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Among the many things Mickey has in store for his Thanos-like quest for universal domination in 2019 is the closure of Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox. Pending any unforeseen complications, all signs point towards that deal closing sometime this year. With that merger looming, the head of the Mouse House, Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger, is taking a major pay cut.
Disney has adjusted Bob Iger’s compensation in a way that drastically reduces the potential pay he would have made upon the closing of the Fox deal, according to Deadline. A $500,000 annual increase has been eliminated and Bob Iger’s base salary will remain at $3 million. Also being cut is an annual $8 million increase in Iger’s annual target bonus. That potential bonus will remain at $12 million.
A long-term incentive award for the chairman has also been reduced by $5 million a year from $25 million to $20 million. Factoring in all the cuts and reductions to bonuses, Bob Iger’s potential annual pay will be reduced by up to $13.5 million. In a statement Bob Iger seemed to indicate that the reduction in his pay was a decision that he and the company came to together. He said:
I am proud to be leading The Walt Disney Company through this important time and believe the changes I, with the Board, have made are in the best interest of the company.
It seems that this pay cut was the result of mutual decision made between the CEO and Disney’s board to better position Disney for success and profitability for shareholders during this transitional period when the company has so much going on.
I think we can all agree that $13.5 million is no small amount to lose out on, but try not to feel too bad for Bob Iger. He is still one of the highest-paid executives in the industry. He made $65.7 million in 2018, an 80% increase over 2017. That included a stock grant that was an incentive for him to stay with Disney until 2021, beyond his planned retirement date to help shepherd the company through the Fox deal.
Bob Iger also received a stock award as a part of the Fox deal, valued at $35.35 million with the potential to increase to as high as $149.6 million when the deal closes and if the company performs.
Although no specific reasoning was given for Bob Iger’s reduced compensation in Disney’s SEC filing, in the company’s annual shareholder meeting last year, a majority of shareholders voted against Disney’s plan for executive compensation. At the time, the board said that it would take the vote under advisement for future decisions about CEO compensation, according to CNBC. This move comes in advance of Disney’s next annual shareholder meeting, which will be held on March 7.
Reduced pay or not, this is a big year for Bob Iger and Disney, and one that could cement the former’s legacy and set up the latter’s future for years to come. The $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox expected to close in the first half of the year, thus changing the entertainment landscape and giving Disney even more firepower at the box office. 2019 will also see the launch of the Disney+ streaming service and the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Disney’s theme parks, not to mention the slew of massive Disney movies headed to theaters.
Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of all of this year’s biggest movies.