Charter CEO Chris Winfrey Sees $89 Million Compensation Package In 2023

The chief executive of Charter Communications Christopher Winfrey saw total compensation last year of just over $89 million, inflated by $75 million in option awards.

Winfrey was promoted to CEO, from COO, in December of 2022, succeeding Tom Rutledge, who stayed on as executive chair until retiring last November and received a package worth $19 million for 2023 (down from $39 million the previous year).

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Winfrey had a base salary of $1.7 million, stock awards of $8.7 million and non-equity incentive plan compensation (cash bonus) of $3.5 million. His pay last year totaled $15.6 million.

The options vest over time and with stock price hurdles. Charter’s proxy statement filed with the SEC said the lowest for Winfrey’s awards is $564. The shares closed Monday at $279, down from a 52-week high of $458 in a difficult time for media and traditional cable bundles. In an innovative carriage deal with Disney last fall, Charter Spectrum — the no. 2 U.S. cable network — was able to jettison eight networks and provide Disney+ and ESPN+ to Spectrum TV Select subscribers

The company, whose largest shareholder is John Malone’s Liberty Broadband, will hold its annual meeting on April 23 but won’t put executive pay to a vote. Shareholders at the last meet voted 51% in favor of holding the so-called ‘say on pay’ vote, only once every three years. The votes are advisory only, but many companies have them every year. Charter holders will vote next in 2026.

It’s proxy season where companies on a calendar year report, among other things, the 2023 compensation for their top five executives. Media and entertainment CEOs have historically been highly compensated, those in the Liberty orbit (including Warner Bros. Discovery CEO) particularly so.

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