CBS Chief’s 2017 Compensation Steady at $69M

Other execs take small cuts
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CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves, currently at odds with his biggest shareholder over the pending merger with former corporate sister Viacom, kept his compensation relatively steady in 2017, raking in $69.3 million in salary, bonus and other awards for the year.

Moonves’s haul was about the same as the prior year, when he brought in $69.6 million. For 2017, the broadcast chief’s base salary was steady at $3.5 million. And though his annual bonus was much lighter in 2017 at $20 million – he received a $32 million bonus in 2016 – he more than made up for it in stock awards. According to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday, Moonves received $43.7 million in stock awards in 2017, compared to $31.9 million in 2016.

CBS chief Les Moonves

Moonves and CBS are reportedly in negotiations to merge with Viacom, and CBS has submitted a proposal that valued the cable programmer at below its current stock price while placing CBS management in all of the top positions at the combined company. That has reportedly miffed Viacom execs as well as CBS and Viacom vice chair Shari Redstone, whose family controls 80% of the vote of both companies and who has been a big backer of Viacom CEO Bob Bakish. Viacom was expected to make a counter offer to the CBS proposal, and negotiations were expected to continue.

Chief operating officer Joseph Ianniello, who Moonves has reportedly picked to be his No. 2 at the combined company, saw his total compensation reduced by about 24% to $22.1 million in 2017 from $29 million in 2016, mainly due to loser stock awards. Ianniello received about $4.2 million in stock awards in 2017, compared to $10.7 million in 2016.

Other executives ended up with about the same packages as the previous year. Senior executive vice president and chief legal officer Lawrence Tu netted total compensation of $8.1 million in 2017, compared to $8.5 million the previous year. And senior executive vice president, chief administrative officer and chief human resources officer Anthony Ambrosio received $5.7 million in 2017 compensation, slightly higher than the $5.3 million he received in 2016. Senior executive vice president and chief communications officer Gil Schwartz received $4.7 million in total compensation in 2017, down from the $5.1 million he received in 2016.

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