It’s easy to see why CBS chief Les Moonves is so cheery about the television business based on his compensation for 2016: He made a whopping $69.6 million, a 22.5% increase over 2015, according to the company proxy just filed at the SEC.
The package includes $3.5 million in salary, a $32 million bonus, $31.95 million in stock awards, $956,011 change in pension value and $1.15 million in other compensation. The last category includes $343,849 in transportation benefits and $537,945 in security.
The total does not include a newly granted bonus of stock worth $5 million that will be reported in next year’s proxy.
The increase follows a year in which CBS shares appreciated 35%.
Moonves benefited from a new contract, made in February 2016, that made him chairman as well as CEO. That included what CBS describes as “an additional equity-based performance incentive based on the Company’s stock price performance over the period beginning February 18, 2016, and ending June 30, 2019.”
Per usual, the board gave Moonves credit for just about everything that worked for the company last year.
The proxy notes that Sumner Redstone, who’s 93 and Chairman Emeritus, will not have a vote on the board after the annual meeting but will “have the opportunity to participate in meetings.” CBS paid him $1.1 million last year.
Redstone and his daughter, Shari — who’s Vice Chair of the board — control nearly 80% of the voting shares via their National Amusements theater chain.
The annual meeting will take place May 19 in New York. Shareholders will be able to offer an advisory vote on whether they approve of the compensation.
Candidates for the board include a surprising new name: Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. She’s the daughter of former FCC Chairman Newton Minow, who in 1961 famously ruffled broadcasters by describing TV programming as a “vast wasteland.” Her sister, Nell Minow, is a well-known corporate governance expert — and a frequent critic of extravagant compensation and lack of transparency.
Last year the advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services gave CBS its lowest score for its corporate governance.
Dean Minow’s “distinguished legal expertise on public policy issues will provide the Board with meaningful insight on matters relating to social and governance policies and corporate reputation,” the CBS proxy says.