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CBS Chief Leslie Moonves collected nearly $70 million last year

April 13, 2012 |  2:20 pm

Les Moonves

"Two Broke Girls" and one rich CEO.

CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves catapulted to the top of the media pay ladder in 2011 with a compensation package valued at $69.9 million, according to documents filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The 62-year-old executive's package jumped about 21% over the $57.7 million that he reaped in 2010, which included a $27.5-million bonus.

“CBS significantly outpaced the industry in 2011 in terms of shareholder return," the media company said in a statement. "In fact, the company is the second best performing stock in the entire S&P 500 since March of 2009... The vast majority of this year’s pay is once again keyed to performance-based measures, closely aligning the overall value of the compensation with that of the company’s shareholders.”

CBS stock has been on a tear, soaring 42% last year. The stock closed Friday at $32.50 a share, an eye-popping increase over the $4 a share that it was trading for in 2009, following the market collapse. Investors have bid up the stock, in part, due to the anticipation that CBS will rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in political advertising dollars this year as candidates and political action committees try to influence the outcome of elections.

The company's assets include the CBS broadcast network, home to such hit shows as "Two Broke Girls," "NCIS" and "Survivor," local TV and radio stations and billboards. CBS also owns premium pay cable channel Showtime and Simon & Schuster publishing house.

Sumner Redstone, the executive chairman of CBS Corp., received compensation of $20.3 million in 2011. That means the 88-year-old mogul, who has been slowing down in recent years, collected more than $41 million in 2011 for his executive position at CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. (Redstone received $21 million as executive chairman of Viacom).

Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman made $43 million in 2011, considerably less than his 2010 package of $84.5 million.

Viacom and CBS traditionally lead the media pack because of the dual-stock structure of the two companies. Redstone controls nearly 80% of the voting stock, making it difficult for other shareholders to mount a successful protest over governance issues, including executive compensation.

Though not in the same stratosphere of Apple Inc.’s new chief executive, Tim Cook, whose compensation totaled $378 million in 2011, Moonves’ pay still is considerably higher than his peers in the media world. 

For example, Moonves received more than twice that of Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger, who collected $31.4 million in fiscal 2011, and nearly three times the amount of Time Warner Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes, who took in $25.9 million.  Both Disney and Time Warner are much larger than CBS.

News Corp.’s Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch raked in $33.3 million in 2011 running his global empire.  Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav collected a package valued at $52.4 million last year.

RELATED:

David Zaslav is Discovery's $52-million man

Time Warner's Jeffrey Bewkes' pay shrinks 1% to $25.9 million

Viacom executives again among America's highest paid

— Meg James

Photo: CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves. Credit: Peter Foley / Bloomberg

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