Back on February 26th I expressed my dismay at the arrogance displayed by the management team of CBS Corp. Now, just two months later, I have learned that Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS Corp, was awarded a total compensation package of $43.2 million for 2009.
Moonves’ pay package includes $3.5 million in base salary, plus a $15 million bonus, stock worth $7.6 million, and stock options that are worth about $14.3 million. This compensation represents more than a doubling of his 2008 earnings when he earned a paltry $21.2 million without any stock options.
A CBS spokesman defended the compensation saying that 85% of Moonves’ earnings are performance based. Additionally, Sumner Redstone, controlling stockholder and Chairman of CBS, received $16.2 million in 2009 plus $16.8 million as Chairman of Viacom Inc. (the parent company of CBS). And if that’s not enough, Philippe Dauman, Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, was paid $34 million in 2009, too.
Between these three executives CBS/Viacom paid out $110.2 million. Please tell me how a publicly held company can justify paying out these outlandish sums of money when their television network’s marquee programs such as CBS Early Morning Show and CBS Evening News with Katie Couric have foundered in the ratings for years. In fairness one should recognize CBS has achieved great success in their primetime programming, but over the past year there has been a corporate blood-bath of firings across all departments.
At CBS what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. Apparently the CBS Board and the senior management think they are above everyone else, much like our elected government officials in Washington do during these very difficult economic times. AND THEY WONDER WHY THE AVERAGE CITIZEN IS UP IN ARMS…THEIR CONDUCT IS REPREHENSIBLE AND ARROGANT.
It will not surprise me that before too long our elected officials will feel they should receive similar compensation, and they will vote themselves a huge increase in their currently inflated compensation package. Do you see the similar disingenuous conduct between CBS and our elected officials?