Disney Raises the Bar Iger Has to Clear to Win Bonus -- 3rd Update
By Erich Schwartzel
LOS ANGELES -- Shareholder pushback against Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger's compensation has led the company to increase the targets he must meet to collect his performance bonus.
Disney announced Monday more rigorous benchmarks required for Mr. Iger to collect a $100 million equity grant in 2021 that had been criticized by shareholder advisory groups.
Mr. Iger has already been granted a portion of the grant valued at roughly $25 million. Under the new arrangement, he will collect the remaining amount tied to the equity grant only if his company's total shareholder return outperforms 65% of companies in the S&P 500. The original agreement granted the payment if Disney outperformed the 50th percentile.
In March, Disney shareholders in a nonbinding advisory vote rejected a compensation plan for Mr. Iger and other executives, with 52% of shareholders voting no on a plan that would have paid the CEO as much as $48.5 million a year in total compensation from 2018 to 2021. The additional $100 million equity grant -- which the advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services had called "excessive" -- would follow in 2021 if Disney shareholder return met those S&P targets.
The compensation was tied to Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of major assets of 21st Century Fox, a deal that is expected to close in early 2019.
Despite the vote's nonbinding status, Disney said at the time it would take the result under advisement.
A Disney spokesman said the change "reflects feedback received directly from shareholders and underscores Mr. Iger's and the Board's confidence that the current strategic direction of the company will generate significant value for our shareholders."
Other aspects of the performance plan remain unchanged.
Wall Street regards Mr. Iger's tenure atop Disney, starting in 2005, as a success, with acquisitions of Pixar Entertainment and Marvel Studios paying returns at the box office and theme-park revenue growing at a record rate. He has extended his retirement date several times, most recently to see through the company's acquisition of Fox.
Mr. Iger collected $36.3 million in total compensation during the 2017 fiscal year.
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