“The Board of Directors is delighted that Jeff has agreed to extend his employment agreement for another three years,” said Steve Bollenbach, the company’s Lead Independent Director. “Since becoming CEO, Jeff has transformed the company to focus on video content, capitalized on the combined strength of Turner, HBO, and Warner Bros., and delivered consistently strong operating and financial performance.”
Bewkes has been TW’s Chairman and CEO since 2009 and signed his previous contract in late 2012. The new deal does not change his compensation, which consists of base salary, annual bonus, and long-term equity incentives. He made $32.9M in 2014, up 1.2% from the previous year.
Time Warner said it has delivered a total shareholder return of 162% during his tenure as CEO — ahead of the S&P 500 and the average return of rival media firms.
But TW kicked off a broad retreat from pay TV network stocks in early November after it cut its earnings forecast, citing new investments and short-term concerns about subscriber losses. Later that day, Bewkes rattled the market in a conference call to discuss Q3 earnings, saying he expects next year’s adjusted earnings to reach about $5.25 per share — down from the company’s earlier forecast of around $6. Execs also don’t expect to exceed $8 in 2018.
Today CFO Howard Averill told an investor gathering that Time Warner beat the guidance it offered for its 2015 adjusted earnings per share. That contributed to a 2.3% rise in the company’s stock price.
Bewkes remains one of the industry’s biggest cheerleaders for the cable and satellite programming bundle. But he said at last month’s UBS Global Media and Communications Conference that distributors could do a better job of offering on-demand programming and more interesting user interfaces as consumers become intrigued by digital alternatives. “It’s a very exciting time for a media company,” Bewkes said. “The future is in the hands of the media industry if they make the right decisions.” At the same event, he likened on-demand to a volume control on a TV set. “If you like volume on your television, you should demand on-demand,” he said. “That’s how it should work.”
Before moving up to his current post more than six years ago, Bewkes had held various executive posts since 2002. He was Chairman and CEO of HBO from May 1995 to July 2002 and before that was President and COO of HBO starting in September 1991.