While the executive’s base pay remained steady at $2 million, he earned about $1 million less in incentive compensation compared to 2014, when his total pay was $32.9 million.
Time Warner saw its stock drop sharply in 2015, a decline of more than 20% to about $64 per share, before recovering in 2016. TWX closed at more than $75 a share on Friday.
Bewkes’ pay came from the $2 million salary, $7.8 million in stock awards, another $8 million in stock options, just under $13.4 million in other incentives, with miscellaneous other perks added on top.
His total was also below his $32.5 million compensation of 2014.
Bewkes’ diminished pay was the exception among the conglomerate’s top management, with other officers seeing their pay go up in 2015. Chief Financial Officer Howard Averill got a bump from $8.2 million in 2014 to more than $10.7 million last year. General Counsel Paul Cappuccio climbed from more than $8.7 million to more than $9.5 million. Marketing and Communications boss Gary Ginsberg got nearly $5.2 million, up from his 2014 pay of $4.3 million. And Olaf Olafsson, exec VP of corporate strategy, went up almost $1 million to nearly $5.3 million.
Time Warner found that Bewkes made toward the lower end of the salary range, compared with what it views as peer companies, including Coca-Cola, 21st Century Fox, DirectTV, eBay, McDonalds and the Walt Disney Company.
The company’s proxy statement praised the CEO — during a time when content delivery systems are being reinvented — for “focusing on improving the value of traditional pay television subscriptions for consumers and affiliates while pursuing distribution opportunities outside the ecosystem.” It also supported Bewkes forays into new content arenas — citing the success of HBO and agreements the service has reached with Sesame Street, Jon Stewart, Bill Simmons and Vice.
Although Warner Brothers recent theatrical film slate has been lackluster, the Time Warner board rewarded Bewkes for “preparing for the 2016 launch of a multi-year slate of franchise films,” a reference to pictures from the DC Comic universe that recently began with Batman v Superman. The picture, featuring DC’s two biggest super-heroes, has taken in $855 million globally despite taking a roasting from critics.
Another achievement cited for Bewkes: increasing the company’s video streaming capabilities through acquisition of a minority stake in iStreamPlanet. Despite the slide in TWX shares, Bewkes can cite a 19% growth in adjusted operating income and a 14% climb in adjusted earnings per share.