News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch received a 47% pay hike in fiscal 2011, raking in $33.3 million for the period ended June 30.
In addition, News said that directors Kenneth Cowley and Thomas Perkins have stepped down and that venture capitalist and Accel Partners executive James Breyer has been nominated to the board. No reason was given for Cowley's and Perkins' departure, which will become effective at News Corp.'s annual meeting of shareholders, scheduled for Oct. 21 in Los Angeles.
The increases come on the heels of one of the most difficult periods in News Corp.'s storied history. In July, the media giant was rocked by new revelations in a phone hacking scandal that resulted in the closing of its British tabloidNews of the World.
The ensuing controversy resulted in Murdoch and his son James, who claimed no prior knowledge of the practice, testifying before British Parliament and launching an investigation into reporting practices at its other newspapers around the world. News also had to drop its bid to acquire its remaining interest in U.K. satellite TV giant British Sky Broadcasting.
According to a proxy statement filed Sept. 2, Murdoch received total compensation of $33.3 million in fiscal 2011, a 47% increase from the $22.7 million he received in the prior fiscal year. Murdoch's base salary of $8.1 million remained the same, but the media mogul's stock compensation nearly doubled from $4.1 million in fiscal 2010 to $8.5 million in fiscal 2011. He also received a $12. 5 million bonus in fiscal 2011, after receiving no bonus award in fiscal 2010 or 2009.
Other News Corp. executives got even bigger increases. Chief financial officer David DeVoe more than doubled his total haul in fiscal 2011 to $18.2 million from $7.1 million in fiscal 2010. Murdoch's son and deputy chief operating officer and chairman and CEO International James Murdoch later Friday turned down a $6 million bonus he was awarded for the year, dropping his fiscal 2011 take to about $11.9 million, or 15.5% above the $10.3 million he earned in fiscal 2010. If he had accepted the bonus, his compensation would have increased 74% for the year to $17.9 million.
In a statement, James Murdoch said that although his bonus was awarded based on financial metrics, he felt that in light of the controversy surrounding the News of the World scandal turning down the award "is the right thing to do."
Chief operating officer Chase Carey received a more modest increase for the year - 15.8% to $30.2 million from $26 million in fiscal 2010. Rounding out the top executives, Fox News Channel ad Fox Business Network chairman and CEO and Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television chairman Roger Ailes received $15.6 million in total compensation for fiscal 2011, an 11.4% increase from the $14 million he received in the previous year.