Cablevision CEO's 2008 pay package worth $12.5M

Thu, 04/09/2009 - 8:10am
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – The chief executive of Cablevision Systems Corp. received a pay package last year worth $12.5 million, according to Associated Press calculations of data filed with regulators late Wednesday. That's 43 percent less than the $21.9 million he received in 2007, due to a sharp drop in special cash dividends and a lower performance-based bonus.

James Dolan received a salary of $1.8 million from the company his father, Charles Dolan, built into the nation's fifth-largest cable operator and owner of assets such as Madison Square Garden in New York and the NBA's New York Knicks.

He was given a $6.6 million bonus based on performance, down from $10.3 million in 2007, and other compensation worth $1.2 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The latter includes a special dividend of $612,000 – well below 2007's dividends of $6.2 million – as well as deferred compensation of more than $202,000, car and driver costs worth more than $220,000, and use of company aircraft worth about $52,500.

Dolan also got free cable TV, Internet and phone service, as well as home security and travel services totaling $35,814 last year. In addition, Dolan received 113,200 shares worth nearly $2.9 million when they were granted in March. However, their value has declined in the wake of the stock's 31 percent drop in 2008.

For 2009, his employment agreement calls for a 4 percent raise in his base salary to $1.87 million, with a bonus target equivalent to triple his salary.

The Associated Press formula is designed to isolate the value the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation, and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which reflect the size of the accounting charge taken for the executive's compensation in the previous fiscal year.

For fiscal 2008, Bethpage, N.Y.-based Cablevision reported a loss of $227.6 million, or 78 cents per share, compared with a profit of $218.5 million, or 74 cents per share, in 2007. The loss was due in part to a hefty write-down of the value of its Long Island-based newspaper Newsday.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $7.23 billion from $6.48 billion as the company's core cable TV operations remained solid amid the economic downturn.

Shares of Cablevision closed up 74 cents, or 5 percent, at $15.27 on Wednesday.

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