WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar Pay Package Worth About $17 Million Annually

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Todd Spangler
·2 min read
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Jason Kilar, who has served as CEO of WarnerMedia since May 2020, has a compensation package worth about $17 million per year in cash and stock, according to a regulatory filing.

Kilar’s base annual salary is $2.5 million, plus $2.5 million in short-term target bonus and $12 million in vested stock grants per year, according to AT&T’s proxy fling Thursday. The exec’s total realized compensation in 2020 was $2.92 million.

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When Kilar was hired, AT&T granted him restricted stock valued at $48 million, which will vest over a four-year period (from 2021-24). The telco listed his total comp for 2020 at $52.17 million, even though he can’t get his hands on most of that until his stock units vest.

The company praised itself for Kilar’s hiring. “The Board sought the best talent available to lead WarnerMedia, and Mr. Kilar, with his experience at Hulu and Amazon, among other companies, brings a broad range of expertise in managing a media business,” AT&T said in the filing.

AT&T said Kilar was tasked with overseeing the reorg of WarnerMedia to “operate more nimbly in the current media landscape.” That included at least two waves of layoffs last year and a management shakeup under which HBO Max content bosses Robert Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly were let go and Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff assumed expanded oversight over content operations.

The company also claimed in the proxy filing that Kilar “led the successful launch of AT&T’s HBO Max streaming platform,” even though he started at the company less than a month before the streamer’s debut.

“To attract Mr. Kilar and to provide an incentive for him to create stockholder value and to remain with the company,” the board’s compensation committee “offered a competitive annual total target compensation package with a heavier mix of stock-based awards to align with stockholders and the Company’s long-term pay philosophy,” AT&T said in the filing.

Kilar’s stock grant that vests over four years reflects the company’s “intent to approximate long-term grants of $12,000,000 per year over four years. The Committee does not expect to grant Mr. Kilar additional long-term awards that would vest during such four-year period.”

Among other execs, AT&T CEO John Stankey — who was elevated to the top job last year after Randall Stephenson stepped down — saw his total comp for 2020 come in at about $21 million, down 6.5% from the year prior.

Stephenson, who remained executive chairman until he retired in January 2021, took home a pay package worth $29.15 million last year (versus $32 million in 2019).

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