And we have a winner in the contest to see who was Big Media’s highest paid CEO in 2012. CBS‘ Les Moonves‘ package was down from 2011, but still handily beat Discovery Communication‘s David Zaslav (at $49.9M) and Disney‘s Bob Iger (at $40.2M). Moonves made $3.5M salary, $27.5M bonus, $11.5M stock awards, $16.3M option awards, $1.9M change in pension value, and $1.4M in other compensation. The “other” category includes $660,247 in transportation related benefits and $583,808 for security, according to the proxy just filed at the SEC. Moonves’ take was 5.4 times higher than the median for CBS’s four other highest paid execs — including Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone who made $31.3M, +54.4%. [His combined compensation from CBS and Viacom came to $51.7M, +25.3%] The disparity will return Moonves to our out-of-whack pay list; corporate governance watchdogs say it’s a sign that a CEO is too powerful when his or her pay is more than 3 times the median for others in the C-suite. The board says that in determining Moonves’ salary it considered his “stature as one of the most influential leaders in the entertainment industry, his tenure as a Company executive since 1995, and his performance…including in connection with the creation of premium content across the Company’s portfolio of businesses.” CBS shares appreciated 35.8% in 2012.
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