Time Warner Inc., said it has extended the employment contract of chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes three years, ensuring the industry veteran will remain at the helm of the content giant through 2020.
“The board of directors is delighted that Jeff has agreed to extend his employment agreement for another three years,” said Time Warner’s lead independent director Steve Bollenbach in a statement. “Since becoming CEO, Jeff has transformed the company to focus on video content, capitalized on the combined strength of Turner, HBO, and Warner Bros., and delivered consistently strong operating and financial performance.”
During the time Bewkes has served as CEO, Time Warner has delivered a total shareholder return of 162%, well ahead of both the S&P 500 and the average return of its media peers, the company said in a statement.
It was a volatile year for Time Warner and practically every other programmer, as concerns over skinny bundles and over-the-top distribution helped drive down stocks in the sector more than 10% for the year.
While Time Warner stock fell about 24% in 2015, Bewkes and his team managed to stay out in front of trends, launching HBO Now, a standalone OTT service in April. In November, Bewkes said the company would rethink the length of its subscription video on demand windows.
Time Warner said the extension would not change Bewkes compensation, which includes base salary, annual bonus and long-term equity incentives.
“Jeff has developed and is executing the right long-term strategy for our company in a changing media landscape: one that uses the scale of our film and television businesses not just to create compelling video content that appeals to an increasingly diverse, worldwide audience, but also to lead the industry in developing innovative ways of distributing that content to consumers on both traditional and emerging platforms,” Bollenbach continued. “We are very fortunate to have Jeff at the helm as we move forward with a strategy that positions Time Warner for sustainable success far into the future.”
Bewkes was named Chairman and CEO in 2009, a year after being named president and CEO of the company. He was President and COO from January 2006 to December 2007 and Chairman of the Entertainment and Networks group from July 2002 to December 2005. Before joining the corporate management of Time Warner, Bewkes served as Chairman and CEO of HBO from May 1995 to July 2002, and as President and COO of HBO from September 1991 to May 1995.