EchoStar chief's pay package revealed

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DENVER -- Charles Ergen, founder and chief executive of satellite television provider EchoStar Communications Corp., received a compensation package the company valued at $1.4 million last year, according to an analysis of a regulatory filing stated Thursday.

Ergen, also chairman of the Dish Network operator, earned $550,000 in salary and additional compensation valued at $858,171 for such items as personal use of the company jet and tax preparation services, EchoStar reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The CEO declined to accept distributions that he otherwise would have qualified for under a 2006 cash incentive plan and did not receive a bonus.

The details were disclosed a little more than a month after EchoStar said its fourth-quarter net income rose 15% as it signed up more customers and increased revenue per subscriber.

Its stock has been trading near the high end of its 52-week range, closing down 6 cents to $44.71 a share Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. In the past year, the price has ranged from $29.32 a share to $44.87 a share.

In addition, EchoStar said it paid Ergen's wife, Cantey, and two other members of their family a combined total of $80,000 last year for company-related work.

The Associated Press calculates total executive pay including salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and options awards granted during the year. The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits or the company's cost of stock and options granted before 2006, and the figures can differ from the company's total.

EchoStar, the nation's second-largest satellite TV company with about 13.1 million subscribers, also set its annual meeting on May 8 at its headquarters in suburban Denver.

Among the proposals before shareholders are an election of board directors, the ratification of an independent auditor.
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