By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Viacom's own stock option "grant" chart for 2004, on page 39 of the proxy statement, lists the "present value" of the options without qualification. Redstone: 2,050,000 shares, value $34,410,050. Moonves: 1,901,410 shares, value $32,071,665. Freston: 1,900,000 shares, value $32,047,100.
Stock options are always considered part of someone's compensation, even if they don't "vest" until a later date. And these options were all awarded in 2004. Even if we followed Mr. Folta's advice and erased the options' $98 million plus from the calculations for 2004, the combined compensation of the three Viacom executives would still total $61 millionand that's still way above the pay packages at comparable corporationsand much bigger corporations.
Such comparisons provide some idea of just how greedy the Viacom executive branch is. To recall, the top three men received a combined $160 million, stock options included. All the figures below include any stock options awarded in 2004.
Disney and News Corporation have roughly the same market capitalization as Viacom. Disney gave its top three about $27 million in 2004. News Corp.'s total was $45 million. General Electric has a capitalization five times the value of Viacom; it's one of the largest companies in the world. It paid its trio of top executives a combined $34 million.
I wonder if any of them will decide to play catch-up next year. I don't wonder if any of them ever get embarrassed about stuffing their pockets; that would be naive.