Charlie Ergen, the outspoken head of Dish who relinquished his CEO title in December to focus on the company’s wireless efforts, made $2.4 million in total compensation in 2017, according to an SEC filing.
The company’s annual proxy statement filed with the SEC said he made $2,446,443 in total. While that tally is very modest by media-mogul standards, it represented a 48% increase over his 2016 compensation. Ergen remains chairman of the satellite provider but passed the CEO title to company veteran Erik Carlson in order to focus on the company’s entry into the wireless space.
Long known for being a free thinker and even freer speaker, Ergen has factored into the AT&T-Department of Justice lawsuit this week in Washington even without personally attending the trial. Under cross-examination by AT&T lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, according to multiple media reports, Sling TV group president Warren Schlichting was presented with a string of statements by Ergen about carriage disputes with Turner. One of the government’s core theories in the case is that AT&T, after merging with Turner parent Time Warner, could use its assets to punish rivals and consumers, withholding programming from other distributors.
Schlichting told a DOJ lawyer on Monday that such a scenario would see Sling TV face “severe bleeding” and mused at one point, “Imagine going into mid-term elections without CNN” due to a carriage fight. Petrocelli, though, presented a series of statements by Ergen. During an investor conference call in 2014, the Dish boss called a blackout with Turner (whose networks include CNN) a “non-event.” He said Turner networks would be “one of the easier ones to take down.” While Schlichting conceded that Ergen was being truthful when he said that, he also said of the aggressive rhetoric, “Charlie’s Charlie,” according to reports of his testimony.