Live Nation has re-upped longtime CEO Michael Rapino to a new five-year contract that will see him earn $30 million year if he and the company meet performance metrics, according to documents filed with the SEC.
While Rapino’s annual salary holds at his previous $3 million per year, the annual target cash bonus is climbing from $6 million to $17 million per year. The news was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
Starting next year, Rapino will also be eligible for an annual grant of restricted shares valued at no less than $10 million. He also will receive a $6 million signing bonus, and several time-based RSUs. According to the documents, the performance RSUs will be based on Live Nation’s stock price.
Despite layoffs and furloughs, Live Nation weathered the pandemic remarkably well for a company based on large public gatherings, due in no small part to Rapino’s strong leadership.
That forward movement has paid off in 2022, as the company posted the best first quarter in its history, with revenue of $1.8 billion. Its AOI of $209 million topped the previous record, Q1 of 2019, by $94 million, and was $361 million better than 2021 — when the industry had not yet begun to emerge from the pandemic — with a boost of $269 million in ticketing, $66 million in sponsorship and $26 million in concerts.
“Momentum has picked up for all of our businesses over the course of the first quarter, and as a result, we delivered financial performance that greatly surpassed our previous expectations,” Rapino said when announcing the results. “Artists are back on the road and fan demand has never been stronger, a reflection that live events remain a clear priority for consumers as our social lives restart.”
While the industry is hardly back to its pre-pandemic levels — many lower-level tours and festivals are showing lower-than-hoped-for attendance, due partially to Covid caution but possibly more to the challenging economic climate: Ticket prices are as high as ever, to the benefit of Ticketmaster, which is owned by Live Nation.
Rapino has been CEO since he launched Live Nation in 2005, after Clear Channel sold off the concert and sports units it had acquired from SFX founder Robert Sillerman (who had also acquired Rapino’s concert promotion company) five years earlier. Rapino oversaw Live Nation’s merger with Ticketmaster in 2009, creating Live Nation Entertainment, which is the largest live-entertainment business in the world.