Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch’s compensation totaled $29.15 million for the fiscal year ended in June, down sharply from $42.11 million the year before.
His dad, chairman Rupert Murdoch, took home $33.98 million, also below the $42.16 million for Fox’s fiscal 2019, according to a proxy statement filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The dip is due in part to the executives voluntarily agreeing to forgo 100% of their base salaries from May 1 through September 30, the proxy said. Neither exec took a bonus, and stock awards, while hefty, were significantly lower than the year before.
Executive pay was a hot-button issue last spring when most companies (that work on a calendar year ending in December) file proxies. These documents among other things report the annual compensation of the top five highest-paid execs. The pandemic was already in full force with many workers furloughed or laid off even as media CEOs recorded giant pay packages for 2019. Many top executives had by then agreed to forgo base salaries for all or part of 2020 or, in some cases, until the virus subsides.
Disney executive chairman Bob Iger agreed to relinquish 100% of his base salary, while at the time new CEO Bob Chapek took a 50% cut until the company foresees a substantive recovery in its business. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is donating his base salary to COVID-19 relief charities for the duration of the crisis.
In the case of the Murdochs, the duo received extremely hefty equity awards for fiscal 2019 with the sale of 21st Century Fox entertainment assets to Disney. Last year’s proxy, in fact, noted specifically that the figures aren’t “representative of the ongoing compensation established by the [new] company.”
Lachlan Murdoch’s package in in fiscal-year 2020 included a base salary of $2.5 million versus $3 million the year ago; stock awards of $8.8 million from $23 million; and option awards of $2.75 million from $4.9 million. His non-equity incentive plan compensation of $8.4 million — basically discretionary cash payments that are not related to stock performance — was up from $5.7 million.
His “change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings” was $5.7 million, up from $3.4 million.
Rupert Murdoch’s pay package broke down to a base salary of $4.2 million for the year, from $6.5 million the previous year; stock awards of $5.6 million; and option awards of $1.75 million. Non-equity incentive plan compensation was $8.5 million. Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings was $13.7 million.
In late April, Fox said its named executive officers – which also include COO John Nalan, chief legal and policy officer Viet Dihn and chief financial officer Steven Tomsic — voluntarily agreed to forgo 100% of their base salaries from May 1-September 30, 2020. Senior executives reporting directly the CEO agreed to forgo 50% of their base salaries. Fox said other executives at the vice president level and above volunteered to reduce their base salaries by 15%.
Fox said in today’s filing that it plans to hold its annual shareholders meeting November 12 at the Zanuck Theatre on the Fox Studio lot.