Media CEOs Have Millions of Reasons to Give Thanks


Sumner Redstone seems like a generous guy to work for — if you’re a CEO.

The top executives at two of the major media companies controlled by Redstone-Les Moonves of CBS and Philippe Dauman of Viacom-ranked fifth and sixth among the best-paid CEOs, according to a new list put together by the Wall Street Journal. Moonves’ total direct compensation was $38.9 million. Dauman’s was $33.7 million.

John Malone is another generous guy. Greg Maffei of Malone’s Liberty Media topped the list at $87.1 million.

All over the corporate world, CEOs are thriving because after firing hundreds of staffers to cut costs, they are reaping the benefits as stock prices and earnings reflect a recovering economy. Moonves can also thank a recovering advertising market and Dauman should give a huge fist pump to the guys from Jersey Shore. As for Maffei, he got a big grant of stock options in 2009, but the company does not expect him to be among the top paid CEOs in 2010, the Journal reports. Nor will he need to hold a garage sale.

Other big earners at media companies included Brian Roberts at Comcast who got $22.1 million; Bob Iger of Walt Disney Co., who got $20.8 million; Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner who got $19.3 million; Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. who got $16.5 million; Glenn Britt of Time Warner Cable who got $15.5 and Jim Dolan of Cablevision Systems, who got $14.1.