That may raise some eyebrows among DirecTV shareholders who will also vote on whether to require the company to split the chairman and CEO jobs — Michael White currently holds both titles — when they meet on May 2 in New York. White’s big raise came in a year when DirecTV shares appreciated 17.3%. His package includes $1.6M in salary, $12.0M in option awards, $4.0M in non-equity incentives, $163,421 in deferred compensation, and $323,957 in other compensation. The $18M award is about 3.1 times the median compensation for DirecTV’s four other top execs. That’s just over the threshold that corporate governance watchdogs say raises alarms that the chief has too much power. It also is a big change from last year when White’s compensation was just 1.2 times bigger than the rest of the pack, well within the comfort zone. The AFL-CIO Reserve Fund submitted this year’s proposal to require that DirecTV pick an independent director to be chairman, saying that when the CEO has the job it “may hinder the ability of the Board to monitor the CEO’s performance and to provide the CEO with objective feedback and guidance.” DirecTV urges shareholders to reject the change saying that the current arrangement “promotes decisive leadership, ensures clear accountability and enhances the Company’s ability to communicate with a single and consistent voice to all stakeholders.”
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