Greg Maffei was greatly rewarded for burning the candle at both ends in 2012.
The CEO of Liberty Media and Liberty Interactive netted more than $102.5 million in total compensation in 2012 for those jobs, according to proxy statements filed late Friday, more than 15 times the combined $6.5 million he scooped up in 2011 and making him the highest paid public company executive in the country.
Maffei’s total pay package makes him by far the highest paid media executive in 2012, far outpacing CBS CEO Les Moonves’ $62.2 million in total compensation. The total also far outpaces the $87.5 million Maffei took home in 2009 as CEO of just one company (Liberty Media), the last time he was the highest paid public company executive in the country.
Maffei’s combined $102.5 million in compensation in 2012 edges out Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s $101 million in total compensation and Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison, who raked in a measly $96.2 million in 2012.
According to proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 19, Maffei received $57.2 million in total compensation in 2012 from Liberty Media, which was spun off into Starz in January. He also received $45.3 million in total compensation from Liberty Interactive, the parent of home shopping channel QVC and several other interactive investments. Maffei had received $3.3 million in total compensation from Liberty Media and $3.2 million from Liberty Interactive in 2011.
Tax issues appear to be the main reason for the huge increases. According to the Liberty Media proxy, the media giant modified its stock option program in 2012 under the belief that the corporate tax rate would decline in 2013 and beyond amid fiscal cliff concerns.
“As a result, we sought to realize the compensation deduction in respect of the affected incentive awards at a potentially higher corporate tax rate than if such deduction were realized in later years,” Liberty Media said in its proxy, adding that the option modification program will allow Liberty Media to record deductions for compensation expenses of $358 million in 2012. Liberty Interactive recorded $242 million in compensation expenses deductions in 2012, according to its proxy.
The bulk of Maffei’s increase was in the form of option awards – he received $53.9 million from Liberty Media in 2012 and $41.7 million from Liberty Interactive in 2012. He received no option awards from either company in 2011.
Maffei wasn’t the only Liberty executive to get a big boost in compensation. Executive vice president of Liberty Interactive and Liberty Media Charles Tanabe received a combined $12.7 million in compensation in 2012 ($7.9 million from Liberty Media and $4.8 million from Liberty Interactive) up from the combined $2.2 million he received in 2011. Senior vice president of Liberty Media and Liberty Interactive Albert Rosenthaler received a total of $7.2 million (up from $1.6 million in 2011) and senior vice president and chief financial officer of Liberty Media and Liberty Interactive Christopher Shean received $7.9 million in total compensation from both companies, up from $1.5 million in 2011. The bulk of those increases were due to option award gains.