The 8 highest paid CEOs in pay-TV in 2014

By Daniel Frankel

The nation's top publicly traded pay-TV companies have all reported their CEO salaries to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and FierceCable has collected all the data in one place. Below are the salary and compensation rates of the top eight highest paid CEOs among publicly traded cable, satellite and IPTV service providers.

The big winner for 2014--or huge loser, if you factor in lost opportunity--is Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus, who would have walked away with around $80 million had Comcast's proposed $45 billion takeover of his company moved forward.

As it was, a huge tenfold increase in stock compensation brought Marcus' overall earnings to $34.6 million, making him the highest paid pay-TV executive of 2014. A nice little compensation prize as he ponders what might have been.

Finishing second was Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, whose $32.96 million paycheck in 2014 wasn't even the highest in the Comcast empire. Roberts was actually edged out by NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, who gave his personal accountant the champagne conundrum of what to do with $33.91 million. But since Burke doesn't work on the cable side of the business, we didn't count him or his giant paycheck.

A similar dynamic unfolded in Englewood, Colo., where former Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) CEO Joseph Clayton and his big drum were just shuttled out the door with a $12.78 million golden parachute. That placed last among our top eight executives, but it did surpass the $1.7 million in compensation received by Dish Chairman and current CEO Charlie Ergen. (Of course, Ergen has all sorts of other ways of bringing in the bacon; Forbes last year estimated Ergen has $17.2 billion.) Clayton retired as CEO in February and Ergen said he will remain the company's CEO until he can "find someone better to replace me."

Regardless of where they rank--and despite all the rancor about OTT, cord-cutting and consolidation--2014 was a good year for pay-TV executives to buy that new luxury sedan they've been eyeing.

Indeed, starting with Marcus' massive six-fold overall pay raise, every executive on our list grew their compensation in 2014.

Check out the eight highest-paid CEOs below. The data comes from filings the companies have made to the SEC.

Don't forget to also check out a similar list from our sister publication FierceTelecom, and stay tuned for an upcoming list next week in FierceWireless.

Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus
Total compensation (2014): $34.6 million

Total compensation (2013): $5.9 million
Salary: $1.5 million
Other compensation (stock awards, bonuses, etc.): $33.1 million
Duration with company: Since 2005

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts
Total compensation (2014): $32.96 million

Total compensation (2013): $31.4 million
Salary: $2.57 million
Other compensation (stock awards, bonuses, etc.): $33.39 million
Duration with company: Since 1981

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson
Total compensation (2014): $23.98 million

Total compensation (2013): $23.24 million
Salary: $1.69 million
Other compensation (stock awards, etc.): $22.29 million
Duration with the company: Since 1982 

Cablevision CEO James Dolan
Total compensation (2014): $23.7 million

Total compensation (2013): $9.75 million
Salary: $2 million
Other compensation (stock awards, bonuses, etc.): $21.7 million
Duration with company: Since 1979

Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam
Total compensation (2014): $18.3 million

Total compensation (2013): $15.82 million
Salary: $1.58 million
Other compensation (stock awards, etc.): $16.72 million
Duration with the company: Since 2000 (inception of Verizon Wireless)

Charter Communications president and CEO Tom Rutledge
Total compensation (2014): $16.1 million

Total compensation (2013): $4.5 million
Salary: $1.99 million
Other compensation (stock awards, bonuses, etc.): $14.11 million
Duration with company: Since 2012

DirecTV CEO Michael White
Total compensation (2014): $15.81 million

Total compensation (2013): $12.5 million
Salary: $1.7 million
Other compensation (stock awards, bonuses, etc.): $14.11 million
Duration with company: Since 2010

Former Dish CEO Joseph Clayton
Total compensation (2014): $13.78 million

Total compensation (2013):
Salary: $1 million
Other compensation (stock awards, bonuses, etc.): $12.78 million
Duration with company: 2011-2015

 

The 8 highest paid CEOs in pay-TV in 2014
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