Despite overseeing one of the largest mergers Hollywood has ever seen last year, Disney chief Bob Iger ended up taking a pretty hefty hit to his salary. The Walt Disney Company revealed in an SEC filing Friday that Iger earned $47.5 million for the company's 2019 fiscal year, something which ended last September. Compared to his $65.8 million salary in 2018 — which included a stock package incentivizing him to stay past his planned retirement date — Iger ended up seeing a 27.8 percent drop in salary.
In the filing, Disney mentioned it had to revise Iger's salary on three separate occasions after speaking with the company's largest shareholders. "Through that feedback, we learned of the concerns about certain aspects of Mr. Iger's employment agreement, including concerns from some shareholders regarding the amount of Mr. Iger's total compensation and the rigor of the performance criteria for Mr. Iger's one-time performance-based equity award," Disney's board wrote.
The company added, "In an effort to appropriately balance the pay for performance design of our compensation program with this shareholder feedback, the Compensation Committee discussed with Mr. Iger, and Mr. Iger agreed on three separate occasions, to reduce for fiscal 2019 the compensation he would have otherwise been entitled to under his employment contract."
In the same filing, Disney posted revenues of $69.6 billion, up 17 percent over FY18. Iger has said he plans to retire by the end of 2021 as he continues vetting his potential replacements. According to reports from industry insiders, one such replacement could be Kevin Mayer, the current boss of Disney's direct-to-consumer efforts, something that now includes Disney+.
“I’ve been engaged with the board for quite some time in some discussion about a succession, and they’ve been engaged in a succession process, and we continue to feel that they will be able to identify my successor on a timely enough basis so that this company has a smooth transition,” Iger said in an earnings call early last year.
“I do want to say, by the way, since a lot has been said internally — and I think, probably, maybe felt now that we’ve shown this all to you — that what we’re putting forward is an aggressive strategy, and that’s very purposeful. Because we feel, obviously, that strategy is extremely important to us and we feel that if we’re going to implement it, we’ve got to be very, very serious and be all in on it. And that’s because we believe that that is the best way for this to succeed.”