Endeavor’s move to go public has resulted in a windfall for CEO Ari Emanuel that could get even bigger, as the company’s annual SEC report shows that the media giant’s founder made $67 million last year, with stock grants from Endeavor’s IPO that could send his pay soaring to $308 million.
According to the filings, Emanuel received a base salary of $4 million in 2021 with an additional $6 million performance-based bonus. The rest of Emanuel’s $67 million realized pay came from vested equity awards, some of which were restructured equity awards previously granted to him following Endeavor’s purchase of UFC parent company Zuffa, but the majority of which were granted after Endeavor’s IPO last April.
The $308 million potential pay is based on IPO equity grants that may or may not be vested, a common stock performance-based incentive included in CEO pay packages when a company goes public.
“Our Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman will only realize value with respect to their performance stock units if our stock price increases in value, and thus a large part of their compensation is ‘at risk,’” Endeavor wrote in its filing.
The newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery reported a similar spike in potential compensation for new CEO David Zaslav in its own SEC filing earlier this week, with $190 million in stock grants and a potential top pay of $246 million. That’s a nearly 600% increase from the $37 million that Zaslav made in 2020, though he, like many CEOs, took significant pay cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even with those cuts, the pay gap for the world’s top companies between their CEOs and lowest paid employees continues to widen, with a report last year by the Institute for Policy Studies reporting a 29% increase in CEO pay among 100 S&P 500 companies in 2020, even as the average pay for workers drop 2% during the pandemic.