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News Corp. execs' 2019 compensation; Disney general counsel's salary increase

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

Top News

* Alan Braverman will continue as senior executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of The Walt Disney Co. until Dec. 31, 2021. Pursuant to an amended employment agreement with the executive, the company increased Braverman's annual base salary to $1.75 million, Disney disclosed in an SEC filing. The amendment also sets Braverman's target long-term equity incentive annual award value at 350% of base salary, up from the prior value of 300%.

* News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson's total compensation for the fiscal year 2019 ended June 30 increased to $14.7 million from about $13.0 million in the prior year. Thomson's pay package included $3.0 million in salary, $5.5 million in stock awards and $5.5 million in nonequity incentive plan compensation. Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch received about $5.0 million in fiscal 2019 as executive chairman of News Corp., down from $5.7 million in the previous year. Murdoch received a salary of $1.0 million, $1.8 million in stock awards and $2.2 million in nonequity incentive plan compensation. CFO Susan Panuccio and General Counsel David Pitofsky received about $4.6 million and $3.5 million, respectively, in fiscal year 2019, up from $3.8 million and $3.1 million the year prior, the company disclosed in an SEC filing.

* Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. approved the terms of a new four-year employment agreement with CFO James Barge. Under the agreement, Barge will receive an annual base salary of $1.0 million, with a target annual incentive bonus of 125% of his base salary. The company also granted Barge with a time-vesting award of share appreciation rights of 635,526 of the company's class B nonvoting common shares and a performance-vesting award of SARs of 635,526 of the class B shares, among other incentives, according to an SEC filing.

In other compensation news:

* Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc.'s new permanent CEO and President William Bishop's annual base salary will not be less than $390,000, the company disclosed in an SEC filing. Bishop will be eligible for a target annual cash incentive of not less than 80% of his base salary and will also be eligible for an annual long-term incentive compensation award of not less than 125% of his base salary. In addition, the company will pay Bishop a retention bonus totaling $100,000.

* Pareteum Corp. entered into a settlement agreement and release with Denis McCarthy, pursuant to which McCarthy's at-will employment agreement was terminated, and McCarthy left all positions with the company and its subsidiaries, including as the company's COO. He will receive a severance payment of $225,000 to be paid in equal monthly installments, the company said in an SEC filing. McCarthy will also forgo earned and unearned bonuses, and vested and unvested stock options will lapse.

* Fusion Connect Inc. CEO Matthew Rosen and COO and President Russell Markman resigned from the company, effective Oct. 7. Pursuant to their resignation, the company entered into resignation letter agreements with both Rosen and Markman. Rosen, who will continue as chairman of the board until the company and its units emerge from protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, will continue to receive his base salary at the annual rate of $1.0 million during his tenure as chairman. Markman, who will provide consulting services to the company for a fixed-term of three months, will be paid a fixed monthly fee of $33,334. Kevin Brand, who was appointed president, COO and interim CEO will be paid an annual base salary of $550,000, the company disclosed in an SEC filing.

* QuinStreet Inc. Chairman and CEO Douglas Valenti saw his fiscal year 2019 pay package jump to about $3.4 million from $1.6 million in the prior year. Valenti's compensation consisted of $540,750 in salary and about $2.9 million in stock awards, according to an SEC filing. CFO Gregory Wong and Chief Technology Officer and President of product and technology Nina Bhanap also saw an increase in their compensation year over year. Wong and Bhanap netted about $1.5 million each in fiscal 2019, up from $769,573 and $845,483, respectively, in fiscal 2018.

* IHeartMedia Inc. named Michael McGuinness to transition into Steven Macri's role after Macri stepped down as senior vice president of corporate finance at the audio company. The company said McGuinness will receive an annual base salary of $575,000 and will be eligible to earn an annual cash bonus targeted at 100% of his base salary. The company granted McGuinness 20,000 restricted stock units and options to purchase 30,000 shares of the company's class A common stock at an exercise price equal to the fair market value on the date of grant. McGuinness joined iHeartMedia as an executive vice president of finance and deputy CFO.