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Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s Pay Sinks 65% to $48.5 Million

Longtime chief’s 2019 compensation more in line with 2017

Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s 2019 compensation took a bit fall from his sky-high take in 2018, dropping 65% to $48.5 million for the still-handsomely paid executive.

The $48.5 million was more in line with his 2017 compensation, which was $42.2 million. In 2018, Zaslav took home $129.5 million. Zaslav’s 2018 pay was inflated by a massive option grant of more than $102 million (compared to his option awards of just under $7 million last year), which was tied to his new contract to stay on as CEO through 2023.

His base salary was unchanged at $3 million and and stock awards were down a hair to $13.5 million in 2019. His “Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation” was up to $21.8 million (compared to $9 million in 2018).

Discovery also said Wednesday that it would hold its annual meeting virtually on June 18, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels saw his overall pay increase to $7.4 million, while Discovery International chief Jean-Briac Perrette increased his take-home pay to $14.5 million.

During 2019, which saw Discovery’s HGTV and Food Network launch in more than 30 new countries and territories combined, Discovery’s total revenues increased 6% to $11.144 billion. Net income for the year rose to $2.069 billion. TLC delivered its best year ever globally, improving both international share and viewership by 8%.

Discovery will report its next round of quarterly earnings on May 6.