Bob Bakish, a longtime international exec at Viacom who moved up to CEO in December 2016, made $20.3M in salary and bonus money in fiscal 2017, the company disclosed today in a proxy filing with the SEC.
In a residue of the pre-Bakish era, when ousted CEO Philippe Dauman was among the highest-paid CEOs in America, the statement showed that former COO and interim CEO Tom Dooley took home $53.6M in severance pay.
The other key element in the Viacom proxy was the revelation that Ken Lerer, chairman of BuzzFeed and an influential media and tech player, will not continue on the Viacom board. The other nine board members have been re-nominated by the company to continue.
Shareholders will have their annual meeting March 8 in New York, according to the filing.
Bakish has applied a more low-key management hand than those of his predecessors as Viacom enters a critical phase in its comeback effort. As it regroups, the company also has been mentioned in a spate of reports of M&A conversations as media players look to scale up to keep pace with growing peers like Disney. Shari Redstone, who leads controlling shareholder National Amusements, has explored anew coming back together with CBS, two years after the companies abandoned merger talks.
Deadline has reported that Viacom is among the companies linked to the fate of Lionsgate, which has also been in active conversations with multiple entities. The company’s stock shed another 2% today to finish at $33.36. It has surrendered more than 20% of its value over the past year as investors fret over cable network ratings erosion, cord-cutting and the turnaround challenge ahead at Paramount Pictures.
As to Lerer, the company said in a statement, “Mr. Lerer joined Viacom’s board in 2016 and helped guide the company through the transition to the new management team. We thank him for his many contributions.”