Jason Kilar, the CEO of WarnerMedia, earned a total of more than $52 million in 2020 according to an SEC proxy filing Thursday by parent AT&T.
Kilar’s package was swelled by a large stock award worth over $49.2 million. His base salary was $1.6 million.
Kilar joined WarnerMedia in 2020 as the company launched HBO Max and began a pivot to streaming and massive reorganization of its entertainment business. In discussing his compensation, the proxy noted “that the Board sought the best talent available to lead WarnerMedia, and Mr. Kilar, with his experience at Hulu and Amazon, among other companies, brings a broad range of expertise in managing a media business.”
“As CEO of WarnerMedia, Mr. Kilar was charged with overseeing a reorganization to realize synergies and help WarnerMedia operate more nimbly in the current media landscape. He also led the successful launch of AT&T’s HBO Max streaming platform, a key element of AT&T’s software-based entertainment strategy,” the proxy said.
Under the terms of his contract, Kilar’s total annual compensation is targeted at $17 million. That’s a base salary and bonus of $2.5 million each, plus $12 million in grants of restricted stock units. (That reflects the vesting over four years of the stock awarded for 2002).
AT&T CEO John Stankey closed the year with a total package worth $21 million, down slightly from $22.5 million the year before. His base salary was just over $2 million, plus $13.5 million in stock awards and $3.25 in non-equity incentive plan compensation — like a cash bonus.
Stankey, formerly COO of AT&T, was promoted to chief executive in July. He replaced Randall Stephenson, who took the title of executive chairman and walked away with a total 2020 pay package of $29 million, versus $32 million the year before.
AT&T’s outgoing CFO John Stephens earned $19 million, flat from 2019.
Proxies, which start rolling out in early spring for companies with a calendar year end, detail the salaries of a public company’s top five highest paid executives.
Entertainment executives are particularly high grossing and that trend continues despite a 2020 marked by layoffs, furloughs and widespread disruption in the industry, and the fact that a number of CEOs voluntarily relinquished some pay when the pandemic took hold.
Of the proxies out so far, AMC Entertainment awarded CEO Adam Aron a $21 million package for 2020, more than double the year before, on a $14 million stock award and a $5 million bonus for helping steer the company through the pandemic. Yesterday AMC reported at net loss of $4.6 billion for the year.
Walt Disney executive chairman Bob Iger earned $21 million for its fiscal 2020 that ended in September. CEO Bob Chapek earned $14 million.
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