Steven L. Cross

Managing Director & Head of Houston Office

Profile image of Steven L. Cross
Houston, TX
P: 713.427.8333

Steve Cross serves as the outside advisor to the board of directors and executive management in the design and ongoing administration of executive compensation programs. For over 25 years, he has provided independent advice to clients on a full range of topics related to executive compensation such as: annual and long-term incentive plan design, equity compensation, severance arrangements, corporate governance, compensation strategy, competitive analysis, public disclosures, and foreign domicile related issues. He has served a wide range of clients that include publicly traded as well as privately held companies, ranging in size from small cap to Fortune 100.

Steve joined FW Cook in 2012, when the Firm acquired Cogent Compensation Partners, a Houston-based executive compensation consulting firm he founded.  Prior to founding Cogent Compensation Partners, he was the market leader for Mercer's executive compensation practice in Houston. He also spent 10 years at KPMG where he was the Partner in Charge of the executive compensation consulting practice for the Southwest Region.

Steve has written numerous articles, contributed to the publication of books, and spoken many times on the subject of compensation. He has been a regular guest lecturer on the subject of compensation and corporate governance at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.

Relevant Experience

  • Compensation Committee Advisor
  • Incentive Plan Design
  • Severance Plan Design
  • Director Compensation
  • Corporate Governance Process
  • CEO Attraction/Transition
  • Foreign Domicile Related Issues
  • IPO Planning/Coordination
  • Private Company Long-term Incentive Design
  • Competitive Market Comparisons
  • Stock Ownership Guidelines
  • Severance Arrangements
  • Equity Plan Proposals
  • CD&A Drafting/Review
  • Shareholder Outreach

Speaking Engagements and Presentations

Event | October 19, 2023
New York, NY

Evolving Executive Compensation - Revisiting our Guiding Principles
By Steven L. Cross, Dana W. Etra

Event | November 4, 2022
New York, NY

Program Highlights, Closing Questions, and Wrap-Up
By Steven L. Cross, Managing Director & Head of Houston Office

Event | June 15, 2022
Cambridge, MA

2022 Corporate Governance Roundtable
By Steven L. Cross, Managing Director & Head of Houston Office

Event | October 28, 2021

Panel Discussion: Expansion of the Compensation Committee Role
By Steven L. Cross, Managing Director & Head of Houston Office


Blog | April 6, 2018
Considering the Investor Perspective in Shareholder Engagement Efforts
By Matt Lum, Steven L. Cross
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Blog | February 23, 2018
Shareholder Outreach and the Evolving Role of Investor Stewardship
By Matt Lum, Steven L. Cross
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Blog | December 21, 2017
Driving Capital Efficiency within the E&P Industry
By Matt Lum, Austin Lee, Steven L. Cross
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Alert | April 1, 2013
Executive Compensation 2012 Year in Review and Implications for 2013 and Beyond
By James Park, Steven L. Cross
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