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Pay revealed for Time Warner, Discovery, Disney and Viacom execs

Discovery CEO David Zaslav is on the high end, with a $52.4-million compensation package last year. Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes pulls in half that amount.

April 03, 2012|By Ben Fritz and Meg James, Los Angeles Times
  • Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ 2011 compensation package was worth $25.9 million, down 1% from 2010.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ 2011 compensation package was worth… (Noah Berger, Bloomberg…)

Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes is indisputably among the nation's highest-paid executives, but compared with his fellow media moguls, he is eking out a meager living.

The New York media conglomerate that owns Warner Bros., HBO, TNT and Time magazine revealed Monday that Bewkes' 2011 compensation package was worth $25.9 million, down 1% from 2010.

David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery Communications Inc., meanwhile, got a 23% raise in 2011 to $52.4 million.

Other recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that, although there was some disparity, media chiefs again were richly rewarded. Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co., collected $31.4 million last year. Viacom Inc.'s Philippe Dauman received $43 million last year — considerably less than his eye-popping 2010 compensation of $84.5 million because of a one-time stock award that made him the highest-paid executive in corporate America that year.

Zaslav's overall pay could raise eyebrows because Discovery's two joint ventures, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and kids network HUB, stumbled out of the gate. However, a large portion of his compensation came from the vesting of stock options awarded in 2008, when Discovery's stock hovered around $15 a share. Discovery shares closed Monday at $50.99.

And Discovery's overall revenue grew 12% last year to $4.2 billion, and its net income from continuing operations jumped 75% to $1.1 billion.

Zaslav's base salary was nearly $3 million. His stock and option grants were valued at $44 million, according to the company's proxy filed late Friday.

According to Discovery's filings, its other highly paid executives included founder and Chairman John Hendricks, who received a package valued at $8.9 million; Chief Financial Officer Bradley E. Singer, who received compensation worth $4.2 million; and Mark G. Hollinger, president of Discovery Networks International, whose compensation topped $5.5 million. Former Chief Operating Officer Peter Liguori, who left Discovery at the end of the year, received a $4.8-million package.

Bewkes' compensation, meanwhile, dropped slightly because Time Warner "did not surpass [its] financial targets by as great an amount as it did in 2010," according to an SEC filing. As a result, the CEO's bonus shrank to $13.5 million, from $14.4 million in 2010. His salary remained constant at $2 million, and the value of stock and options awarded to him was up slightly at $10.1 million.

Bewkes was the only Time Warner top executive to take a pay cut. Chief Financial and Administrative Officer John K. Martin's compensation grew 13% to $11.5 million; general counsel Paul Cappuccio got a nearly 20% raise to $7.4 million; and Gary Ginsberg, executive vice president of corporate marketing and communications, received a 6% bump to $3.8 million.

The compensation committee of Time Warner's board of directors justified the increases based on a strong financial performance in 2011 that saw the company's revenue grow 8%, to $29 billion, and its operating income increase 7%, to $5.8 billion.

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