Nature

Discovery CEO received $246 million in compensation in 2021, including major options grant

Discovery Inc.

DISCB -3.60%

Chief Executive David Zaslav received total compensation valued at $246.6 million in 2021, including nearly $203 million in option awards, which more than increased his compensation more than sixfold from the previous year. year, the company said in a securities filing Monday.

Mr. Zaslav’s compensation package is the highest CEO salary reported by an S&P 500 company so far this year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of securities filings data provided by MyLogIQ LLC.

Mr. Zaslav’s salary was stable at $3 million. The pay hike largely stems from a massive grant of stock options on the eve of Discovery’s announcement last year of plans to merge with AT&T Inc.

Warner Media.

Given the exercise prices of the options granted to Mr. Zaslav, Discovery’s stock price would have to rise significantly for those options to be in the money.

He also received a $4.4 million discretionary cash bonus, which Discovery said in a filing earlier this month, was for his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic, the streaming service’s growth. the company’s Discovery+ and its efforts last year to negotiate the merger with WarnerMedia.

After Mr. Zaslav, the next highest paid CEO is Apple Inc.

Tim Cook, who received total compensation of about $99 million in 2021, according to an Apple securities filing.

At the time of the merger last year, Mr. Zaslav signed a new contract that runs until 2027, according to the filing. The contract gives Mr. Zaslav a car allowance of $1,400 a month and access to Discovery’s business jet, according to the filing.

Discovery plans to merge with WarnerMedia, whose assets include Warner Bros., CNN and streaming service HBO Max, in the second quarter. AT&T shareholders are on track to secure a roughly 71% stake in the entertainment company, which will be called Warner Bros. Discovery.

Write to Benjamin Mullin at [email protected] and Theo Francis at [email protected]

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