Charter’s Rutledge paid $98.5M in 2016

Tom Rutledge
Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge

After signing a new contract that will keep him at the cable company until 2021, Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge received total compensation of $98.5 million in 2016.

The revelation was made in documents filed to the SEC Thursday. Rutledge, 63, a former Cablevision executive who masterminded the transformation of legacy Charter into a unified, modern digital-centric cable operator and who has seen the MSO through the massive $55 million acquisition and integration of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, earned $16.4 million in total compensation in 2015. 

For 2015, TWC Chief Executive Rob Marcus was the highest paid cable executive, raking in $92 million. But that was mostly golden parachute money, following Charter’s acquisition of TWC. Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh was the next highest paid cable exec, taking in $40.6 million. 

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Most of Rutledge’s compensation came in the form of stock options, which were valued at $78 million last year.

As Bloomberg noted, the board controlling Rutledge’s salary is headed by Liberty Media emperor John Malone, who is known to spend robustly for executive talent who he believes in. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei sits on the compensation committee. 

“In 2016, Charter successfully completed its transactions with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, the result, a Charter roughly four times larger than the legacy company," Charter said in a statement provided to FierceCable.

Charter’s Named Executive Officer compensation, including both a five-year long-term incentive program and new five-year employment agreements, is structured to ensure the retention of the highest caliber executives through the integration process and a strong alignment with the long-term interests of the Company’s stockholders," the MSO added. " A significant portion of executive compensation is performance based incentives.  The five-year long-term incentive program puts a substantial portion of executive compensation at risk, specifically dependent upon the Company’s stock performance, rewarding executives for performance that enhances long-term shareholder value.”