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WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey Pay Rose 64% in 2018, to $16.6 Million

John Stankey, CEO of AT&T’s WarnerMedia who has dramatically reshaped the businesses of Time Warner, saw his total compensation package increase 64% last year, to a total of $16.6 million.

Meanwhile, AT&T chairman, president and CEO Randall Stephenson pulled in a pay package worth $29.1 million in 2018, up 1.4%. AT&T disclosed the compensation details in an SEC proxy statement filing Monday.

Among other senior AT&T execs, CFO John Stephens saw his total compensation rise to $15.6 million (up 13%) while AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan’s pay package declined 4%, to $14.6 million. General counsel David McAtee saw his comp more than double, to $12.85 million, in 2018.

Stankey, a 33-year veteran of the telco, oversees AT&T’s media business which includes HBO, Turner, Warner Bros., and Otter Media. He led the integration planning team for the AT&T takeover of Time Warner, which closed last June.

In the filing Monday, the AT&T board’s compensation committee said it hiked Stankey’s compensation “to reflect his new responsibility for all of AT&T’s content-related assets, including each of Time Warner’s businesses. In addition, the Committee determined that Mr. Stankey’s unique skills and experience are critical to executing the Company’s post-close strategic plan.”

Stankey received a base salary increase from $995,000 in 2017 to $1.1 million effective March 1, 2018 — and that was boosted to $2.9 million effective June 16, 2018, “to reflect the increased scope and complexity of his new role as CEO of WarnerMedia,” according to AT&T. Stephenson’s base salary for 2018 was unchanged, at $1.8 million.

For 2018, Stankey’s compensation package included $2.06 million in salary; a $2 million bonus; stock awards valued at $6.89 million plus $4.37 million under AT&T’s non-equity incentive plan; $574,835 for change in pension value and non-qualified deferred compensation earnings; and $655,696 in other compensation (which included company-paid life insurance premiums, matching contributions to deferral plans, and state and local income tax reimbursements made in connection with Stankey’s business travel).

Stankey recently enacted a significant reorganization of WarnerMedia, which saw the exit of HBO CEO Richard Plepler and Turner president David Levy and the appointment of Bob Greenblatt as chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer units. Among other changes, CNN chief Jeff Zucker, Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Kevin Tsujihara, and Turner International leader Gerhard Zeiler also picked up more oversight responsibilities.

Stankey previously has served in multiple senior roles at AT&T, including CEO of AT&T Mobility and Entertainment, after leading the company’s acquisition of DirecTV in 2015 when he was chief strategy officer.

AT&T has set its 2019 annual meeting of stockholders for Friday, April 26, starting at 9 a.m., at the Moody Performance Hall in Dallas. “At this year’s meeting, we will discuss our strategy to become a modern media company and deliver on our mission to inspire human progress through the power of communication and entertainment,” Stephenson wrote in a letter to investors included in the SEC filing. “Most important, we’ll discuss our plans to grow free cash flow and pay down our debt – all while continuing to invest in growth and maintain a solid, steady dividend for you, our owners.”

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