Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group.
Zaslav received $102 million in Discovery stock options in connection with the new contract and another $14.8 million in stock awards. He received a $9 million bonus and $3 million in regular salary.
The bulk of Zaslav’s stock compensation won’t come to fruition for years, and only if Discovery shares rise. Nonetheless, the nine-figure number is sure to draw sharp criticism from corporate watchdog groups and advocates focused on the issue of income inequality.
The stock boost is likely to make Zaslav the highest paid executive in media. But it’s not his personal best. In 2014, fueled by a new contract, Zaslav’s compensation package hit an eye-popping $156 million. In 2017, Zaslav received $42.2 million.
Discovery shares had a strong 2018, buoyed by growth after a slump in 2016 and 2017 and the impact of Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive.