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With bonus, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman compensation hits $54 million

With bonus, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman compensation hits $54 million
Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman received a compensation package in fiscal 2015 valued at $54.2 million, according to a proxy filed Friday. Viacom said Dauman's actual compensation was closer to $37 million. (Jennifer S. Altman / For the Times)

How much money did Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman make last year? Well, it depends on where you look.

Earlier this week, Viacom issued a statement saying Dauman received total compensation in fiscal 2015 valued at about $37 million.

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However, when Viacom released its proxy on Friday, a closer inspection of the numbers showed Dauman's compensation package actually added up to $54.2 million.

The reason for the discrepancy: a $17-million signing bonus that Dauman was awarded in late 2014.

Viacom, in its proxy, listed two separate totals for Dauman's compensation. In a column marked total compensation, the $54.2-million figure was provided. But the final column of the table, which appeared under the heading "excluding contract renewal stock awards," carried the $37.2-million amount.

News organizations jumped on the difference. The issue was noteworthy because Viacom's market value plummeted 45% last year -- at a time when Dauman's compensation went up more than 20%.

A Viacom spokesman said late Friday the company's earlier statement about Dauman's compensation was indeed accurate because Dauman did not receive any payouts from the bonus in 2015.

Instead, installments will be paid over three years, beginning in 2017.

"The previously-disclosed discrete equity award associated with the extension of his employment agreement is presented as a lump sum in our proxy, but will not vest to Mr. Dauman until 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the ultimate value of the award will depend on the stock price at vesting," Viacom said in a statement.

One can assume that next year Viacom won't pre-release compensation figures.

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