CBS Chief Leslie Moonves Sees 2016 Salary Soar to $69.6 Million

CBS Corp. chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves got a big pay raise in 2016, with his compensation package climbing 22%  from 2015 to a whopping $69.6 million.

Moonves’ payday was buoyed by a $32 million cash bonus and another $31.9 million in stock awards, reflecting the 35% gain that CBS shares logged in 2016. Salary details for Moonves and other CBS corporate executives were disclosed Friday in a proxy filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Moonves has long been one of the nation’s highest-paid CEOs. His salary hit $69.9 million in 2011. In 2015 he took in $56.8 million, which was down slightly from 2014’s $57.1 million.

CBS Corp. cited Moonves’ track record of delivering key financial and strategic results for the company, as well as his role in expanding the CBS All Access and Showtime streaming services and navigating the Eye through the digital MVPD landscape.

As CEO, Moonves “continued to demonstrate consistent leadership in driving ratings successes, leveraging his relationships and industry clout to secure broadcast rights to key “tent-pole” events for the Company and taking advantage of ratings and prior negotiation successes to help secure key retransmission, station affiliation, skinny-bundle and streaming deals,” the filing said. “Mr. Moonves’ leadership and direction were instrumental in developing and producing CBS-owned content that generates both high ratings and lucrative licensing opportunities.”

The timing of Moonves’ annual salary disclosure is less than ideal for Hollywood’s major studios. Moonves’ hefty paycheck is likely to be cited as an example of the industry’s abundance by Writers Guild of America members who are set to restart tough contract negotiations with CBS and other members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Monday.

Beyond Moonves, the second highest-paid exec at CBS is chief operating officer Joe Ianniello, who took in $29 million in 2016, compared to $26.4 million in 2015.

CBS Corp. chairman emeritus Sumner Redstone is no longer a corporate officer of CBS but was paid a $1.1 million salary in 2016, the filing stated.

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