Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav led all of the industry compensation lists for 2014 with his eye-popping $156.1 million package — reflecting perks from a contract renewal. But while nobody will feel sorry for him, the $32.4 million he made in 2015 is the least he has made since 2009.
The package, disclosed today in a proxy filed at the SEC, consists of $3.1 million in salary, $11.3 million in stock awards, $10.5 million in option awards, $6.9 million in non-equity incentives and $592, 671 in other compensation. That last category includes $446,037 for personal use of aircraft, a $16,800 car allowance, $1,631 for his home office expenses, and $14,298 for personal security.
Discovery’s stock price declined 22.6% last year. Over the same period its net income fell 9.2% to $1.05 billion on revenues of $6.39 billion, up 2.1%.
In determining the CEO’s bonus, the board concluded that he had achieved 99.9% of his quantitative goals and 92% of the qualitative ones. But it awarded him 96% of the potential outlay “after application of the [Compensation] Committee’s downward discretion,” the proxy says.
The committee also says that it set goals for Zaslav “with a significant degree of stretch and has evaluated his achievement against the goals by requiring a significant degree of over-performance to meet the goal.”
Directors credited him for the company’s “overall strong performance” including “driving significant growth on our U.S. networks and investing in brand-defining content that led to viewership and ratings growth on our flagship Discovery Channel as well as the Investigation Discovery, Velocity, and OWN networks, securing affiliate sales growth, driving international growth, including through effective management of the Eurosport acquisition and acquiring the exclusive European television and multiplatform broadcast right to the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024.”
Discovery’s Compensation Committee is chaired by former Advance/Newhouse Communications chief Robert Miron. It also includes former Putnam Investments Managing Director Robert Beck and Allen & Co’s Paul Gould.
The annual meeting will take place on May 19 at Discovery’s offices in Silver Springs, MD. It likely will be a boring affair: There are no shareholder resolutions in the proxy. Liberty Media’s John Malone is Discovery’s biggest stock owner with 28.6% of the total votes.
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