This Employment Agreement (the Agreement) is made and entered into by and between Darlene Deptula-Hicks (Executive) and Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Nevada corporation (the Company) (together referred to herein as the Parties), effective as of August 27, 2015, (the Effective Date).
R E C I T A L S
WHEREAS, the Company desires to employ Executive as Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company and Executive desires to accept such employment, subject to the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement,
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and mutual covenants contained herein, and for other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and adequacy of which is hereby acknowledged, the parties agree as follows:
(a) Term of Agreement. This Agreement shall become effective on the Effective Date and shall continue unless terminated in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in Sections 3 and 4 of this Agreement (the Term). Executives employment shall begin on September 1, 2015 (the Start Date) and, shall at all times be at-will.
(b) Position and Duties. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the Company agrees to employ Executive during the Term as Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company and as such she shall report to the Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Executive shall perform such duties and bear the responsibilities as are customarily associated with this position as well as such other duties as shall be specified and designated from time to time by the Companys Chief Executive Officer, his designee, and/or the Companys board of directors (the Board).
(c) Location. Executive shall perform services for the Company at the Companys offices located in Boston, MA; provided, however, that the Company may from time to time require Executive to travel temporarily to other locations in connection with the Companys business.
(i) During the Term, Executive shall devote all of Executives business time and energies to the business and affairs of Company and its Affiliates and to the faithful and diligent performance of the duties and responsibilities described herein. During the Term, Executive shall not (A) accept any other employment or consultancy or (B) serve on the board of directors or similar body of any entity, other than board positions currently held as of the Effective Date of this Agreement, unless such position is approved by the Chief Executive Officer as set forth in subsection (d)(ii) below (which
such approval shall continue until such time as the Company provides notice to Executive that, in its reasonable judgment, such position is with a Competing Entity, interferes with Executives duties to the Company or places Executive in a Competing Position with, or otherwise conflicts with, the interests of the Company, at which time the Company and Executive will discuss such conflict and the parties will use reasonable efforts to reach agreement on its resolution); provided that Executive may engage in civic and not-for-profit activities, so long as such activities, in the aggregate, do not conflict with the interests of the Company or materially interfere with the performance of Executives duties to the Company and do not otherwise conflict with subsection d(ii) below.
(ii) During Executives employment by the Company, Executive agrees not to acquire, assume or participate in, directly or indirectly, any financial position, investment or interest known by Executive to be adverse or antagonistic to the Company, its business or prospects, financial or otherwise or in any Competing Entity, directly or indirectly; provided, however, Executive may accept equity compensation related to the positions or business activities engaged in which have been approved by the Company pursuant to subsection (d)(i) above. Ownership by Executive, as a passive investment, of less than two percent (2%) of the outstanding shares of capital stock of any corporation with one or more classes of its capital stock listed on a national securities exchange or publicly traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter market shall not constitute breach of this Section 1(d).
(e) Exclusivity. The Executive hereby represents to the Company that: (i) the execution and delivery of this Agreement by the Executive and the Company and the performance by the Executive of the Executives duties hereunder do not and shall not constitute a breach of, conflict with, or otherwise contravene or cause a default under, the terms of any other agreement or policy to which the Executive is a party or otherwise bound or any judgment, order or decree to which the Executive is subject; (ii) that the Executive has no information (including, without limitation, confidential information and trade secrets) relating to any other Person which would prevent, or be violated by, the Executive entering into this Agreement or carrying out his duties hereunder; (iii) the Executive is not bound by any agreement with any previous employer or other party to refrain from (A) competing with the business of, or (B) soliciting the customers of, that employer or party, in each case, which would be violated by your employment with the Company; and (iv) the Executive understands the Company will rely upon the accuracy and truth of the representations and warranties of the Executive set forth herein and the Executive consents to such reliance.
2. Compensation and Related Matters.
(a) Base Salary. Executives annual base salary (Base Salary) will be $300,000 in U.S Dollars, less payroll deductions and all required withholdings, payable in accordance with the Companys normal payroll practices in effect from time to time. The Board or a committee of the Board shall review Executives Base Salary periodically and any adjustments to Executives Base Salary, if any, will be made solely at the discretion of the Board or a committee of the Board.
(b) Bonus. Executive shall also be eligible for an annual discretionary bonus of up to 40% of Executives then-Base Salary (the Target Bonus Amount) as determined by the Board or a committee of the Board in its sole discretion, based upon the Boards or a committee of the Boards evaluation (in its sole discretion) of the achievement of specific individual and/or Company-wide performance goals as chosen and determined by the Board or a committee of the Board in its sole discretion. For the current calendar year, Executive shall be eligible for a Target Bonus Amount pro-rated based on the length of Executives employment hereunder during the 2015 calendar year. The annual discretionary bonus, if any, shall be payable, less authorized deductions and required withholdings, no later than March 15th of the calendar year immediately following the calendar year in which it was earned. The Target Bonus Amount of any annual discretionary bonus for which Executive is eligible shall be reviewed by the Board or a committee of the Board from time to time.
(c) Equity Awards. Subject to approval of the Board or an appropriate committee thereof, Company shall grant Executive on the Start Date or as soon thereafter as practicable, a nonqualified stock option under the Companys 2014 Employee, Director and Consultant Equity Incentive Plan (the Plan) to purchase 450,000 shares of common stock of the Company (the Option). 6.25% of the Option shall vest on the Start Date (the Initial Vesting Date), with the remaining 93.75% of the Option to vest over the next four years in equal installments on a quarterly basis beginning on the last day of the next calendar quarter after the Initial Vesting Date, subject in each case to Executives continued employment in Good Standing. Notwithstanding the foregoing in no event may (i) Executive exercise the Option prior to Company receiving shareholder approval of an increase in the number of shares of common stock authorized under the Plan which increase shall include provision for the issuance of shares of common stock underlying the Option (the Initial Exercisability Date), and (ii) if shareholder approval is not obtained for any reason on or prior to September 30, 2016, the Option shall be cancelled and of no further force and effect. Prior to the Initial Exercisability Date, the time period for exercising the vested portion of the Option in the event of termination of employment other than for Cause shall be extended until three (3) months following the Initial Exercisability Date and in the event of death or Disability (as defined in the Plan) until one year following the Initial Exercisability Date. The Option shall be evidenced in writing by, and subject to the terms and conditions of, the Plan and, except as otherwise set forth herein, the Companys standard form of stock option agreement, which agreement shall expire ten (10) years from the date of grant except as otherwise provided herein, in the stock option agreement or the Plan.
(d) Benefits. During the Term, the Company, shall provide Executive with coverage under all employee benefit programs, plans and practices as are in effect from time to time and which the Company, makes available from time to time to its senior executive officers, with at least the same opportunity to participate as the other senior executive officers of the Company, including, without limitation, if applicable, retirement, pension, medical, dental, hospitalization, life insurance, short and long term disability, accidental death and dismemberment and travel accident coverage.
(e) Vacation and Fringe Benefits. Executive shall be entitled to four (4) weeks paid vacation in each calendar year (pro-rated as necessary for partial calendar years
during the Term). Executive may take his vacation at such times consistent with the vacation policies as are in effect from time to time with respect to senior executive officers. Executive shall be entitled to the perquisites and fringe benefits which the Company makes available from time to time to its senior executive officers, commensurate with Executives position with the Company.
(f) Business Expenses. During the Term, the Company shall reimburse Executive for all reasonable business expenses incurred in the conduct of Executives duties hereunder in accordance with the applicable expense reimbursement policies.
(a) At-Will Employment. The Company and Executive acknowledge that Executives employment is and shall continue to be at-will, as defined under applicable law. This means that it is not for any specified period of time and can be terminated by any of the parties hereto at any time, with or without advance notice (other than as stated herein), and for any or no particular reason or cause. It also means that Executives job duties, title and responsibility, compensation and benefits, as well as the personnel policies and procedures in effect, may be changed with prospective effect, with or without notice, at any time in the sole discretion of the Company. This at-will nature of Executives employment shall remain unchanged during Executives tenure as an employee and may not be changed, except in an express writing signed by Executive and a duly authorized member of the Board. If Executives employment terminates for any reason, Executive shall not be entitled to any payments, benefits, damages, awards or compensation other than as provided by this Agreement.
(b) Deemed Resignation. Upon termination of Executives employment for any reason, Executive shall be deemed to have resigned from all offices and directorships, if any, then held with the Company or any of its Affiliates, and, at the Companys request, Executive shall execute such documents as are necessary or desirable to effectuate such resignations.
4. Obligations upon Termination of Employment.
(a) Executives Obligations.
(i) Notice Period. Anything in this Agreement notwithstanding, Executive may voluntarily terminate his employment hereunder upon not less than ninety (90) days prior written notice of Executive delivered to the Company, or upon such shorter notice as Executive and the Company shall agree.
(ii) Confidentiality. Executive shall not during the Term and thereafter, without the prior written consent of the Company, knowingly (i) divulge, disclose or make accessible any Confidential Information (as defined below) to any other person, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity or (ii) use any Confidential Information for his own purposes or for the benefit of any other person, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity (other than the Company), except (x) during the Term, in the business of and
for the benefit of the Company or (y) when required to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction, by any governmental agency having supervisory authority over the business of the Company, or by any administrative body or legislative body (including a committee thereof) with jurisdiction to order Executive to divulge, disclose or make accessible such Confidential Information or by state, federal, foreign or local law, rule or regulation; provided that, in the event that Executive is so required to disclose Confidential Information, Executive shall, prior to making any such disclosure, provide the Company with prompt written notice of such requirement so that the Company may seek an appropriate protective order. For purposes of this Agreement, Confidential Information shall mean all confidential Company data, analyses, reports, interpretations, forecasts, documents and information concerning the affairs of the Company and its Affiliates, including, without limitation, confidential financial data, strategic business plans, computer programs and documentation, product development data (or other proprietary product data), customer lists and customer information, discoveries, practices, policies, processes, methods, marketing plans, prospects, opportunities and other proprietary information in whatever form, tangible or intangible; provided that Confidential Information shall not include (x) information that has become generally available to the public other than as a result of disclosure by Executive in a manner violative of this Section 4, or (y) information that is rightly received by Executive without restriction on disclosure from a third party legally entitled to possess and disclose such information without restriction (other than information that Executive may learn or has learned by reason of his association with any Affiliate). Upon conclusion of the Term or at any point prior on request of the Company, Executive shall immediately return to the Company all Confidential Information, including copies, reproductions and summaries thereof, in his possession and shall erase all such Confidential Information from all media in his possession, and, if the Company so requests, shall certify in writing that she has done so. All Confidential Information is and shall remain the property of the Company and its Affiliates.
(iii) Non-Competition. During the Term and twelve (12) months thereafter, Executive agrees that, without the prior written consent of the Board (which the Board may grant or withhold in its discretion): she shall not, directly or indirectly, either as principal, manager, agent, consultant, officer, stockholder, partner, investor; lender or employee, or in any other capacity (and whether or not for compensation) carry on, be engaged in or employed by, be a consultant or provide assistance to or have any financial interest in, any Competing Entity, except that it will not be deemed a breach of this Section 4(a)(iii) if Executive is an investor or stockholder of not more than two (2%) percent of the equity securities of any entity.
(iv) Non-Solicitation. During the Term and for twelve (12) months thereafter, Executive agrees that, without the prior written consent of the Board she shall not, on his own behalf or on behalf of any person or entity, directly or indirectly, (a) solicit for employment any employee who has been employed by the Company or any Affiliate at any time during the twelve (12) months immediately preceding such solicitation or offer or (b) solicit for the business of or provide services to any client, customer, or vendor of the Company or any Affiliate for which she or any subordinate provided services during the Term.
(v) Intellectual Property. All Intellectual Property (as defined below) and Technology (as defined below) created, developed, obtained or conceived of by Executive during the Term, and all business opportunities presented to Executive during the Term shall be owned by and belong exclusively to the Company, provided that they directly relate to the business of the Company, as of the date of such creation, development, obtaining or conception, and Executive shall (i) promptly disclose to the Company any such Intellectual Property or Technology or any viable business opportunity presented by a third party to Executive during the Term and which the Company has not rejected and (ii) execute and deliver to the Company, without additional compensation, such instruments (such as assignments of any Intellectual Property to the Company) as the Company may require from time to time to evidence its ownership of any such Intellectual Property or Technology or business opportunity. For purposes of this Agreement, (x) the term Intellectual Property shall mean and include any and all trademarks, trade names, service marks, service names, patents, copyrights and applications therefor and (y) the term Technology shall mean and include any and. all trade secrets, proprietary information, inventions, discoveries, know-how, formulae, processes and procedures.
(vi) Non-disparagement. During the Term and at all times thereafter, Executive shall not make, or cause to be made, any statement or communicate any information (whether oral or written) that disparages or reflects negatively on the Company or its Affiliates, officers, directors, board members, investors, shareholders, agents or employees.
(vii) Response to Legal Process. Executive may respond to a lawful and valid subpoena or other legal process but shall give the Company the earliest possible notice thereof, and shall, as much in advance of the return date as possible, make available to the Company and its counsel the documents and other information sought, and shall assist such counsel in resisting or otherwise responding to such process.
(viii) Survival of Provisions. The provisions of this Section 4(a) shall survive the termination or expiration of the applicable Executives employment with the Company and shall be fully enforceable thereafter. If it is determined by a court of competent jurisdiction that any restriction in this Section 4(a) is excessive in duration or scope or is unreasonable or unenforceable under the laws of that jurisdiction, it is the intention of the parties that such restriction may be modified or amended by the court to render it enforceable to the maximum extent permitted by the law of that jurisdiction.
(ix) Injunctive Relief. Executive and the Company agree that the restrictions contained in Sections 4(a) hereof are a reasonable and necessary protection of the immediate interests on the Company, that any violation of these restrictions would cause substantial injury to the Company and that the Company would not have entered into this
Agreement without receiving the additional consideration offered by Executive in binding himself to these restrictions. In the event of the breach or threatened breach by Executive of any of such restrictions, the Company shall be entitled to apply to any court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction restraining Executive for such breach or threatened breach; provided that the right of the Company to apply for an injunction shall not be construed as prohibiting the Company from pursuing any other available remedies for such breach or threatened breach. In the event that, notwithstanding the foregoing, a restriction, or any portion thereof, contained in Section 4(a) is deemed to be unreasonable by a court of competent jurisdiction, whether due to the passage of time, change of circumstances or otherwise, Executive and the Company agree that such restriction, or portion thereof, shall be modified in order to make it reasonable and shall be enforced accordingly.
(b) Companys Obligations.
(i) Payments of Accrued Obligations upon Termination of Employment. Upon a termination of Executives employment for any reason, Executive (or Executives estate or legal representative, as applicable) shall be entitled to receive, within ten (10) days after the date Executive terminates employment with the Company (or such earlier date as may be required by applicable law): (i) any portion of Executives annual base salary earned through Executives termination date not theretofore paid, (ii) any expenses owed to Executive under Section 2(f) above, (iii) any accrued but unused vacation pay owed to Executive pursuant to Section 2(e) above, and (iv) any amount arising from Executives participation in, or benefits under, any employee benefit plans, programs or arrangements under Section 2(d) above, which amounts shall be payable in accordance with the terms and conditions of such employee benefit plans, programs or arrangements.
(ii) Severance Payments upon a Covered Termination Other Than During a Change in Control Period. If Executive experiences a Covered Termination at any time other than during a Change in Control Period, and if Executive executes and does not revoke during any applicable revocation period a general release of all claims against the Company and its Affiliates in a form acceptable to the Company (a Release of Claims) within a reasonable period of time specified by the Company and in compliance with applicable law, following such Covered Termination, then in addition to any accrued obligations payable under Section 4(b)(i) above, the Company shall provide Executive with the following:
(A) Severance. Executive shall be entitled to receive an amount equal to (i) twelve (12) months of Executives Base Salary in effect as of Executives termination date plus (ii) Executives Target Bonus Amount, pro-rated based on the total number of days elapsed in the calendar year as of the termination date, but only if, as of the date of Executives termination of employment, the Company and Executive were on target to achieve all applicable performance goals for such annual bonus as determined by the Board or a committee of the Board in their
sole discretion. Such amount will be subject to applicable withholdings and payable in a single lump sum cash payment on the first regular payroll date following the date the Release of Claims becomes effective and irrevocable or if the Executive is subject to Section 409A the date set forth in Section 10(a) hereof.
(B) Equity Awards. Each outstanding equity award, including, without limitation, each stock option held by Executive shall automatically become vested and, if applicable, exercisable (except as provided in Section 2(c) hereof) and any forfeiture restrictions shall immediately lapse with respect to 50% of the then unvested equity awards.
(C) Continued Healthcare. The Company shall notify Executive of any right to continue group health plan coverage sponsored by the Company or an Affiliate immediately prior to Executives date of termination pursuant to the provisions of applicable law including, but not limited to, the provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, as amended (COBRA). If Executive elects to receive such continued healthcare coverage, the Company shall directly pay, or reimburse Executive for, the premium for Executive and Executive s covered dependents, less the amount of Executives monthly premium contributions for such coverage prior to termination, for the period commencing on the first day of the first full calendar month following the date the Release of Claims becomes effective and irrevocable through the earlier of (i) the last day of the twelve (12) full calendar months following the date the Release of Claims becomes effective and irrevocable and (ii) the date Executive and Executives covered dependents, if any, become eligible for healthcare coverage under another employers plan(s). Executive shall notify the Company immediately if Executive becomes covered by a group health plan of a subsequent employer. After the Company ceases to pay premiums pursuant to this subsection, Executive may, if eligible, elect to continue healthcare coverage at Executives expense in accordance the provisions of COBRA or other applicable law.
(iii) Severance Payments upon a Covered Termination During a Change in Control Period. If Executive experiences a Covered Termination during a Change in Control Period, and if Executive executes and does not revoke during any applicable revocation period a Release of Claims within a reasonable period of time specified by the Company, following such Covered Termination, then in addition to any accrued obligations payable under Section 4(b)(i) above, the Company shall provide Executive with the following:
(A) Severance. Executive shall be entitled to receive an amount equal to (i) twelve (12) months of Executives Base Salary in
effect as of Executives termination date plus (ii) Executives Target Bonus Amount for the year of termination. Such amount will be subject to applicable withholdings and payable in a single lump sum cash payment on the first regular payroll date following the date the Release of Claims becomes effective and irrevocable or if the Executive is subject to Section 409A the date set forth in Section 10(a) hereof.
(B) Equity Awards. Each outstanding equity award, including, without limitation, each stock option held by Executive shall automatically become vested and, if applicable, exercisable (except as provided in Section 2(c) hereof) and any forfeiture restrictions shall immediately lapse.
(C) Continued Healthcare. The Company shall notify Executive of any right to continue group health plan coverage sponsored by the Company or an Affiliate immediately prior to Executives date of termination pursuant to the provisions of applicable law including, but not limited to, the provisions of COBRA. If Executive elects to receive such continued healthcare coverage, the Company shall directly pay, or reimburse Executive for, the premium for Executive and Executive s covered dependents, less the amount of Executives monthly premium contributions for such coverage prior to termination, for the period commencing on the first day of the first full calendar month following the date the Release of Claims becomes effective and irrevocable through the earlier of (i) the last day of the twelve (12) full calendar months following the date Release of Claims becomes effective and irrevocable and (ii) the date Executive and Executives covered dependents, if any, become eligible for healthcare coverage under another employers plan(s). Executive shall notify the Company immediately if Executive becomes covered by a group health plan of a subsequent employer. After the Company ceases to pay premiums pursuant to this subsection, Executive may, if eligible, elect to continue healthcare coverage at Executives expense in accordance the provisions of COBRA or other applicable law.
(c) No Other Severance. The provisions of this Section 4 shall supersede in their entirety any severance payment or other arrangement provided by the Company, including, without limitation, any severance plan of the Company.
(d) No Requirement to Mitigate; Survival. Executive shall not be required to mitigate the amount of any payment provided for under this Agreement by seeking other employment or in any other manner. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, the termination of Executives employment shall not impair the rights or obligations of any party.
5. Limitation on Payments. Notwithstanding anything in this Agreement to the contrary, if any payment or distribution Executive would receive pursuant to this Agreement or otherwise (Payment) would (a) constitute a parachute payment within the meaning of Section 280G of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code), and (b) but for this sentence, be subject to the excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code (the Excise Tax), then the Company shall cause to be determined, before any amounts of the Payment are paid to Executive, which of the following alternative forms of payment would maximize Executives after-tax proceeds: (i) payment in full of the entire amount of the Payment (a Full Payment), or (ii) payment of only a part of the Payment so that Executive receives that largest Payment possible without being subject to the Excise Tax (a Reduced Payment), whichever of the foregoing amounts, taking into account the applicable federal, state and local income taxes and the Excise Tax (all computed at the highest marginal rate, net of the maximum reduction in federal income taxes which could be obtained from a deduction of such state and local taxes), results in Executives receipt, on an after-tax basis, of the greater amount of the Payment, notwithstanding that all or some portion the Payment may be subject to the Excise Tax.
(a) The independent registered public accounting firm engaged by the Company for general audit purposes as of the day prior to the effective date of the Change in Control shall make all determinations required to be made under this Section 5. If the independent registered public accounting firm so engaged by the Company is serving as accountant or auditor for the individual, group or entity effecting the Change in Control, the Company shall appoint a nationally recognized independent registered public accounting firm to make the determinations required hereunder. The Company shall bear all expenses with respect to the determinations by such independent registered public accounting firm required to be made hereunder.
(b) The independent registered public accounting firm engaged to make the determinations hereunder shall provide its calculations, together with detailed supporting documentation, to the Company and Executive at such time as requested by the Company or Executive. If the independent registered public accounting firm determines that no Excise Tax is payable with respect to a Payment, either before or after the application of the Reduced Payment, it shall furnish the Company and Executive with an opinion reasonably acceptable to Executive that no Excise Tax will be imposed with respect to such Payment. Any good faith determinations of the accounting firm made hereunder shall be final, binding and conclusive upon the Company and Executive.
(a) Companys Successors. Any successor to the Company (whether direct or indirect and whether by purchase, merger, consolidation, liquidation or otherwise) to all or substantially all of the Companys business and/or assets shall assume the obligations under this Agreement and agree expressly to perform the obligations under this Agreement in the same manner and to the same extent as the Company would be required to perform such obligations in the absence of a succession. For all purposes under this Agreement, the term Company shall include any successor to the Companys business and/or assets which executes and delivers the assumption agreement described in this Section 6(a) or which becomes bound by the terms of this Agreement by operation of law.
(b) Executives Successors. The terms of this Agreement and all rights of Executive hereunder shall inure to the benefit of, and be enforceable by, Executives personal or legal representatives, executors, administrators, successors, heirs, distributees, devisees and legatees.
7. Notices. Notices and all other communications contemplated by this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be deemed to have been duly given when personally delivered or one day following mailing via Federal Express or similar overnight courier service. In the case of Executive, mailed notices shall be addressed to Executive at Executives home address that the Company has on file for Executive. In the case of the Company, mailed notices shall be addressed to its corporate headquarters, and all notices shall be directed to the attention of the Chairman of the Compensation Committee of the Company.
8. Dispute Resolution. To ensure the timely and economical resolution of disputes that arise in connection with this Agreement, Executive and the Company agree that any and all disputes, claims, or causes of action arising from or relating to the enforcement, breach, performance or interpretation of this Agreement, Executives employment, or the termination of Executives employment, shall be resolved to the fullest extent permitted by law by final, binding and confidential arbitration, by a single arbitrator, in New York, New York, conducted by Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS) under the applicable JAMS employment rules. By agreeing to this arbitration procedure, both Executive and the Company waive the right to resolve any such dispute through a trial by jury or judge or administrative proceeding. The arbitrator shall: (i) have the authority to compel adequate discovery for the resolution of the dispute and to award such relief as would otherwise be permitted by law; and (ii) issue a written arbitration decision, to include the arbitrators essential findings and conclusions and a statement of the award. The arbitrator shall be authorized to award any or all remedies that Executive or the Company would be entitled to seek in a court of law. The Company shall pay all JAMS arbitration fees in excess of the amount of court fees that would be required if the dispute were decided in a court of law. Nothing in this Agreement is intended to prevent either Executive or the Company from obtaining injunctive relief in court to prevent irreparable harm pending the conclusion of any such arbitration. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Executive and the Company each have the right to resolve any issue or dispute over intellectual property rights by Court action instead of arbitration.
9. Miscellaneous Provisions.
(a) Withholdings and Offsets. The Company shall be entitled to withhold from any amounts payable under this Agreement any federal, state, local or foreign withholding or other taxes or charges which the Company is required to withhold. The Company shall be entitled to rely on an opinion of counsel if any questions as to the amount or requirement of withholding shall arise.
(b) Waiver. No provision of this Agreement shall be modified, waived or discharged unless the modification, waiver or discharge is agreed to in writing and signed by Executive and by an authorized officer of the Company (other than Executive). No waiver by either party of any breach of, or of compliance with, any condition or provision of this Agreement by the other party shall be considered a waiver of any other condition or provision or of the same condition or provision at another time.
(c) Whole Agreement. This Agreement represents the entire understanding of the parties hereto with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersede all prior arrangements and understandings regarding same, including, without limitation, any severance plan of the Company.
(d) Choice of Law. The validity, interpretation, construction and performance of this Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Nevada.
(e) Severability. The finding by a court of competent jurisdiction of the unenforceability, invalidity or illegality of any provision of this Agreement shall not render any other provision of this Agreement unenforceable, invalid or illegal. Such court shall have the authority to modify or replace the invalid or unenforceable term or provision with a valid and enforceable term or provision which most accurately represents the intention of the parties hereto with respect to the invalid or unenforceable term or provision.
(f) Interpretation; Construction. The headings set forth in this Agreement are for convenience of reference only and shall not be used in interpreting this Agreement. This Agreement has been drafted by legal counsel representing the Company, but Executive has been encouraged to consult with, and has consulted with, Executives own independent counsel and tax advisors with respect to the terms of this Agreement. The parties hereto acknowledge that each party hereto and its counsel has reviewed and revised, or had an opportunity to review and revise, this Agreement, and any rule of construction to the effect that any ambiguities are to be resolved against the drafting party shall not be employed in the interpretation of this Agreement.
(g) Representations; Warranties. Executive represents and warrants that Executive is not restricted or prohibited, contractually or otherwise, from entering into and performing each of the terms and covenants contained in this Agreement, and that Executives execution and performance of this Agreement will not violate or breach any other agreements between Executive and any other person or entity and that Executive has not engaged in any act or omission that could be reasonably expected to result in or lead to an event constituting Cause for purposes of this Agreement.
(h) Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original, but all of which together will constitute one and the same instrument.
10. Section 409A. The intent of the parties is that the payments and benefits under this Agreement comply with or be exempt from Section 409A of the Code and the Department of
Treasury regulations and other interpretive guidance issued thereunder, including without limitation any such regulations or other guidance that may be issued after the Effective Date, (Section 409A) and, accordingly, to the maximum extent permitted, this Agreement shall be interpreted to be in compliance therewith. If the Company determines that any provision of this Agreement would cause Executive to incur any additional tax or interest under Section 409A (with specificity as to the reason therefor), the Company and Executive shall take commercially reasonable efforts to reform such provision to try to comply with or be exempt from Section 409A through good faith modifications to the minimum extent reasonably appropriate to conform with Section 409A, provided that any such modifications shall not increase the cost or liability to the Company. To the extent that any provision hereof is modified in order to comply with or be exempt from Section 409A, such modification shall be made in good faith and shall, to the maximum extent reasonably possible, maintain the original intent and economic benefit to Executive and the Company of the applicable provision without violating the provisions of Section 409A.
(a) Separation from Service. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Agreement, no amount deemed deferred compensation subject to Section 409A of the Code shall be payable pursuant to Section 4 unless Executives termination of employment constitutes a separation from service with the Company within the meaning of Section 409A (Separation from Service) and, except as provided under Section 10(b) of this Agreement, any such amount shall not be paid, or in the case of installments, commence payment, until the sixtieth (60th) day following Executives Separation from Service. Any installment payments that would have been made to Executive during the sixty (60) day period immediately following Executives Separation from Service but for the preceding sentence shall be paid to Executive on the sixtieth (60th) day following Executives Separation from Service and the remaining payments shall be made as provided in this Agreement.
(b) Specified Employee. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Agreement, if Executive is deemed at the time of his or her separation from service to be a specified employee for purposes of Section 409A(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Code, to the extent delayed commencement of any portion of the benefits to which Executive is entitled under this Agreement is required in order to avoid a prohibited distribution under Section 409A(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Code, such portion of Executives benefits shall not be provided to Executive prior to the earlier of (a) the expiration of the six (6)-month period measured from the date of Executives Separation from Service or (b) the date of Executives death. Upon the first day of the seventh month following the date of the Executives separation from service, all payments deferred pursuant to this Section 10(b) shall be paid in a lump sum to Executive, and any remaining payments due under this Agreement shall be paid as otherwise provided herein.
(c) Expense Reimbursements. To the extent that any reimbursements payable pursuant to this Agreement are subject to the provisions of Section 409A, any such reimbursements payable to Executive pursuant to this Agreement shall be paid to Executive no later than December 31 of the year following the year in which the expense was incurred, the amount of expenses reimbursed in one year shall not affect the amount eligible for reimbursement in any subsequent year, and Executives right to reimbursement under this Agreement will not be subject to liquidation or exchange for another benefit.
(d) Installments. For purposes of Section 409A (including, without limitation, for purposes of Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-2(b)(2)(iii)), Executives right to receive any installment payments under this Agreement shall be treated as a right to receive a series of separate payments and, accordingly, each such installment payment shall at all times be considered a separate and distinct payment.
11. Definition of Terms. The following terms referred to in this Agreement shall have the following meanings:
(a) Affiliates. Affiliates means any of the Companys subsidiaries or joint ventures currently existing or which shall be established during Executives employment by the Company.
(b) Cause. Cause means the occurrence of any of the following events, as determined by the Board or a committee designated by the Board, in its sole discretion: (i) Executives commission of any felony or any crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or moral turpitude under the laws of the United States or any state thereof; (ii) Executives attempted commission of, or participation in, a fraud against the Company; (iii) Executives intentional, material violation of any contract or agreement between Executive and the Company or of any statutory duty owed to the Company, including this Agreement; (iv) Executives unauthorized use or disclosure of the Companys confidential information or trade secrets; or (v) Executives gross misconduct.
(c) Change in Control. Change in Control means:
Ownership. Any Person (as such term is used in Sections 13(d) and 14(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act)) becomes the Beneficial Owner (as defined in Rule 13d-3 under the Exchange Act), directly or indirectly, of securities of the Company representing 50% or more of the total voting power represented by the Companys then outstanding voting securities (excluding for this purpose any such voting securities held by the Company or its Affiliates or by any employee benefit plan of the Company) pursuant to a transaction or a series of related transactions which the Board of Directors does not approve; or
Merger/Sale of Assets. (A) A merger or consolidation of the Company whether or not approved by the Board of Directors, other than a merger or consolidation which would result in the voting securities of the Company outstanding immediately prior thereto continuing to represent (either by remaining outstanding or by being converted into voting securities of the surviving entity or the parent of such corporation) more than 50% of the total voting power represented by the voting securities of the Company or such surviving entity or
parent of such corporation, as the case may be, outstanding immediately after such merger or consolidation; or (B) the sale or disposition by the Company of all or substantially all of the Companys assets in a transaction requiring stockholder approval Notwithstanding the foregoing, a Change in Control must also constitute a change in control event as defined in Treasury Regulation §1.409A-3(i)(5).
(d) Change in Control Period. Change in Control Period means the period beginning with the agreement which if consummated is a Change in Control and ending twelve (12) months after the effective date of a Change in Control.
(e) Covered Termination. Covered Termination shall mean the termination of Executives employment (i) by the Company other than for Cause, or (ii) by Executive for Good Reason.
(f) Competing Entity. Competing Entity shall mean any person or entity which is engaged in any phase of the business of developing, manufacturing and marketing of products which compete with the Company and/or any of its Affiliates.
(g) Competing Position. Competing Position shall mean engaging, directly or indirectly, in any manner or capacity, as adviser, principal, agent, affiliate, promoter, partner, officer, director, employee, stockholder, owner, co-owner, consultant, or member of any association or otherwise, in any Competing Entity.
(h) Good Reason. Good Reason means Executives resignation from all positions she then holds with the Company if (i) (A) there is a material diminution in Executives duties and responsibilities with the Company or in job title; (B) there is a material reduction of Executives base salary; provided, however, that a material reduction in Executives base salary pursuant to a salary reduction program affecting all or substantially all of the employees of the Company and that does not adversely affect Executive to a greater extent than other similarly situated employees shall not constitute Good Reason; or (C) Executive is required to relocate Executives primary work location to a facility or location that would increase Executives one-way commute distance by more than fifty (50) miles from Executives primary work location as of immediately prior to such change, (ii) Executive provides written notice outlining such conditions, acts or omissions to the Company within thirty (30) days immediately following such material change or reduction, (iii) such material change or reduction is not remedied by the Company within thirty (30) days following the Companys receipt of such written notice and (iv) Executives resignation is effective not later than thirty (30) days after the expiration of such thirty (30) day cure period.
(i) Good Standing. Good Standing means that Executive remains actively employed and (i) has not been given notice of the termination of employment; (ii) has not given notice of resignation or resigned; (iii) is not suspended by the Company for violation of its material policies and/or procedures and (iv) is not under investigation for conduct that could, in the Companys good faith determination, result in a suspension or termination for Cause.
(j) Person means without limitation, an individual, a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, an association, a joint stock company, a trust, a joint venture, an unincorporated organization and a governmental entity or any department, agency or political subdivision thereof.
(Signature page follows)
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, each of the parties has executed this Agreement, in the case of the Company by its duly authorized officer, as of the day and year set forth below.
|PIERIS PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.|
|Name:||Stephen S. Yoder|
|Title:||Chief Executive Officer|
|/s/ Darlene Deptula-Hicks|
Signature Page to Employment Agreement