Jarret Sues: A Professional Team Player
August 28, 2023
On any given weekend, Jarret Sues can be found coaching or cheering on his 8- and 10-year-old sons in the sport of the season. He also is a devoted golfer and a lifelong bowler. In high school and at Ohio’s Xavier University, Sues was a standout baseball player. After earning his BS in business administration, the right-handed pitcher played professional baseball until an injury abruptly ended his career at age 25. He then decided to pursue compensation consulting as a career; he has not looked back since. Earlier this year, Sues joined Farient Advisors as a partner, bringing with him both analytical discipline and cross-industry experience. In this interview, Sues reflects on how sports continues to influence his work and play.
How did you transition from pro baseball to executive compensation consulting?
I slipped a disc in my neck and lost my velocity, so my baseball career was cut short. My father, who is an attorney, dealt with compensation in executive contracts so he really gave me my first insight into the world of compensation. I was 25 years old, and not particularly interested in following in my father’s footsteps and going to law school, but I was interested in compensation consulting. It resonated with me because of the math and research involved and the opportunity to deal directly with business executives. I went to an interview at a boutique consulting firm, got hired, and in 2006 became an executive compensation consultant. Not too long after I was hired, the firm was purchased by FTI Consulting, and I’ve been involved with executive compensation consulting ever since.
Based on your experience, where do you see your opportunities to add value to the firm?
In the process of meeting the Farient team, I learned that their execution is second to none. The fact that there’s a data analytics team and smart consultants at all levels of the firm to help execute is what really impressed me. It’s my goal to work with my Farient colleagues and provide the best services and options to our clients and where I hope to make the biggest impact is helping the firm grow. Farient already has an exciting growth story, which is another reason I was drawn to the firm, and I want to be a part of that continued growth.
You’ve also have done a fair amount of coaching in your spare time. How does that work into your game plan?
After I got done with professional baseball, I moonlighted as a coach and gave private lessons to kids in my local area for a good eight years before my first son was born. Now I am a suburban dad coaching my own sons as they pursue sports. I enjoy investing time in people because that’s worth more than almost anything else. The efficiencies and the ability to grow is only realized through quality people and teamwork. We share the same goals. It’s no different than being a teammate in any sport.
You’ve seen a lot of changes in executive compensation since becoming a consultant, what do you think has had the greatest positive impact?
I remember when performance-based plans were few and far between. Then the adage “you get what you incent” started to stick. Farient was at the forefront of pay-for-performance planning, which requires an understanding of what really makes a company tick. The more recent focus on linking environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures to executive performance and pay has contributed to reframing the role and responsibility of the compensation committee. Initially, there was a big push for everyone to get ESG measures into their program. Now, it appears more companies and their boards are taking a step back to better understand what can be accomplished and how. What makes the most sense for the company and its situation? Farient’s proficiency and ability to match incentive programs with company performance and culture is another reason I found joining this team attractive.
What question do you think is not discussed often enough between compensation consultants and compensation committees?
As someone who has written many CD&As for clients, I can tell you that you can have the best intentions in the world, but if you’re not explaining or communicating how the compensation program works, you’re opening yourself to potential criticism. I always want to go the extra mile to explain the who, what, where, why, when, and not leaving anything to chance. More specifically is the why—why are we doing this? That’s the one question that universally is often not asked and answered enough.
Changing course here—what did you learn about yourself during the pandemic?
I had always been someone that goes into the office, and I never saw myself working from home. I was the kid who basically had perfect attendance right through high school so at first, I had a hard time adjusting to the very idea of working from home and learning that I could do what I needed to do outside of the office environment. Another benefit for me was that I had hourlong commutes to and from the office. The ability to work from home has been a gargantuan benefit to me as a father and to our family.
What do you like to do when not working?
I mentioned my sons and they’re playing baseball, basketball, soccer, a little tennis, a little golf so I spend a lot of time on a ballfield or court. If I do have time for myself, I like to golf and have gotten myself down to a single-digit handicap. Believe it or not, I also grew up bowling. I’ve been bowling in a league with my dad 36 weeks out of every year for most of the last 20 years. All in all, I am just a quintessential suburban dad.