In the 14 months that Mary Berner has led Cumulus Media as President/CEO, the highly leveraged owner of radio stations has regained its footing — and new-found respect — among industry professionals both inside and outside the Atlanta-based company.
Upon her arrival, Cumulus shares were in a free-fall, dipping from $4.35 on Feb. 18., 2015, to just 20 cents nine months to the day later.
Despite continued challenges with bondholders and a disappointing low stock price of $1.06, following a 1-for-8 reverse stock split in mid-October, Berner has won accolades for noticeable improvements at key stations such as Rocker KLOS-FM 95.5 in Los Angeles.
It is because of these efforts that the compensation committee of Cumulus’ board of directors on Jan. 11 approved a “one-time discretionary cash incentive compensation award” — a.k.a. bonus — to Berner.
How much is she pocketing, pre-tax?
In an 8-K filing made with the FCC on Friday (1/13), Cumulus cited Berner’s “exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.”
The bonus, Cumulus notes, was made in lieu of any award to which Berner might have been entitled under its annual incentive plan for 2016.
As a result, no payments will be made to her under the incentive plan for 2016.
The big bonus came on the same day that the nation’s No. 2 radio owner by number of stations extended — for a second time — the expiration date and early tender date for its previously announced private exchange offer for its 7.75% Senior Notes due 2019.
Asked for an explanation as to the second extension, a Cumulus spokesperson said, “The company thought it in the best interest of effectuating the transaction to extend.”