CBS Corp. chairman, president and CEO Leslie Moonves received compensation of $69.6 million in 2016, up 22.5 percent compared with $56.8 million in 2015 and up from $57.2 million in 2014, according to the company's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.
His higher pay came as CBS continued to perform well last year, with 2016 adjusted earnings per share up 24 percent to a record $4.11, earnings per share from continuing operations up 9 percent to a record $3.46 and its stock up 35 percent. The majority of Moonves' pay is performance-based and comes in the form of a bonus and stock and options awards.
The CBS board of directors in their proxy filing offered firm support for Moonves, including in his dual role as CEO and chairman, for "distinguishing the company as a producer of world-class content across all mediums and identifying and developing key new revenue streams for future growth."
The proxy statement also disclosed that chairman emeritus and controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone would leave his voting role on the CBS board as of the annual shareholder meeting in May. The move mirrors one announced by Viacom, which Redstone's National Amusements also controls, ahead of its most recent annual meeting.
CBS' filing highlighted that Redstone would continue to be able to participate in its board meetings in a nonvoting role.
Moonves got $31.9 million in stock awards in 2016, compared with $25.5 million in 2015, no stock options, compared with $7.2 million in the year before, and a $32.0 million bonus, compared with $19 million. His base salary stayed unchanged at $3.5 million, while his "other" compensation amounted to $1.1 million.
Moonves also amended his contract with CBS last year with an additional incentive package to reflect his new role as chairman and to cover the period from Feb. 18, 2016, to June 30, 2019. The CBS boss has been with the network since 1995 and has led it since its split from Viacom, which was announced in 2005 and took effect at the start of 2006.
For most of that time, Moonves has overseen the company with the highest-rated broadcast network and strong financials. The proxy statement indicated the 2016 fiscal year was "exceptional" for CBS, as Moonves and his management team strengthened the company's financial position, monetized its premium content and maximized ad revenues. "The company continued to position itself for long-term success, rewarding its stockholders in the process," stated the filing.
In addition to the CBS broadcast network, the company's portfolio includes Showtime, the CBS Sports Network, CBS Films, 50 percent of The CW and other businesses. The proxy filing noted CBS ended the 2015-2016 TV season as the top-rated U.S. network for the eighth year running.
Other highlights noted by the board in the filing include CBS increasing retransmission and station affiliation revenues by 35 percent year-on-year in fiscal 2016, growing the number of subscribers for the CBS All Access and Showtime online video platforms and reaching an agreement with the NFL to stream live pro football games.
The filing also disclosed the 2016 pay for 93-year-old chairman emeritus Redstone, which amounted to $1.1 million. He has been scaling back his role in recent years. In December, National Amusements asked Viacom and CBS to stop looking at a recombination that it had previously proposed for them to consider. In 2015, Redstone had made $1.8 million at CBS, down from $10.8 million in 2014 and $57.2 million the year before that.
Among other things, the proxy also disclosed the annual pay for CBS Corp. COO Joseph Ianniello. It rose from $26.4 million to $29.0 million.
Etan Vlessing in Toronto contributed to this report.