Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel’s 2021 compensation reached $308.2 million, at least on paper, thanks to the company’s initial public offering last April.
In part of a set of SEC filings released Wednesday evening as the company reported fourth-quarter financial results, Endeavor said the “recognized compensation” was actually $67.5 million.
The scale of Emanuel’s potential pay landed a few days after a disclosure of a similarly eye-popping figure for Discovery CEO David Zaslav. The exec, who has been steering the company toward the close of a $43 billion merger with WarnerMedia, was paid $246.6 million, including a massive stock award. Emanuel’s haul, if achieved, would place him at the high end of media and even across all of corporate America, along with Zaslav. Not all companies have finished reporting executive compensation for last year.
Endeavor executive chairman Patrick Whitesell’s total compensation was $123.1 million, though the same caveats apply as with Emanuel. Most of his pay is tied to post-IPO stock performance, and his recognized compensation was $11 million.
The company’s shares rose 7% today, closing at $29.80. While the stock hit an all-time high above $35 last December, it has mostly traded in the $27-$29 range since the IPO.
Emanuel and Whitesell each earned a base salary of $4 million and Emanuel’s annual bonus was $6 million. The vast majority of both execs’ pay is in stock, with awards pegged to certain milestones reached by the shares.
In the filing, Endeavor said it intends to “provide for meaningful alignment between the compensation for our named executive officers and value for our stockholders.” In support of that effort, it added, “a substantial portion of the pay delivered to named executive officers is at-risk and is in the form of annual cash incentive bonuses, stock options and restricted stock units. In particular, our CEO and Executive Chairman received certain one-time performance-vesting restricted stock unit awards” tied to the IPO and execs’ long-term employment.
“While such awards could result in substantial compensation to our executives, we believe they further align our CEO and Executive Chairman with our shareholders’ interests,” the filing added.
The filing sets out a series of milestones tied to stock performance, explaining, “We believe such performance metrics, together with the continued service requirement thereafter, are appropriate to drive management while remaining at challenging levels to assure proper alignment between pay and performance.”
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