Disney Adjusts CEO Bob Iger’s Pay Down to $47.5 Million

Chief executive of Disney, Bob Iger, received $47.5 million in compensation in 2019. Now, that might sound like a lot of money—and it is, under normal circumstances—but it was actually 28 percent less than what he received the year before.  

Specifically, Iger earned only $3 million in salary, but this came with a $21.8 million bonus and an additional $10 million in stock awards and $9.6 million in stock options (at the current market value of options and awards).  This is according to the company’s annual proxy Securities and Exchange Commission filing. 

The filing lists, “In an effort to appropriately balance the pay for performance design of our compensation program with this shareholder feedback, the Compensation Committee discussed with Mr. Iger, and Mr. Iger agreed on three separate occasions, to reduce for fiscal 2019 the compensation he would have otherwise been entitled to under his employment contract.”

All of this in response, it seems, to immense criticism that Iger faced last year, when excessive CEO pay was under immense scrutiny.  Certainly, his windfall of $35.3 million in stock awards—as a result of renewing his CEO contract through 2021 to see through Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox.   At the same time, it may also be important to note that Disney’s board of directors also reduced the bonus Iger was expecting to get after the close of the deal, by $13.5 million. 

On the other hand, Disney chief financial officer, Christine McCarthy, received the second largest comp package in the Disney corporate office, at a total of $14.9 million. That is at least $3 million more than she received in 2018.  Similarly, Disney senior executive VP [and general counsel] raked in $13.7 million this year, up from $10.4 million last year. 

Effectively, the Disney board filing comment that feedback from the SEC filing encouraged them to analyze Iger’s compensation.  In the filing, the board said they looked at these concerns again and that is how they reached the conclusion to adjust the compensation plan. 

The statement concludes, then, “For fiscal 2020, the Committee expanded the Company’s media industry peer groups to include more technology focused companies entering the media industry, adding Alphabet, Amazon.com, Apple, AT&T, Discovery, Facebook, and Netflix to our media industry peers, and retaining current peers, CBS, Comcast, and Viacom.”