More money for Murdoch

SEC shows CEO's raise up 42%

Rupert Murdoch’s paycheck is staying ahead of inflation.

According to documents filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Murdoch got a nice raise last year — about 42%.

In its proxy statement, which lists the salaries and bonuses of top corporate officers, News Corp. revealed that chairman-CEO Murdoch received a salary of $4.5 million and a bonus of $12.5 million in 2004. That was up from the same salary but only a $7.5 million bonus in 2003.

In addition, the proxy statement notes that News Corp. paid annual upkeep of about $660,000 for the past three years on a Los Angeles residence for Murdoch that was also used for company functions. Murdoch bought the residence in 2004 at fair market value, the document said.

Peter Chernin, prexy and chief operating officer, received only a $200,000 raise in 2004, with his salary going from $8.1 million to $8.3 million. His bonus remained the same at $8 million.

Murdoch’s son and heir apparent to eventually head the media conglom, Lachlan Murdoch, received substantial bumps in both his salary and bonus. His salary rose from $1.4 million in 2003 to $1.8 million in 2004, and his bonus rose from $1.2 million to $2 million.

A footnote in the report indicates that News Corp. may be concerned about airline safety: “For security reasons, the company requires the named executive officers (Rupert Murdoch and Chernin) to use the company aircraft for all travel.”

The value of the travel was calculated over the past three years down to the dollar. In 2004, Murdoch’s travel was valued at $159,086; for 2003, $113,937; and $107,624 in 2002. Chernin’s travel cost the company $106,330 in 2004; $161,450 in 2003; and $56,105 in 2002.