Quick, name the highest paid executive at News Corporation. If you said Rupert Murdoch, you lose. He’s the boss, of course, but he is so intent on keeping #2 Peter Chernin on board that he pays him more. That’s been the case for many years. In fact, the compensation committee of the board of directors narrowed the gap this time around, boosting Murdoch’s paycheck "for purposes of pay parity." According to the proxy filed for the company’s annual shareholders meeting, Chairman & CEO Murdoch received total compensation of 32.1 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. That was mostly cash, with only a little over one million in stock added to his already huge holdings of News Corp. shares. Meanwhile, President & COO Chernin got a total just shy of 34 million, which included nearly 13 million worth of stock and an additional 1.2 million of stock options, as valued via the Black-Scholes option pricing method. Both Murdoch and Chernin, by the way, have the same base salary, 8.1 million.
Readers of RBR/TVBR will no doubt also be interested in the paycheck of Roger Ailes, who clearly deserves some sort of award for having the most titles: Chairman & CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network and Chairman of Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television. His bonuses and stock awards more than doubled his base salary of five million, for a total of 10.9 million.
RBR/TVBR observation: There are a few big corporate honchos who don’t get any salary at all, but rather have themselves totally aligned with the interests of their shareholders by banking solely on increasing the value of their equity stake. For example, Jerry Perenchio never took a paycheck from Univision. And Jeff Smulyan is currently working for a buck a year as he tries to get Emmis back on track. We think it is quite clever, though, for Rupert Murdoch to take a full executive salary, but then see to it that Peter Chernin gets more. That leaves absolutely no doubt just how highly valued Chernin is.