Disney cuts Iger’s pay 56% to US$21mil, axes bonuses in wake of pandemic


Walt Disney Bob Iger

BURBANK: Walt Disney Co executive chairman Bob Iger (pic) saw his pay decline 56% to US$21mil last year, after the company curtailed bonuses and other compensation in the wake of the pandemic.

Chief executive officer (CEO) Bob Chapek, who was promoted to Iger’s former role at the end of February, earned US$14.2mil, one of the lowest compensation levels for a Disney CEO in more than a decade. Iger earned US$21.9mil in 2006, his first full year as CEO.

Bonuses were eliminated for the company’s most highly compensated executives. Executive pay was affected by the company not being able to meet some performance metrics.

Disney lost US$2.8bil last year on sales of US$65bil.

Disney was hit in myriad ways by the Covid-19 crisis, but also saw some businesses thrive. The world’s largest entertainment company closed theme parks and docked cruise ships around the world.

Like other Hollywood studios, it postponed releases of films in theaters, while the loss of live sports on television earlier in the year crimped the company’s advertising business.

The company laid off some 32,000 workers last year and has shuttered once-popular attractions such as Radio Disney and the annual-pass programme at Disneyland.

Despite the setbacks for its businesses, Disney’s shares rose 25% last year. Its video streaming operations set records for new customer sign-ups as consumers shifted to watching more movies and TV shows online.

Disney said it was making further changes to its compensation programme in 2021, including eliminating earnings per share as a metric used for calculating bonuses.

The Burbank, California-based company is adding revenue growth as a criteria.

Disney also disclosed that Chapek’s son, Brian, left his US$190,000-a-year job as a producer at the company’s Marvel Studios at the end of September.

He departed to form an independent production firm, which has a three-year deal with Disney.

The younger Chapek’s company will receive US$322,000 this year, rising to US$367,000 by the third year. ─ Bloomberg

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