Our main story in this series showed how generous the boards of the seven dominant Big Media companies were in paying their CEOs in 2014. But the list below shows that this extravagance was widespread. Boards ladled out far more to their top executives in 2014 than they did in 2013, according to SEC filings from the universe of companies we track most closely.
The number of officers listed in the reports who made at least $10 million increased to 44 from 30. The total in their packages came to $1.11 billion, up from $314.7 million. The top 30 in 2014 accounted for $969.1 million.
Here’s some context for the list:
We looked at the latest compensation figures that companies disclosed for the fiscal year that ended in 2014. Some of the numbers include one-time contributions — often a bonus that’s part of a new contract — or stock that vests over several years. You can make a case that they shouldn’t be included. To keep the playing field level, we stuck with the numbers that comply with the SEC’s reporting requirements that apply to all companies.
Some of the changes reflect the rising or falling value of stock holdings. To help with that, and add perspective, we added figures showing how the executive’s company’s stock performed in its fiscal year. We used data from Yahoo Finance that adjust for dividend payments and stock splits. In addition, we note how much the dividend-paying companies allocated for each share, and how much that changed in the fiscal year.
One more thing. We combined the pay figures for three executives who collect from two companies: Sumner Redstone (Viacom and CBS), James Dolan (Cablevision and MSG), and Charles Dolan (Cablevision and AMC Networks). James Dolan’s total does not include the $7.4 million paid to his wife, Kristin, who’s Cablevision’s COO. If we had included News Corp — the publishing company split off from Fox in 2013 — then it would have added $8.7 million to Rupert Murdoch, raising his total to $37.9 million.
Click on the chart to enlarge.