Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen’s 2020 Pay Surged To $95 Million On Massive Stock Option Grant

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Dish chairman Charlie Ergen saw his total compensation swell to nearly $95 million last year on a massive option award grant of nearly $92 million. His base salary was only $888,462.

The package compares with pay of $2.36 million last year, with a base salary of $1 million, the satellite broadcaster said in a year-end proxy filing with the SEC.

The company noted that top execs took base salary reductions due to the pandemic from June 1 through November 28.

The option amounts reflect grant date fair values – meaning they don’t necessarily “reflect the amount of compensation actually realized or that may be realized.” However, they are pretty hefty.

Last week, AT&T reported that Jason Kilar, the CEO of WarnerMedia, earned a total of more than $52 million last year, swelled by a large stock award worth over $49.2 million. His base salary was $1.6 million. He joined the company in May and was its highest paid executive last year although other top execs earned tens of million of dollars.

Public companies list the salaries of their five highest paid executives in proxies filed each spring for the previous year. The current numbers follow a 2020 devastated by Covid-19 with mass layoffs, furloughs and disruptions across media and entertainment, whose executives are know for being particularly well compensated. Ergen has not usually been among the highest paid.

Other companies filing so far include AMC Entertainment, which 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.

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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