New York (Nov. 6, 2003) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission approved new rules proposed by the NASDAQ aimed at strengthening corporate governance.

The changes to the Nasdaq rules include: strengthening the definition of who's considered an independent director; requiring that a majority of each issuer's board be comprised of independent directors; requiring that independent directors approve director nominations and executive officer compensation; and requiring independent directors to meet in executive sessions. The rules also strengthen audit committee standards, expand their responsibilities, and require the audit committee, or a comparable body, to review and approve all related-party transactions.

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