Tom Rutledge, the longtime cable TV executive who has led Charter Communications as CEO since 2012, made $7.8 million in total compensation in 2017, a sharp drop from his $98.5M haul in 2016.
According to the company’s annual proxy statement filed with the SEC, a base salary of $2M was heavily supplemented by a $5.5M bonus and a few other small payments. In 2016, Rutledge reaped special benefits from a five-year contract extension and option awards valued at nearly $78 million that came with that deal.
In the proxy, Charter announced its annual shareholder meeting will be held April 25 in Greenwood Village, Colo. A half-dozen shareholder proposals are listed in the proxy statement, including one to separate Rutledge’s role as CEO from his role as board chairman. The company urged a “no” vote on that proposal. “Our board of directors values the flexibility of selecting the structure of leadership best suited to meet the needs of the company and its stockholders,” the company said. “Given the dynamic and competitive environment in which we operate, the board believes that the right leadership structure may vary as circumstances warrant.
Following some dramatic chess moves, chiefly the acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House, Charter has had a steadier run as the No. 2 U.S. cable operator. While there are still rumors about potential M&A opportunities, it has focused in recent months on integrating the acquired systems into its legacy footprint and on buying back stock. While shares have moved sideways of late, during Rutledge’s tenure they have more than tripled to their current level of $339.55.
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