. On an annual basis, the Committee asks Meridian to review the peer group to evaluate whether it reflects the appropriate population of banks both regionally and nationally similar to Wintrust in size, scope and complexity. When identifying and constructing the competitive peer group, the Committee took into consideration which companies compete for customers, executive talent or investors, as well as other factors including the amount of commercial and industrial loans, level of non-interest revenue, and comparability in business models. These factors were considered as the Committee sought to develop a peer group that approximated the size and the structure of the Company. The following peer group, developed in 2017 and used by the Committee to make 2018 compensation decisions, was comprised of 21 banks, including 14 similarly-sized national banks and seven Midwestern banks. This

42




reference group of banks had assets between $13 billion and $40 billion in 2017, with Wintrust's assets then positioned at approximately the median.
National Holding Company Peer Group
People’s United Financial, Inc.
East West Bancorp
BOK Financial Corporation
Synovus Financial Corp.
Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc.
First Horizon National Corporation
Webster Financial Corporation
BankUnited
Hancock Holding Company
F.N.B. Corporation
Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc.
IBERIABANK Corporation
Sterling Bancorp
Trustmark Corporation
 
Midwestern Holding Company Peer Group*
Associated Banc-Corp
Commerce Bancshares, Inc.
TCF Financial Corporation
UMB Financial Corporation
MB Financial, Inc.
Old National Bancorp
First Midwest Bancorp, Inc.
 
 
* Private Bancorp was eliminated from this peer group in 2018 due to it being acquired in 2017.
When making compensation decisions, the Committee reviews the compensation paid to our CEO and other NEOs relative to the compensation paid to similarly-situated executives, to the extent available, at our peer companies based on publicly available information reported in our peers’ proxy statements.
In December 2017, Meridian provided the Committee with background information regarding the Company’s compensation structure as compared to market practices. Meridian also provided the Committee with an analysis undertaken with respect to each of the NEO’s positions, including a comparison of actual total compensation, total direct compensation, target total direct compensation as well as each component of compensation on a comparative basis with the Company’s peer group and market data where available.
In addition, the Committee reviewed NEO compensation in the aggregate to that of our peer group. The Committee believes that reviewing compensation across both dimensions or their role and in aggregate provides them with the most well-rounded view of the appropriateness of NEO compensation levels relative to peers.
Pay-for-Performance Analysis
In July 2018, Meridian conducted a pay-for-performance analysis which compared realized and realizable pay for the CEO and the other NEOs as compared to the chief executive officer and named executive officers in our peer group. This analysis provided a retrospective look which evaluated the historical relationship between pay and performance, helped evaluate the effectiveness of the Company’s pay structures and performance goals and helped determine if pay was aligned with performance. The study found that changes made in 2017 improved the three year alignment between the Company’s historical performance and the NEOs’ actual pay results, noting that the Company continued to perform on a composite basis in the top quartile of the benchmarked peer group and each of the NEO's pay and performance was appropriately aligned when compared with the peer group for the three-year period ending in

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2017. The Committee intends to periodically conduct this analysis as it continues to monitor the effectiveness of the Company’s executive pay program.
2018 Compensation Elements and Decisions
This section describes the various elements of our 2018 compensation program for the NEOs and outlines why the Committee chose each element, how it’s determined and its impact on the Committee’s pay decisions.
Element
Key Characteristics
Why We Pay this Element
How We Determine the Amount
2018 Decisions
Base Salary
Fixed compensation component payable in cash. Reviewed annually and adjusted when appropriate.
Provide a base level of competitive cash compensation for executive talent.
Experience, job scope, market data, and individual performance.
Base salary increases were approved for the NEOs in 2018, ranging between 0.0% and 2.6%.
Annual Bonus
Variable compensation component payable in cash or stock. Performance is 75% allocated to financial measures and 25% allocated to individual performance goals. Payment is capped at 150% of target.
Motivate and reward executives for performance on key operational, financial and individual objectives met during the course of the year.
Market practices and individual performance with actual payouts based on the extent to which performance goals are achieved.
Annual bonus payouts ranged from 106.1% to 127.8% of target, based on a combination of Company and individual performance.
Long-Term Incentives
Variable compensation component payable in performance-based restricted stock units and performance-based cash. Payments are capped at 150% of target.
Align long-term interests of management and shareholders.
Retain executive talent.
Market practices and performance, with performance-based cash and restricted stock unit payouts based on performance.
2016-2018 LTIP paid out at 132% of target based on performance against three-year cumulative adjusted earnings per share.
Perquisites and Other Personal Benefits
Compensation component to provide basic competitive benefits.
Provide a base level of competitive compensation for executive talent.
Periodic assessment of competitive offerings.
No substantive change from prior years.
Base Salary
The Company provides NEOs with base salary to compensate them for services rendered during the fiscal year and reflect each NEO’s position, specific skills, tenure, experience, responsibility and performance. Annual base salary adjustments for NEOs for any given year are generally determined by the Committee at its meeting in January. Increases, if any, in base salary on a year-over-year basis are dependent on the Committee’s assessment of the Company’s and individual’s performance and feedback from Meridian regarding market competitive base salaries. The Committee has full discretion to set NEO salary at any level it deems appropriate. As part of this process, the Committee solicits the recommendations of Mr. Wehmer with respect to the NEOs (other than Mr. Wehmer and Mr. Murphy). The Committee also considers peer data provided by Meridian, internal pay equity and merit history in evaluating recommendations.

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In 2018, the Committee made the following determinations relative to base salary.
Executive
2017 Base Salary
2018 Base Salary
Edward J. Wehmer
$1,150,000
$1,150,000
David A. Dykstra
$790,000
$800,000
Richard B. Murphy
$575,000
$590,000
David L. Stoehr
$465,000
$475,000
Timothy S. Crane
$465,000
$475,000
Annual Bonus
The Company’s performance-based annual bonuses are based on each NEO’s overall performance and the achievement of performance goals subject to the discretion and adjustment by the Committee. Annual bonuses are intended to provide officers with an opportunity to receive cash compensation (may be paid in equity at the discretion of the Committee), based on consideration of the Company, subsidiary and individual performance goals. Performance-based bonuses are a key component of our total compensation package because they reward our executives for pursuing objectives that the Committee believes are consistent with the overall goals and strategic direction that the Board has set for the Company.
NEO bonus targets are reviewed by the Committee annually to evaluate appropriateness to the current business cycle and competitiveness relative to the market. In determining the target annual bonuses, the Committee considers several factors, including:
market practices;
the target annual bonuses set and achieved in recent years;
the desire to provide, as described above, a substantial portion of total compensation as performance-based; and
the relative importance and degree of difficulty of the short-term and long-term performance goals of the Company.
Once the annual bonus opportunity is established, the Committee converts the target bonus opportunity to a range of payout levels as a percentage of base salary with a maximum payout opportunity of 150% of target for 2018. Below are the bonus award opportunities (at both target and maximum levels) for our NEOs in 2018, expressed as a percentage of base salary, which did not change from the bonus opportunities for the 2017 bonus program:
Named Executive Officer
Target
Maximum
Edward J. Wehmer
100%
150%
David A. Dykstra
70%
105%
Richard B. Murphy
70%
105%
David L. Stoehr
70%
105%
Timothy S. Crane
70%
105%

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For 2018, the target annual bonus opportunity was allocated in the following manner based upon the executive’s role:
75% based on Company performance, associated with consolidated pre-tax net income; and
25% based on individual goals and objectives.
Based upon the weighting outlined above of the 75/25 allocation of the bonus target, the table below reflects each NEO’s 2018 base salary and how their total incentive targets were allocated as a percentage of each NEO’s base salary.
Executive
2018 Base Salary
2018 Total Bonus Percentage at Target
Percentage Allocated to Company Performance
Percentage Allocated to Individual Objectives
Edward J. Wehmer
$1,150,000
100.00%
75.00%
25.00%
David A. Dykstra
$800,000
70.00%
52.50%
17.50%
Richard B. Murphy
$590,000
70.00%
52.50%
17.50%
David L. Stoehr
$475,000
70.00%
52.50%
17.50%
Timothy S. Crane
$475,000
70.00%
52.50%
17.50%
Development of Company Performance Objectives
One of the key Company-level objectives for 2018 was to achieve consolidated pre-tax net income of $451.5 million. The Committee used the following guidelines to set the high, target, low, or threshold portion of the annual bonus award opportunity allocated to the Company-level objective:
Wintrust 2018 Consolidated Pre-Tax Net Income
Performance-Weighting of Company-Level Annual Bonus Award
Greater than $451.5 million
High
$451.5 million
Target
$406.3 million to $451.5 million
Low
$316.0 million to $406.3 million
Threshold
Development of Individual Performance Objectives
The performance objectives for the NEOs are developed through an iterative process between the Committee and management. Management develops an initial set of recommended objectives based upon business needs. The Committee reviews the proposed objectives and revises/amends them at its discretion, after considering whether the

46




objectives are aligned with the Board of Director’s strategic focus. The following objectives, among others including regulatory objectives, were established for the NEOs in 2018:
Edward J. Wehmer
Improve core performance of the enterprise reflected in various measures such as core loan, asset and deposit growth, net overhead ratio, performance on niche and core loans, earnings per share, stock price, shareholder return, and net income.
Continue to identify and acquire strategic assets, asset generation platforms and bank acquisitions to complement the Company’s strategy.
Maintain the appropriate organizational infrastructure to support technology efforts, expansion efforts, streamlining operations and expense management.
Identify and execute key partnerships to complement the Company's strategy.
David A. Dykstra
Lead all market transactions and strategic acquisition activities. Execute acquisitions and oversee integration.
Increase core earnings and net income through planned and profitable growth. Improve year-over-year performance in core loan, asset and deposit growth, net overhead ratio, performance on niche loans, earnings per share, stock price, and shareholder return.
Maintain cost effective, scalable and efficient internal operations.
Oversee IT and Information Security infrastructure enhancements.
Richard B. Murphy
Maintain core portfolio and non-performing assets at acceptable levels.
Work with operations to assist in credit related systems implementations to enhance the efficiency of the credit function.
Preserve exemplary credit quality through effective underwriting and disciplined loan management.
Provide leadership to mortgage business to optimize business outcomes.
Improve asset quality and improve management reporting on all loans.
David L. Stoehr
Proactively develop strategies to manage interest rate risk and improve earnings.
Provide effective analytics, metrics and reporting to measure performance of all loans.
Maximize use of capital and ensure liquidity levels are maintained across the enterprise.
Provide acquisition support and seamless on-boarding and integration of acquisitions.
Timothy S. Crane
Manage all banks to meet/exceed financial targets.
Achieve loan growth without credit loss outside acceptable ranges.
Focus on expansion and new branch openings.
Maintain an appropriate focus on enhancing customer relationships.
Performance Results and Payouts
As noted above under "2018 Business Highlights," the Company achieved exceptional results in 2018, which we believe highlights the benefit of the guidance provided by the Company's executives.
Consolidated Pre-Tax Net Income: The Company’s consolidated pre-tax net income for the year ended December 31, 2018 was $460.1 million, above target. In determining the actual annual bonus for each NEO associated with the achievement of Company-level objectives, the Committee considered a number of factors, including the following achievements:
Company’s achievement of 101.9% of the consolidated pre-tax net income objective;

47




Solid key performance indicators, including net interest margin, net overhead ratio, loan, asset and deposit growth and credit quality;
Continued progress on diversification strategy via expanded lines of business; and
Continued build out of enterprise infrastructure to support future success of organization.
Individual Performance Objectives: The Committee determined that each of the NEOs achieved or exceeded their individual performance objectives.
Total Bonus Payout: The final determination of an NEO's actual bonus payment is based on the Committee's holistic evaluation of Company and individual performance metrics including consolidated pre-tax net income, individual performance objectives, and discretionary factors. The Committee retains the discretion to determine the amount of any annual bonus awarded to an NEO. The final determination of the Committee could result in no bonus being paid or a bonus amount above or below a strictly formulaic view of performance. Based on their analysis, the Committee exercised its discretion, and approved the annual bonus award for each NEO. Overachievement by Mr. Wehmer and the other NEO’s relative to the accomplishment of the Company’s financial objectives was taken into account. Additionally, bonuses were informed by the Committee's intention to ensure that total cash compensation was at an appropriate competitive position relative to the Company's performance. The following table sets forth the total eligible annual bonus amounts at target and annual bonuses actually paid to each of our NEOs under the 2018 NEO bonus program.
Named Executive Officer
Total Annual Bonus at Target
Total Annual Bonus Paid
% Bonus Paid vs. Target
Edward J. Wehmer
$
1,150,000
$
1,470,000
127.83%
David A. Dykstra
$
560,000
$
661,500
118.13%
Richard B. Murphy
$
413,000
$
490,000
118.64%
David L. Stoehr
$
332,500
$
352,800
106.11%
Timothy S. Crane
$
332,500
$
357,700
107.58%
Our annual bonus may be paid in cash and/or equity at the discretion of the Committee. With regard to 2018 performance, annual bonuses awarded by the Committee to the NEOs were paid in cash.
Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTIP)
The Committee believes that a substantial portion of each NEO’s compensation should be in the form of long-term incentive compensation in order to further align the interests of our NEOs and shareholders. The framework is also designed to:
provide a competitive compensation opportunity;
foster retention;
allow the Company to compete effectively for talent;
incorporate leading practices;
provide transparency;

48




support the Company’s long-term strategy and growth objectives;
align management’s long-term compensation with shareholder returns;
link pay and performance;
create a long-term focus based on sustainable results; and
create stock ownership.
Award Mix
The Committee administers the LTIP and can determine on an annual basis the mix of awards included in the annual grant. The Committee determined that the 2018 award vehicle mix should be comprised of the following:
Award Vehicle Mix
% of Award
Performance-Based Cash Awards
50%
Performance-Based Restricted Stock Units
50%
Performance-based cash and performance-based restricted stock units are designed to promote pay for performance since the awards vest only upon the achievement of certain performance conditions. Performance-based awards under the LTIP are contingent upon the achievement of pre-established long-term goals set in advance by the Committee over a multi-year period (i.e., three years), with overlapping performance cycles. Performance-based cash and equity awards are earned only at the end of the performance cycle based on the Company’s performance against pre-established goals certified by the Committee, subject to negative discretionary adjustments.
In 2018, the Committee selected three-year cumulative earnings per share (as adjusted to exclude acquisition-related charges, the effect of certain changes in the effective tax rate and any excess tax benefits or tax deficiencies related to stock-based compensation awards as determined by the Committee, “Cumulative Adjusted EPS”) as the measure for the 2018-2020 LTIP cycle. The Company believes that targets established by the Committee for this performance metric are reasonably achievable with strong executive management performance.
2018 LTIP Target and Grants: The Committee provided a 2018 LTIP grant for the performance period from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020, with the performance-based restricted stock units and cash awards that are scheduled to vest based on our Cumulative Adjusted EPS performance during the performance period. Based on the competitive and pay for performance reviews conducted during 2017, the Committee increased Mr. Wehmer’s target LTIP to 220% to be more in line with the Company's peer group and to continue to focus the majority of his pay on the Company's long-term performance. In July, 2018, the Committee approved a supplemental LTIP grant to Mr. Wehmer that would result in a total 2018 award consistent with the 220% target opportunity.  The grant was made in the same manner as the January 2018 grant (i.e., 50% restricted stock units and 50% cash based on the same performance

49




metrics). The ultimate value of the awards will depend on the Company's stock price and performance relative to three-year goalsEach NEO's long-term incentive target percentage, as a percentage of base salary, is outlined below:
Named Executive Officer
Target Percentage of Base Salary
Edward J. Wehmer
220.0%
David A. Dykstra
75.0%
Richard B. Murphy
75.0%
David L. Stoehr
75.0%
Timothy S. Crane
75.0%
Performance-Based Restricted Stock Unit Awards and Performance-Based Cash Awards: The performance-based restricted stock unit awards (50% of incentive target opportunity) and performance-based cash awards (50% of target incentive opportunity) will each be measured at the end of a performance period ending December 31, 2020. The threshold, target and maximum award opportunities for each NEO for the performance-based restricted stock unit and cash awards is set forth in the following two tables:
Performance-Based Restricted Stock Unit Awards
Named Executive Officer
Number of shares -Maximum Performance
Number of shares - Target Performance
Number of shares - Threshold Performance
Edward J. Wehmer
21,475

14,316
7,159

David A. Dykstra
5,036

3,357
1,679

Richard B. Murphy
3,666

2,444
1,222

David L. Stoehr
2,964

1,976
988

Timothy S. Crane
2,964

1,976
988

Performance-Based Cash Awards
Named Executive Officer
Amount payable under performance-based cash awards-
Maximum Performance
Amount payable under performance-based cash awards-
Target Performance
Amount payable under performance-based cash awards-
Threshold Performance
Edward J. Wehmer
$
1,897,500
$
1,265,000
$
632,500
David A. Dykstra
$
444,375
$
296,250
$
148,125
Richard B. Murphy
$
323,438
$
215,625
$
107,813
David L. Stoehr
$
261,563
$
174,375
$
87,188
Timothy S. Crane
$
261,563
$
174,375
$
87,188
2016-2018 LTIP Results and Payment: The 2016-2018 LTIP used a mix of awards comprised of 50% performance-based cash awards, 25% performance-based restricted stock unit awards and 25% time-vested options. The Committee determined for this performance cycle to use cumulative earnings per share as the performance measure,

50




adjusted for a one-time unusual acquisition expense. The following chart outlines the performance award matrix adopted in conjunction with the 2016-2018 LTIP cycle for the performance-based cash and performance-based restricted stock unit awards:
 
Cumulative Adjusted EPS over 3 year Performance Period
Payout % of Target Award
Maximum
$13.45
150%
Target
$12.30
100%
Threshold
$10.00
50%
< Threshold
<$10.00
0%
Based on the achievement levels with respect to the 2016-2018 performance measure, the Committee certified a payout equal to 132% of target which was paid on March 1, 2019, as set forth in the following table:
 
Cash Payment(1)
Value of Performance-Based Restricted Stock Unit Settlement (2)
Total Value Delivered (3)
Edward J. Wehmer
$
965,250
$
845,170
$
1,810,420
David A. Dykstra
$
381,150
$
344,670
$
725,820
Richard B. Murphy
$
257,400
$
232,785
$
490,185
David L. Stoehr
$
192,679
$
174,256
$
366,935
Timothy S. Crane
$
182,655
$
165,167
$
347,822
(1)
Mr. Wehmer’s performance-based cash award was paid in the amount of $868,725, with the remaining 10% (or $96,525) deferred to the later of March 27, 2026 or retirement.
(2)
The NEOs received shares as follows: Mr. Wehmer 11,809 (fully deferred until the later of March 27, 2026 or retirement); Mr. Dykstra 4,664; Mr. Murphy 3,150; Mr. Stoehr 2,358; and Mr. Crane 2,235. The value ascribed in the table above was derived based on the $73.90 fair market value of a share of Common Stock on March 1, 2019, the date these awards were settled. Mr. Wehmer's award is valued based on the fair market value on January 24, 2019 of $71.57, which is the date on which the Committee certified the performance criteria and the earned shares were deemed deferred.
(3)
These values are exclusive of the values of the options also granted as part of the 2016-2018 LTIP awards which were previously disclosed and not subject to the performance conditions noted above.
Perquisites and Other Benefits
Our NEOs receive modest perquisites provided by or paid for by the Company that the Committee believes are reasonable, competitive and consistent with the Company’s overall compensation philosophy. In 2018, these perquisites included: car allowances or Company-owned automobiles; club dues; life insurance; and supplemental long-term disability. Our NEOs were also eligible for a 401(k) employer matching contribution on the same terms as all other employees of the Company.

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The Committee reviews the perquisites provided to its NEOs on a regular basis to evaluate whether they continue to be appropriate in light of the Committee’s overall goal of designing a competitive compensation program for NEOs that is aligned with the interests of our shareholders. Attributed costs of the personal benefits described above for the NEOs for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 are included in column (i) of the “2018 Summary Compensation Table."
Post-Termination Compensation
We have entered into employment agreements with each of our NEOs that provide for post-termination compensation. These agreements provide for payments and other benefits if the NEO’s employment terminates for a qualifying event or circumstance, such as being terminated without “Cause” or leaving employment for “Constructive Termination,” as these terms are defined in the employment agreements. Additionally, the employment agreements provide for the payment of enhanced severance benefits if the NEO’s employment is terminated within eighteen months of a “Change-in-Control” (as defined in the agreements). Additional information regarding the employment agreements, including a definition of key terms and a quantification of benefits that would have been received by our NEOs had termination occurred on December 31, 2018, is found under the heading “Potential Payments upon Termination or Change in Control” on page 62 of this Proxy Statement.
The Committee believes that these employment arrangements are an important part of overall compensation for our NEOs and will help to secure the continued employment and dedication of our NEOs, prior to or following a change in control, notwithstanding any concern that they might have at such time regarding their own continued employment. These agreements also contain restrictive covenants, including non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, which protect the Company’s interests in its client and employee relationships. The Committee also believes that these agreements are important as a recruitment and retention device, as nearly all of the companies with which we compete for executive talent have similar agreements in place for their senior employees.
Additional Information Regarding Compensation Policies
We have additional compensation policies that support our practices. These policies serve to further illustrate and provide context around our approaches to compensation.
Clawback Policy. Our Clawback policy provides that the Company may recover any payment or equity awards made to a current or former executive officer, if the payment was predicated upon achieving certain financial results that were subsequently the subject of a material negative restatement caused by the intentional misconduct of the executive officer. In such event, the Company may recover the amount by which any annual or long-term payments or awards made or granted exceeded what would have been awarded or granted based on restated financials. In addition, the Company may recover any profits realized on the sales of securities received by such executive officer pursuant to such awards.
In addition, the clawback provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 also applies to Messrs. Wehmer and Stoehr. This provision provides that if the Company is required to restate its financials as a result of misconduct, Mr. Wehmer and Mr. Stoehr are required to reimburse the Company for bonuses or other incentive-based or equity-

52




based compensation and profits realized in the 12 months after the financial information was first publicly issued or filed with the SEC.
Policy Regarding Excessive or Luxury Expenditures. Our Board adopted a policy designed to eliminate or prevent any excessive or luxury expenditures, including excessive expenditures on entertainment or events, office and facility renovations, aviation or other transportation services. A copy of this policy is available on our website, www.wintrust.com.
Tax Gross-Up Provisions. Effective May 20, 2009, the Company adopted a policy that it will not enter into any new or materially amended agreements with NEOs that include any excise tax gross-up provisions with respect to payments contingent upon a change in control.
Prohibition on Hedging and Short Selling. The Company’s executive officers and Directors are prohibited from engaging in short selling of the Common Stock or engaging in hedging or offsetting transactions regarding the Common Stock.
Prohibition on Pledging Stock. In April 2013, the Company adopted a policy prohibiting executive officers and Directors from pledging any of the Company’s securities.
Stock Ownership Guidelines. In January 2011, the Company adopted stock ownership guidelines for our executive officers as part of our commitment to corporate governance and to strengthen the alignment of interests between our executive officers and shareholders. Under the guidelines, our Chief Executive Officer and other NEOs are expected to accumulate shares of Common Stock to meet the applicable ownership level within five years of their election or appointment (the “Measurement Date”).
For purposes of the guidelines, “shares” include shares owned by the executive or the executive’s immediate family members residing in the same household, including shares held in the Company’s 401(k) plan or employee stock purchase plan, shares held in trust for the benefit of the executive or the executive’s family, shares obtained through stock option exercise, deferred shares, shares of restricted stock and restricted stock units granted under the Company’s equity plans.
Title
Guideline
Chief Executive Officer
6 times base salary
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Credit Officer
3 times base salary
Other Named Executive Officers
1 times base salary
The Committee reviews an executive’s progress toward achieving the applicable guideline. An executive’s progress toward the applicable ownership guideline is expected to be approximately 20% per year. If the Committee determines that an executive has not demonstrated sufficient progress toward compliance with the applicable guideline, it may take appropriate action. The Committee determined that each of these executives met this requirement as of December 31, 2018.

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Compensation Process and Roles
Role of Management. The Committee made all 2018 compensation decisions for our NEOs. Mr. Wehmer and Mr. Dykstra annually review the performance of each of the Company’s and its subsidiaries’ officers (other than Mr. Dykstra, whose performance is reviewed by Mr. Wehmer, and Mr. Wehmer whose performance is reviewed by the Committee, and Mr. Murphy whose performance is reviewed by the Committee due to the fact that he is married to the sister of Mr. Wehmer’s wife). The conclusions reached and the compensation recommendations based on these reviews, including with respect to salary adjustments and incentive award amounts, were presented to the Committee. The Committee exercised its discretion in modifying any recommended adjustment or award.
Committee Process. During 2018, the Committee reviewed both the Company’s compensation philosophy and the actual compensation being paid by the Company. The Committee met, including in executive sessions without any members of management present, to discuss, evaluate and set executive officer compensation. In setting compensation for each of the NEOs, the Committee focused on the total compensation received by each NEO, as well as the allocation of each element of compensation in relation to those provided by the peer companies identified above. The Committee acted pursuant to a written charter that had been approved by our Board.
Compensation Consultant. The Committee has the sole authority to retain and dismiss its own outside compensation consultants and any other advisors it deems necessary. The role of a compensation consultant is to assist the Committee in analyzing executive compensation packages and to provide the Committee with information regarding market compensation levels, general compensation trends and best practices. The consultant also provides advice regarding the competitiveness of specific pay decisions and actions for the NEOs, as well as the appropriateness of the design of the Company’s executive compensation program. In 2018, the Committee engaged Meridian to advise it on executive compensation-related issues and to provide advice relating to establishing bonus opportunities and target incentives for 2018. In addition, Meridian provided guidance on leading practices on compensation. Meridian attended meetings of the Committee, including executive sessions, upon invitation. Meridian did not provide any other services to the Company. The Committee has assessed the independence of Meridian pursuant to the rules of the SEC and concluded that Meridian's work for the Committee does not raise any conflicts of interest.

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2018 Summary Compensation Table
The following table summarizes compensation awarded to, earned by or paid to our NEOs for 2018, 2017, and 2016. The section of this Proxy Statement entitled “Compensation Discussion & Analysis” describes in greater detail the information reported in this table and the objectives and factors considered in setting NEO compensation.
Name and Principal Position (a)
Year (b)
Salary ($) (c)
Bonus ($) (1)
Stock Awards ($)(2) (e)
Option Awards ($)(3) (f)
Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation ($)(4) (g)
Change in Pension Value and Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Earnings ($) (h)
All Other Compensation ($)(5) (i)
Total ($) (j)
Edward J. Wehmer
2018
1,150,000

1,470,000

1,265,000


965,250

50,181

4,900,431

President & Chief Executive
2017
1,147,884

1,450,375

920,000


679,250

45,656

4,243,165

Officer
2016
1,125,000

1,350,675

365,625

365,625

643,500

48,710

3,899,135

David A. Dykstra
2018
799,115

661,500

296,250


381,150

35,895

2,173,910

Senior Executive Vice President
2017
788,308

660,000

288,750


270,750

35,162

2,042,970

& Chief Operating Officer
2016
770,000

600,000

144,375

144,375

253,125

32,783

1,944,658

Richard B. Murphy
2018
588,673

490,000

215,625


257,400

28,949

1,580,647

Executive Vice President &
2017
571,192

484,000

198,750


181,688

29,685

1,465,315

Chief Credit Officer
2016
529,231

440,000

97,500

97,500

168,750

24,982

1,357,963

David L. Stoehr
2018
474,115

352,800

174,375


192,679

26,343

1,220,312

Executive Vice President &
2017
463,096

358,050

165,938


134,663

24,662

1,146,409

Chief Financial Officer
2016
441,731

305,000

72,984

72,984

124,538

23,365

1,040,602

Timothy S. Crane
2018
474,115

357,700

174,375


182,655

24,618

1,213,463

Executive Vice President,
2017
461,192

358,000

157,500


128,250

24,557

1,129,499

Treasurer & Senior Market Head
2016
419,231

300,000

69,188

69,188

116,943

21,413

995,963

(1)
The amounts shown in this column for 2018 consist of cash annual bonus awards paid in 2019 with respect to 2018 performance for each of the NEOs.
(2)
The amounts shown in this column for 2018 represent performance-based restricted stock unit awards granted under the Company’s LTIP. These awards are valued based on the aggregate grant date fair value computed in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718, Compensation - Stock Compensation (“FASB ASC Topic 718”) and are reported based on the probable achievement of the performance-based vesting conditions at the time of grant. Under the LTIP, if the highest achievement level is attained for the 2018 performance-based restricted stock unit awards, the maximum grant date fair value for these awards is as follows: Mr. Wehmer $1,897,500; Mr. Dykstra $444,375; Mr. Murphy $323,438; Mr. Stoehr $261,563; and Mr. Crane $261,563. The grant date fair value of the awards represents the average of the high and low sale prices of the Common Stock on the date of grant, as reported by NASDAQ multiplied by the shares subject to the award at target level.
(3)
The amounts shown in this column constitute options granted under the Company's 2015 Stock Incentive Plan (the "2015 Plan"). Amounts shown reflect the aggregate grant date fair value computed in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 718 for awards granted during fiscal year 2016. The accounting policy and assumptions for stock-based compensation are described in Notes 1 and 18 to the Company’s Consolidated Financial

55




Statements included in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018. No options were granted in 2018 or 2017.
(4)
Amounts reported for 2018 represent the cash portion of the 2016-2018 LTIP payment made in 2019.
(5)
Amounts in this column include the value of all other compensation paid to or received by the NEOs in 2018. Please see the “All Other Compensation” table below for further information regarding these amounts. Perquisites are valued at actual amounts paid for such perquisites and other compensation.
All Other Compensation
Named Executive Officer
Corporate Automobile Usage ($)
Club Memberships Not Exclusively For Business Use ($)
Life Insurance Premiums ($)
Supplemental Long-Term Disability ($)
401(k) Plan Matching Contribution ($)
Total ($)
Edward J. Wehmer
20,655

9,894

13,565

1,067

5,000

50,181

David A. Dykstra
24,961


5,934


5,000

35,895

Richard B. Murphy
8,681

6,534

8,734


5,000

28,949

David L. Stoehr
12,000

1,191

8,152


5,000

26,343

Timothy S. Crane
12,000

1,684

5,934


5,000

24,618



56




2018 Grants of Plan-Based Awards Table
Name (a)
Grant Date (b)
Estimated Future Payouts Under Non-Equity Incentive Plan Awards (1)
Estimated Future Payouts Under Equity Incentive Plan Awards (2)
All Other Stock Awards: Number of Shares of Stock or Units (#) (j)

All Other Option Awards: Number of Securities Underlying Options (#) (k)

Exercise or  Base Price  of Option Awards ($/Sh) (l)

Grant Date Fair Value of Stock and Option Awards ($/Sh) (3) (m)

Threshold ($) (d)
Target ($) (e)
Maximum ($) (f)
Threshold (#) (g)
Target (#) (h)
Maximum (#) (i)
Edward J. Wehmer
1/25/2018
517,500

1,035,000

1,552,500








 
1/25/2018



5,865

11,729

17,594




1,035,000

 
7/26/2018
115,000

230,000

345,000








 
7/26/2018



1,294

2,587

3,881




230,000

David A. Dykstra
1/25/2018
148,125

296,250

444,375








 
1/25/2018



1,679

3,357

5,036




296,250

Richard B. Murphy
1/25/2018
107,813

215,625

323,438








 
1/25/2018



1,222

2,444

3,666




215,625

David L. Stoehr
1/25/2018
87,188

174,375

261,563








 
1/25/2018



988

1,976

2,964




174,375

Timothy S. Crane
1/25/2018
87,188

174,375

261,563








 
1/25/2018



988

1,976

2,964




174,375

(1)The amounts in this column represent performance-based cash awards granted to the NEOs pursuant to the 2018 LTIP and granted under the 2015 Plan that will be earned at the end of the performance cycle ending December 31, 2020 based on the Company’s achievement of performance objectives relating to the Company’s Cumulative Adjusted EPS. Subject to certain qualifying termination events, the participant is required to be employed on the award settlement date in order to vest in the award.
(2)
The amounts in this column represent performance-based restricted stock unit awards granted to the NEOs pursuant to the 2018 LTIP and granted under the 2015 Plan that will be earned at the end of the performance cycle ending December 31, 2020 based on the Company’s achievement of performance objectives relating to the Company’s Cumulative Adjusted EPS. Subject to certain qualifying termination events, the participant is required to be employed on the award settlement date in order to vest in the award.
(3)
The amounts in this column are valued based on the grant date fair value of the award calculated in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 718 and, in the case of the performance-based restricted stock unit awards, are based on the probable outcome of the applicable performance conditions. See Notes 2 and 3 to the 2018 Summary Compensation Table for a discussion of the relevant assumptions used in calculating the grant date fair value.
Narrative to the Summary Compensation Table and Grants of Plan-Based Awards Table
Each of our current NEOs is subject to an employment agreement with the Company. The initial terms under the employment agreements of Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra, Murphy and Crane expired in 2011 and the initial term of Mr. Stoehr’s employment agreement expired in 2009. However, each NEO’s agreement automatically renews for successive three-year terms, in the case of Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra and Murphy, and one-year terms in the case of Messrs. Stoehr and Crane, unless either the NEO or the Company provides notice of non-renewal at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the then-current term. If a change in control occurs, the then-current term of each NEO’s employment agreement automatically extends for two years from the date of the change in control. If the term is extended due to a

57




change in control, such extension will be further extended automatically for successive three-year terms, in the case of Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra and Murphy, and one-year terms in the case of Messrs. Stoehr and Crane, unless either the NEO or the Company provides notice of non-renewal at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the then-current term.
2018 Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year-End Table
The following table sets forth information for each NEO with respect to (1) each stock option to purchase shares of Common Stock that has not been exercised and remained outstanding at December 31, 2018 and (2) each award of restricted stock units that has not vested and remained outstanding at December 31, 2018.
 
Options Awards
Stock Awards
Name (a)
Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options (#) Exercisable (b)
Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options (#)(1) (c)

Equity Incentive Plan Awards: Number  of Securities Underlying Unexercised Unearned Options (#)(d)

Option Exercise Price ($)(e)
Option Expiration Date (f)
Number of Shares or units of Stock That Have Not Vested (#) (g)

 
Market Value of Shares or Units of Stock That Have  Not Vested ($)(h)

Equity Incentive Plan Awards: Number of Unearned Shares, Units  or Other Rights That Have Not Vested (#)(3)(i)

 
Equity Incentive Plan Awards: Market or Payout Value  of Unearned Shares, Units or Other Rights That Have Not Vested ($)(j)

Edward J. Wehmer
15,000



46.86
01/23/21
11,809

(4)
785,180

12,684

(5)
843,359

 

14,173


40.87
01/28/23

 

14,316

(6)
951,871

David A. Dykstra
11,194

5,596


40.87
01/28/23
4,664

(4)
310,109

3,980

(5)
264,630

 




 

3,357

(6)
223,207

Richard B. Murphy

3,778


40.87
01/28/23
3,150

(4)
209,444

2,739

(5)
182,116

 




 

2,444

(6)
162,502

David L. Stoehr

2,829


40.87
01/28/23
2,358

(4)
156,783

2,287

(5)
152,063

 




 

1,976

(6)
131,384

Timothy S. Crane
2,097



30.98
01/26/19
2,235

(4)
148,605

2,171

(5)
144,350

 
3,196



37.85
01/24/20

 

1,976

(6)
131,384

 
5,431



46.86
01/23/21
407

(2)
27,061


 

 
6,968



44.11
01/22/22

 


 

 
5,364

2,682


40.87
01/28/23

 


 

(1)
The outstanding options in this column vested on January 28, 2019.
(2)
These restricted stock units are scheduled to vest on October 23, 2019, subject to Mr. Crane’s continued employment.
(3)
The amounts in this column represent restricted stock unit awards that remained subject to performance-based vesting conditions as of December 31, 2018.
(4)
Represents awards that vested and were settled on March 1, 2019, based on performance during the period from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018. The awards are reported at the actual vesting level, which was determined based on the Company’s achievement of Cumulative Adjusted EPS over the three year performance cycle.
(5)
Represents performance-based restricted stock unit awards that will be earned at the end of the January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019 performance period based on the Company’s achievement of performance objectives relating to the Company’s Cumulative Adjusted EPS. These restricted stock unit

58




awards are reported in this table assuming target achievement.
(6)
Represents performance-based restricted stock unit awards that will be earned at the end of the January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020 performance cycle based on the Company’s achievement of performance objectives relating to the Company’s Cumulative Adjusted EPS. These restricted stock unit awards are reported in this table assuming target achievement.


59




2018 Option Exercises and Stock Vested Table
The following table sets forth information for each NEO with respect to the exercise of options and the vesting of stock awards during 2018, and the value realized upon such exercise or vesting.
 
Option Awards
Stock Awards
Name (a)
Number of Shares Acquired on Exercise (#) (b)
Value  Realized on Exercise ($) (1) (c)
Number of Shares
Acquired  on Vesting
(#) (2) (d)
Value  Realized on Vesting ($) (3) (e)
Edward J. Wehmer
26,474
1,241,394
7,700
679,448
David A. Dykstra
11,235
488,215
4,401
380,164
Richard B. Murphy
17,432
780,733
2,560
220,745
David L. Stoehr
5,268
238,196
1,527
131,246
Timothy S. Crane
954
55,027
1,861
155,706
(1) The value realized on the exercise of stock options represents the difference between the option exercise price and the market price determined by calculating the average of the high and low market price of the Common Stock on the date of exercise, multiplied by the number of shares of the Common Stock acquired upon exercise.
(2)
Represents the vesting of awards, including performance-based stock awards, granted under the Company’s 2007 Plan.
(3)
The value realized on the vesting of restricted stock units represents the average of the high and low market price of the Common Stock on the date of vesting multiplied by the number of restricted stock units that vested. Mr. Wehmer's award (fully deferred until the later of March 27, 2025 or retirement) is valued based on the fair market value on January 25, 2018 of $88.24, which is the date on which the Committee certified the performance criteria and the earned shares were deemed deferred.

2018 Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Table
Name (a)
Executive Contributions in Last Fiscal Year ($) (b)
Registrant Contributions in Last Fiscal Year ($) (c)
Aggregate Earnings in Last Fiscal Year ($) (d)
Aggregate Withdrawals/ Distributions ($) (e)
Aggregate Balance at Last Fiscal Year End ($) (f)
Edward J. Wehmer
747,373

(1)

(1,222,752
)
(2)

5,156,567

(3)
David A. Dykstra

 

(565,645
)
(2)

2,481,747

(4)
Richard B. Murphy

 


 


 
David L. Stoehr

 


 


 
Timothy S. Crane

 


 


 
(1)
This amount represents the value of the deferred portion of Mr. Wehmer's performance-based cash award and performance-based stock awards from the payment in 2018 of the 2015-2017 LTIP awards on the dates the awards were settled.

60




(2)
The amounts reported in the column entitled “Aggregate Earnings in Last Fiscal Year” represent the change in the value of the shares subject to the deferred LTIP and restricted stock unit awards from December 31, 2017 to December 31, 2018.
(3)
This amount represents the value of Mr. Wehmer's deferred LTIP awards settled in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and his restricted stock unit awards which have vested but are not issuable until the earlier to occur of (i) the executive’s termination of employment and (ii) the time at which the award is no longer subject to the deduction limits under Section 162(m) of the Code.
(4)
This amount represents the value of Mr. Dykstra's restricted stock unit awards which have vested but are not issuable until the earlier to occur of (i) the executive’s termination of employment and (ii) the time at which the award is no longer subject to the deduction limits under Section 162(m) of the Code.


61




POTENTIAL PAYMENTS UPON TERMINATION OR CHANGE IN CONTROL
As noted under “Compensation Discussion & Analysis - Post-Termination Compensation” on page 52 of this Proxy Statement, we have entered into employment agreements with each of our NEOs that provide for payments in connection with such NEO’s termination, whether in connection with a change in control or otherwise. The benefits to be provided to the current NEOs under the employment agreements upon various termination situations are described below, including a summary of payments that would have been required had a termination taken place on December 31, 2018.
Payments Made upon Termination
The NEO’s rights upon a termination of his employment depend upon the circumstances of the termination. Central to an understanding of the rights of each NEO under the employment agreements is an understanding of the definitions of ‘Cause’ and ‘Constructive Termination’ that are used in those agreements. For purposes of the employment agreements:
We have Cause to terminate the NEO if the NEO has engaged in any of a list of specified activities, including refusing to perform duties consistent with the scope and nature of his position, committing an act of gross negligence or willful misconduct resulting in or potentially resulting in economic loss or damage to the Company’s reputation, conviction of a felony or other actions specified in the definition.
The NEO is said to have been Constructively Terminated (and thereby gain access to the benefits described below) if we (i) materially reduce the NEO’s duties and responsibilities, or (ii) reduce the NEO’s adjusted total compensation (as defined in the agreements) to an amount less than (x) 75% of his adjusted total compensation for the prior 12 months or (y) 75% of his adjusted total compensation for the 12 months preceding the date of such NEO’s employment agreement, whichever is greater. In addition, in the case of Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra and Murphy, the NEO is said to have been Constructively Terminated if we reduce, or assign such NEO duties substantively inconsistent with, his position, authority, duties or responsibilities, including reductions occurring solely as a result of the Company ceasing to be a publicly traded entity or becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of another entity.
The employment agreements require, as a precondition to the receipt of these payments, that the NEO sign a standard form of release in which he waives all claims that he might have against us and certain associated individuals and entities. The employment agreements also include non-compete and non-solicit provisions and confidentiality provisions that would apply for three years following the termination of employment or, in the case of Mr. Crane, for two years.
Payment Obligations for Termination with Cause
If an NEO is terminated for Cause, he is entitled to receive amounts earned during the terms of employment. Such amounts include:
unpaid base salary through the date of termination;
accrued but unused vacation or paid leave; and
reimbursements.

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Payment Obligations Upon Death or Permanent Disability
In the event of death or permanent disability of an NEO, in addition to the items above:
Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra, Murphy and Stoehr will be entitled to a payment equal to three times the sum of his base salary in effect at the time of his death or disability and the target cash and stock bonus awards granted to such NEO in the year of his death or disability. Mr. Crane will be entitled to a payment equal to two times the sum of his base salary in effect at the time of his death or disability and the annual incentive compensation award (not including any equity-based award or cash award with a vesting period of greater than one year) paid to Mr. Crane during the 12-month period prior to his termination. Such payments will be made (i) in the case of death, in a lump sum within 30 days of the NEO’s death or (ii) in the case of permanent disability, ratably over 36 months (24 months for Mr. Crane), with any such payment benefit reduced by the proceeds from any life or disability insurance policies maintained by the Company. For Mr. Crane, such payment benefit will be reduced by the amount of any income earned by Mr. Crane during the 24-month period; provided, however, that such amount paid to Mr. Crane shall not be less than $8,333.34 per month.
Each NEO will immediately vest in all outstanding awards under the Company’s incentive plans.
Additionally, in the event of termination due to permanent disability:
Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra and Murphy will continue to receive health insurance, including for qualified dependents, either under the then current Company plan or under an independent policy having similar coverage to that maintained by the Company, until the earlier of (i) the date he becomes eligible for any comparable medical, dental, or vision coverage provided by any other employer or (ii) the date he becomes eligible for Medicare benefits; and
Messrs. Stoehr and Crane will continue to receive health insurance, including for qualified dependents, under the then current Company plan until the end of the 36-month period for Mr. Stoehr and the 24-month period for Mr. Crane over which the severance payments described in the first bullet point of this subsection are made.
Payment Obligations for Constructive Termination or Termination Without Cause
In the event of constructive termination or termination without cause of an NEO, such NEO is entitled to the items listed above under “Payment Obligations for Termination with Cause” and “Payment Obligations Upon Death or Permanent Disability,” except that:
the payment described in the first bullet point under “Payment Obligations Upon Death or Permanent Disability” will not be made in a lump sum, but rather be made ratably over the 36-month period for Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra, Murphy and Stoehr and over the 24-month period for Mr. Crane;
outstanding option awards under the Company’s incentive plans will remain exercisable until the earlier of (i) three months or (ii) the life of the award;

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Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra and Murphy and their respective dependents will be entitled to continued health benefits until the earliest of (i) the date he becomes eligible for another group health insurance plan with no pre-existing condition limitation or exclusion or (ii) the date he becomes eligible for Medicare benefits; and
Messrs. Stoehr and Crane and their respective dependents will be entitled to continued health benefits until the earliest of (i) the date he becomes eligible for another group health insurance plan with no pre-existing condition limitation or exclusion, (ii) the expiration of the maximum coverage period under COBRA or (iii) the date he becomes eligible for Medicare benefits.
Payment Obligations for Termination Without Cause or Constructive Termination Following a Change in Control
In the event of the constructive termination or termination without cause of an NEO within eighteen months of a change in control, which is defined below, such NEO shall be entitled to the same payments and items described above under “Payment Obligations for Constructive Termination or Termination Without Cause,” however, such payments shall be made in a lump sum within 30 days of such termination. Additionally:
Pursuant to our incentive plans, the NEO will be entitled to immediate vesting and lapsing of restrictions on all outstanding equity awards;
Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra and Murphy will be entitled to an additional cash payment equal to an amount that would offset any excise taxes incurred by the NEO as a result of the receipt of any change in control payments and such offset payment, within 30 days of the determination that such excise tax is due; and
In the case of Messrs. Stoehr and Crane, such payment may be subject to reduction (any such payment a “Reduced Payment”) to the extent it would cause such NEO to receive an “excess parachute payment” (as defined in the Code) unless the change in control payments, less the amount of any excise taxes payable by the NEO, is greater than the Reduced Payment.
On May 20, 2009, the Company adopted a policy that it will not enter into any new or materially amended agreements with NEOs that include any excise tax gross-up provisions with respect to payments contingent upon a change in control. This policy does not apply to the employment agreements with Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra and Murphy in effect at the time of adoption of such policy.
For purposes of a change in control, the NEO is said to have been Constructively Terminated (and thereby gain access to the benefits described above) if the resulting employer were to (i) materially reduce the NEO’s duties and responsibilities, (ii) reduce the NEO’s adjusted total compensation to an amount less than (x) 100% of his adjusted total compensation for the prior 12 months or (y) 100% of his adjusted total compensation for the 12 months preceding the date of such NEO’s employment agreement, whichever is greater, or (iii) following the change in control, deliver notice to such NEO that he will continue to be employed but his employment agreement will be rejected. In addition, in the case of Messrs. Wehmer, Dykstra and Murphy, the NEO is said to have been Constructively Terminated if we reduce, or assign such NEO duties substantively inconsistent with, his position, authority, duties or responsibilities, including reductions

64




occurring solely as a result of the Company’s ceasing to be a publicly traded entity or becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of another entity.
“Change in control” is defined in the NEOs’ employment agreements by reference to the 2007 Stock Incentive Plan, which defines change in control as any of the following events:
if any person acquires 50% or more of the Company’s outstanding Common Stock or of the combined voting power of the Company’s outstanding voting securities (other than securities acquired directly from the Company);
if the Company’s incumbent Directors (and director nominees approved by such Directors) cease to constitute a majority of the Board;
the consummation of a reorganization, merger or consolidation in which our shareholders immediately prior to such transaction do not, following such transaction, beneficially own more than 50% of the outstanding common stock or of the combined voting power of the corporation resulting from such transaction; or
the approval of our shareholders of a complete liquidation or dissolution of the Company or of the sale or other disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the Company.
The table below shows potential payments to the current NEOs if terminated upon death or permanent disability, for Constructive Termination or without Cause, in connection with a change in control and retirement. The amounts shown assume that termination was effective as of December 31, 2018, and are estimates of the amounts that would be paid to the executives upon termination. All equity awards have been calculated using the closing stock price of the Company’s Common Stock on December 31, 2018 of $66.49, as reported on NASDAQ. The actual amounts to be paid can only be determined at the actual time of an executive’s termination.

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Name
Type of Payment
Death ($)
Permanent Disability ($)
Constructive Termination ($)
Termination Without Cause ($)
Termination in Connection with a Change in Control ($)
Retirement ($)
Edward J. Wehmer (1)
Cash Severance Benefit (2)
6,900,000

6,900,000

6,900,000

6,900,000

6,900,000


 
 
Value of Unvested and Accelerated Equity (3)
2,028,381

2,028,381

1,665,269

1,665,269

2,943,504

1,665,269

 
 
Value of Long-Term Cash Incentive Award (4)
2,000,879

2,000,879

2,000,879

2,000,879

3,150,250

2,000,879

 
 
Benefit Continuation (5)

3,205

3,205

3,205

3,205


 
 
Less Life Insurance Proceeds (6)
(2,700,000
)





 
 
Less Disability Insurance Proceeds (7)

(600,000
)




 
 
Excise Tax Gross-Up Payment (8)






 
 
TOTAL
8,229,260

10,332,465

10,569,353