Walt Disney Co. cut tens of millions of dollars of future potential earnings for Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger days before its annual meeting, where investors are set to vote on the entertainment giant’s executive pay program.
Iger’s target annual compensation will be $35 million after the deal with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. is completed, Disney said Monday in a regulatory filing. That’s 28 percent less than the initial $48.5 million target. The company didn’t provide a reason for the change.
The cut precedes Disney’s March 7 annual meeting, where Iger’s contract was likely to face resistance from investors. A year ago, more than half of all shares voted in the firm’s annual say-on-pay proxy question were cast against the compensation program for senior managers — a remarkable rebuke given that the vast majority of S&P 500 firms register average support of more than 90 percent.
Even with the pay cut, Iger, 68, remains among the highest-paid CEOs of a publicly traded U.S. company, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index. His $3 million base salary is more than double the average of his S&P 500 peers. He also still has a chance to collect more than $100 million of stock over the next few years depending on Disney’s stock return, in addition to shares worth about $28 million that he’ll receive as long as he remains CEO through 2021.