Proxy season is upon us as ViacomCBS said Friday that former CBS CEO Joe Ianniello earned $125 million for 2019, according to its annual filing with the SEC. He left the newly merged company in January.
The figure includes $84 million for changes in his employment agreements with the company last year.
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ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish earned $8.4 million. That included a base salary of $230,769, a bonus of $3.1 million and stock awards totalling close to $5 million. His annual target compensation – which can change – going forward is about $31.5 million, including $3.1 million in base salary, a $12.4 million bonus and stock grants worth $16 million.
Ianiello’s base salary was $2.8 million plus stock awards for $37 million and that “other” compensation of $84 million. For 2018, he earned $27.4 million. He became acting CEO of CBS after Les Moonves left in September of 2018.
As executive pay numbers for 2019 start to arrive, they will be hitting a very unusal time where chief executives and upper management have recently been foregoing or slashing salaries (Bob Iger and Bob Chapek at Walt Disney) in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic or donating them to charities (Brian Roberts of Comcast). The sudden, steep loss of revenue has resulting in companies laying off or furloughing thousands of workers.
The $84 million paid Ianiello was for additional payments to Ianniello, relating in part to a signing bonus in April of 2019, when he became CBS CEO (no longer acting) and a termination agreement included in his contract when it was amended again later last year. In December, he was named CEO of CBS Entertainment within the merged company with a contract that ran through March of 2021. But he left the next month as ViacomCBS hired George Cheeks for the job.
The proxy statement was filed ahead of the annual meeting of shareholders to be held in May, which ViacomCBS said may become a virtual event given uncertainties created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Proxies list the salaries of the top five highest paid executive officers of a company. ViacomCBS’ situation is more complicated since it only became a single entity in December so it listed two sets of executives.
For ViacomCBS other executive officers listed were CFO Christina Spade ($9.4 million), Richard Jones, EVP and general tax counsel ($3.2 million) and Nancy Phillips, EVP and chief people officer ($3.1 million).
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