AUDIT COMMITTEE CHARTER
Pursuant to Section 48-18-206 of the Tennessee Business Corporation Act, and subject to the specific provisions of the corporation’s Bylaws, the Board of Directors (the "Board") of CBRL Group, Inc. (the "Company") may create one or more committees and each committee may consist of one or more members. All members of committees of the Board of Directors which exercise the powers of the Board must be members of the Board, and they serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors.
There shall be a committee of the Board known as the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee shall consist of not less than 3 directors all of whom are "independent." In order to be considered independent, a member of the Audit Committee may not accept any consulting, advisory, or other compensatory fee from the Company, may not be affiliated with the Company or any subsidiary, and must meet the "independence" definition set forth by the stock exchange on which the Company’s stock is traded. All members of the Audit Committee shall be able to read and understand fundamental financial statements at the time of their appointment, and at least one member of the Audit Committee shall possess accounting or related financial management experience or professional expertise and shall be designated the "audit committee financial expert," in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") regulations. The Board shall appoint the Audit Committee members and its Chairperson, on recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and the Board shall review the appointments annually. The Audit Committee shall operate in accordance with the Bylaws of the Company.
3.01 Oversight and Liaison. The Audit Committee shall engage in oversight of the Company’s financial reporting and internal controls. The Audit Committee acts as the Board’s liaison with the Company’s outside auditors in order to assist Board oversight of: (a) the integrity of the Company’s financial statements, (b) the Company’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, (c) the qualifications, independence, and performance of independent accountants, and (d) the performance and direction of the Company’s internal audit function. In discharging its responsibilities, the Audit Committee shall have direct access to the Company’s financial, legal and other advisors and staff. The Audit Committee shall also maintain open communications among the Board, the Company’s independent and internal auditors, and Company management.
3.02 Limited Scope. This Charter is not intended to, and it does not, impose on the Audit Committee any duties other than those required by applicable law and regulations and applicable stock exchange rules. Absent such specific rules, it is not the Audit Committee’s role or duty to conduct audits, or to otherwise act in the role of independent auditors.
The Audit Committee has the authority to gather any information appropriate in fulfilling its responsibilities, and it has direct access to the independent auditors as well as all Company personnel. The Audit Committee is responsible for the appointment, retention, compensation, evaluation and termination of the Company’s independent auditors. The Audit Committee also has the power and authority to engage, as the Audit Committee considers necessary in the performance of its duties, and at the Company’s expense, legal counsel or other consultants, experts or advisors to assist the Committee and to conduct independent investigations.
The Audit Committee shall meet at least 5 times annually, or more frequently when appropriate or necessary. The Committee Chairperson shall prepare or approve an agenda in advance of each meeting. The Audit Committee will also periodically meet separately with management, with internal auditors and with independent auditors. In addition, the Audit Committee should communicate with management and the independent auditors quarterly to discuss the Company’ s financial statements and any significant findings based upon the auditors’ limited review procedures.
6. AUDIT COMMITTEE RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES
When appropriate, the Audit Committee will, without limitation to the listed matters, engage in the following activities:
a. Review Procedures
(1) Submit the Charter to the Board of Directors for approval, and review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter at least annually. Include the Charter as an appendix to the Company’s proxy statement at least every 3 years, in accordance with applicable SEC rules.
(2) Review the Company’s annual audited financial statements and discuss with management and the independent auditors all significant issues regarding accounting principles, practices and judgments, prior to filing or distribution of those statements. Specifically, review the results of each audit, including the independent auditors’ opinion, any related management letter, management’s responses to recommendations made by the independent auditors in connection with the audit, reports submitted to the Committee by the internal audit department that are material to the Company as a whole, and management’s responses to the those reports. Recommend to the Board of Directors whether or not the audited financial statements should be included in the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K.
(3) Require the independent auditors to perform timely reviews of the Company’s quarterly financial results prior to the release of earnings, and discuss the Company’s annual and quarterly financial statements with management and the independent auditors prior to filing or distribution.
(4) Consider the independent auditors’ judgments about the quality and appropriateness of the Company’s accounting principles as applied in its financial reporting, and discuss any significant changes to the Company’s accounting principles and any items required to be communicated by the independent auditors in accordance with Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61.
(5) Review, through the independent auditors, periodic filings with the SEC; specifically, review Management’s Discussion and Analysis before publication in the annual and quarterly reports, and review the Statement of Management’s Responsibility for Financial Statements, and the required CEO and CFO certifications, as signed by senior management and included in any published document.
b. Independent Auditors
(1) The independent auditors are ultimately accountable to the Audit Committee and the Board of Directors. The Audit Committee, or a designated member of the Audit Committee, shall pre-approve all auditing services and non-audit services as set forth in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Audit Committee shall insure that the independent auditors provide only services that are permitted by applicable law, regulations or the rules of the stock exchange that lists the Company’s capital stock. The Audit Committee shall review and approve the terms of engagement and the fees and other significant compensation to be paid to the independent auditors. The Audit Committee shall also review the independence and performance of the auditors and annually approve the appointment of the independent auditors, or approve any discharge of auditors.
(2) On an annual basis, the Audit Committee should review and discuss with the independent auditors the written independence disclosures required by Independence Standards Board Statement No. 1 and the auditors’ independence, including all significant relationships they have with the Company that could impair their independence.
(3) Meet with the independent auditors and financial management of the Company during the planning of each annual audit to review the audit plan and to discuss the scope of the audit, staffing, locations, reliance upon management, and the internal and general audit procedures to be used, and accounting principles and practices to be followed when preparing the Company’s financial statements.
(4) Periodically, or when necessary or appropriate, meet with the internal and independent auditors without members of management present. Among the items to be discussed in these meetings are the independent auditors’ evaluation of the Company’s financial, accounting, and auditing personnel, and the cooperation that the independent auditors received during the course of the audit.
(5) In consultation with the Company’s independent auditors and the senior internal audit executive, review and consider the adequacy and effectiveness of the Company’s internal accounting and financial controls in order to ensure that these controls are designed to provide reasonable assurance that the Company’s publicly reported financial statements are presented fairly and in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. Particular emphasis should be given to the adequacy of internal controls to expose any payments, transactions, or procedures that might be deemed illegal or otherwise improper.
(6) Review with the independent auditor any audit problems or difficulties with management’s response to those problems or difficulties.
(7) Ensure that Company hiring policies with respect to employees or former employees (or their relatives) of the independent auditors comply with applicable rules designed to avoid conflicts of interest.
c. Internal Audit and Legal Compliance
(1) Review the appointment, performance and termination or replacement of the Company’s senior internal audit executive.
(2) Review the internal audit function of the Company, including the independence and authority of its participants and their reporting obligations, the proposed internal audit plans for the coming year, and the coordination of those plans with the external audit.
(3) Receive, at least annually, a summary of findings from completed internal audits and an internal audit progress report, with explanations for any deviations from the original plan, and review significant reports prepared by the internal audit department, together with management’s responses and follow-up to the reports.
(4) Whenever appropriate, at least annually, review with the Company’s legal counsel any inquiries received from regulators or governmental agencies and any legal matters or proceedings that could have a significant impact on the Company’s financial statements or its compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
d. Other Duties
(1) Report annually through the Board to the shareholders, in the Company’s annual proxy statement, the existence of the Audit Committee, the responsibilities assigned to it by the Board, the independence of its members and the manner in which the Committee has fulfilled its duties, as required by the SEC.
(2) Review and pre-approve directors’ and officers’ related-party transactions, and annually review a summary of directors’ and officers’ related- party transactions and potential conflicts of interest, and review policies and procedures, as well as any specific audit results, associated with directors’ and officers’ expense accounts and perquisites.
(3) Review the procedures established to monitor compliance by the Company with any loan and indenture covenants and restrictions.
(4) Maintain minutes of meetings and periodically report to the Board of Directors on significant Audit Committee activities.
(5) Establish procedures for the receipt, retention, and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters, and establish procedures for confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the Company of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
(6) Review earnings press releases before such information is released.
(7) Review policies with respect to risk assessment and risk management.
(8) Report regularly to the Board of Directors.
7. EFFECTIVE DATE AND CHARTER AMENDMENTS
This Charter is effective as of the date it is adopted by the Board, and it will remain in effect until modified, superseded or cancelled by appropriate Board action. This Charter may be amended at any time by the Board in accordance with the Charter and Bylaws of the Company and applicable law.