Disney doubles chief's pay package

By Andy Fixmer

Walt Disney, the world's second-largest media company, doubled Robert Iger's pay to US$24.9 million ($36 million) in his first year after he took over as chief executive officer from Michael Eisner.

Iger, 55, received US$2 million in salary, a US$15 million bonus, US$2.92 million in options, long-term pay of US$4.3 million and US$666,000 in other compensation in the year to September 30, Disney said.

Iger, who made US$12.7 million in total pay before taking over, has overseen a 46 per cent rise in Disney's shares since becoming chief executive in October 2005.

Under Iger, Disney bought the Pixar animation studio for US$8.06 billion, began selling TV shows and films on Apple's iTunes and redesigned its website. Profit rose 33 per cent last year.

"He deserves a boost in pay," said Janna Sampson, director of portfolio management at Oakbrook Investments in Illinois, which owns about 650,000 Disney shares. "Double is more than most of us would have expected."

Tom Staggs, chief financial officer, saw his pay more than double to US$11.2 million last year from US$4.56 million the year before.

Staggs, 46, received a US$1.04 million salary, a US$4 million bonus, US$4.3 million in long-term pay, US$1.1 million of stock options and US$790,000 in restricted stock.

Richard Parsons, chief executive of Time Warner, the largest media company, was paid US$16 million in 2005. Viacom's Philippe Dauman, appointed top executive in September, is receiving US$21 million.

Eisner made US$10.3 million in his last year as Disney chief.

In 2005, Iger received US$9.24 million in salary and bonus. He also received US$500,000 in restricted stock, other compensation of US$1.02 million and options worth US$1.93 million.

Previously president and chief operating officer, Iger became CEO when Eisner left after more than two decades.


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