Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes’ pay jumped 34% to $26.3 million in 2010


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The overall U.S. economy may be just starting to pick up, but it made a big turnaround on Jeff Bewkes’ paycheck last year.

The chief executive of Time Warner saw his total compensation rise 34% to $26.3 million in 2010, according to a preliminary proxy statement filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Time Warner’s assets include the Warner Bros. film and television studio; cable channels such as HBO, TNT and TBS; and magazines such as Time and Sports Illustrated.

Most of the growth in Bewkes’ pay came from increases in his bonus, as well as stock and option awards. The executive’s annual bonus jumped 19% to $14.1 million, while his stock and option awards grew 81% and 74%, respectively, to $5.5 million and $4.1 million.

Bewkes’ base salary also grew by 14% to $2 million. Under his employment contract signed in 2007, Bewkes was owed the raise for adding chairman of the board to his CEO title. He took the chairman post in 2009, but declined the increased pay that year due to the poor economic environment, according to Time Warner’s proxy statement.

Bewkes had seen his compensation fall 10% in 2009 to $19.6 million when Time Warner’s financial performance was weaker.

His total compensation was less than some of his peers. Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger collected $28 million in 2010, while Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman took home $84.5 million through Sept. 30. However, Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp, made $22.7 million for his company’s fiscal year that ended in June.

Other top Time Warner executives saw substantial pay increases last year as well. Chief Financial Officer John K. Martin’s compensation grew 62% to $10.2 million and general counsel Paul T. Cappuccio’s compensation increased 23% to $6.2 million. Gary Ginsberg, who was named executive vice president of corporate marketing and communications in April, received $3.6 million for his slightly less than nine months of work.

In explaining the increases in bonus pay, the Time Warner Board of directors’ compensation committee cited the company’s ‘very strong financial and operating performance despite the difficult and uncertain economy that persisted during the year,’ according to the proxy filing. It noted that revenue rose 6% in 2010 to $26.9 billion, the highest growth rate since 2004, and operating income increased 21% to $5.4 billion.

-- Ben Fritz


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