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The Pay Check: AT&T CEO's 2018 compensation; Disney CEO's amended agreement

S&P Global Market Intelligence's regular look at executive compensation in the U.S. technology media and communications industries.

Top News

* Randall Stephenson, the chairman, CEO and president of AT&T Inc., earned a total compensation package of roughly $29.1 million in 2018, slightly up from $28.7 million he took home in 2017.

Stephenson's 2018 package included $1.8 million in salary, $17.1 million in stock awards, $5.2 million in non-equity incentives and $3.5 million change in pension value, according to a proxy statement AT&T filed with the SEC.

John Stankey, who became CEO of WarnerMedia upon the closing of the acquisition of Time Warner Inc., was the second-highest-paid executive listed with a total package of $16.6 million in 2018, including $2.1 million in salary, $2.0 million in bonus and $6.9 million in stock awards. By comparison, Stankey was paid $10.1 million in 2017.

Meanwhile, CFO John Stephens saw his 2018 pay package rise to $15.6 million from $13.9 million a year earlier. In 2018, Stephens received $1.1 million in salary, a $2 million bonus and stock awards worth $8.5 million. Thanks largely to a bonus of $5.0 million, General Counsel David McAtee's 2018 compensation jumped to $12.8 million from $6.2 million a year ago.

* Walt Disney Co. amended Chairman and CEO Bob Iger's employment agreement, reducing by $13.5 million the annual total compensation opportunities that the company would have made available to Iger upon completion of the acquisition of certain 21st Century Fox Inc. assets. The company did not disclose a reason for the change in a March 4 SEC filing. Under those changes, the company eliminated a $500,000 increase to Iger's annual base salary, keeping it at $3.0 million. Disney also decreased the CEO's annual target bonus opportunity to $12 million from $20 million and reduced his long-term incentive award opportunity to $20 million from $25 million. Disney's acquisition of Fox is expected to close March 20.

In other compensation news:

* Telephone and Data Systems Inc. President and CEO LeRoy Carlson Jr. received a bonus of about $1.5 million for his performance in 2018, the company said in a March 11 SEC filing. Scott Williamson, senior vice president of acquisitions and corporate development, got a bonus of $471,100. United States Cellular Corp. CEO Kenneth Meyers and CFO Steven Campbell received $1.3 million and $572,000 in bonuses, respectively.

* Gannett Co. Inc. President and CEO Robert Dickey's total compensation for 2018 was about $5.3 million, down from $8.7 million a year earlier. Dickey's 2018 compensation package included $2.4 million in stock awards, down from $4.0 million in the prior year, the company disclosed in an SEC filing. CFO Alison Engel and Chief Legal Officer Barbara Wall took home $2.0 million and $1.7 million, respectively, in 2018, down from $2.4 million and $2.8 million in 2017.

* TEGNA Inc. President and CEO David Lougee's 2018 compensation totaled about $4.9 million, slightly up from $4.8 million the year before. CFO Victoria Harker's pay package, meanwhile, decreased to $3.2 million from $3.6 million in the prior year, according to an SEC filing.

* William Eccleshare, who will be CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. when it becomes a stand-alone public company upon iHeartMedia Inc.'s emergence from its restructuring process, will receive an annual base salary of about $1.3 million, effective Jan. 1. Eccleshare is also eligible to receive an annual performance bonus with a target of not less than 110% of base salary and the opportunity to earn up to 160% of based salary based on performance goals. The executive will receive a retention bonus of $875,000 if he remains employed by the company on Jan. 1, 2020. Within 90 days of the effective date, if Eccleshare is still employed by the company, he will receive a one-time equity grant with an aggregate value of $6.0 million.

* Emmis Communications Corp. entered into a new employment agreement with Ryan Hornaday, pursuant to which Hornaday will continue as executive vice president, CFO and treasurer of the company. Under the agreement, Hornaday's annual base salary rate is $425,000 for the fiscal year ended Feb. 29, 2020, and will increase each fiscal year thereafter by an amount equal to the percentage increase for the company's corporate merit pool. Hornaday's annual incentive bonus target is 75% of his base salary.

* Thanks largely to stock awards worth about $1.5 million, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon saw his 2018 total compensation climb to roughly $5.7 million from $3.1 million a year earlier. His salary in 2018 was $1.4 million. Co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson earned roughly $9.1 million and $9.2 million last year, respectively, up from $1.9 million and $2.0 million in 2017.

* Nielsen Holdings PLC CFO David Anderson, who was recently appointed to the additional role of COO of the company, is entitled to receive grants of long-term incentive awards consisting of a grant of performance-based restricted stock units, or PRSUs, under the company's long-term performance plan, which will vest at the end of a three-year performance period commencing Jan. 1. He also will get a grant of restricted stock units, which will vest in four equal annual installments following the grant date. In connection with his additional appointment to COO, the PRSU grant was increased from having a grant date fair market value of $1.35 million to $1.65 million and the restricted stock units grant was increased from having a grant date fair market value of $900,000 to $1.1 million. The PRSUs and restricted stock units were granted on March 1.