Disney Nixes Bonuses for Top Executives as It Details 2020 Compensation

The Walt Disney Co. has disclosed the executive compensation for CEO Bob Chapek and executive chairman Bob Iger for the company’s latest fiscal year, which ended on Oct. 3.

It was a very unusual year, the first in which Chapek led the company, and with nearly every part of Disney’s business impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The company says that “in light of the company’s circumstances this year,” all of its top executives would forgo their bonuses, in addition to the salary cuts announced last summer.

Chapek, who was elevated to the CEO role in late February, has been with the company since 1993 and previously worked as chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since 2018. His compensation package for the most recent fiscal year totaled $14.1 million, reflecting the challenges of the pandemic and an overall pay package that is smaller than Iger’s.

Related Stories

Iger’s compensation for the most recent fiscal year amounted to $21 million, compared with $47.5 million for the previous fiscal year and $65.6 million in fiscal 2018, which was boosted by a stock package that Iger was awarded as incentive to remain with the company past his originally planned retirement date.

Related Video

Disney disclosed top executives’ compensation in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All of the company’s top executives saw their compensation decline significantly compared to the year prior.

In a letter to shareholders, Disney’s compensation committee wrote that the company’s 2020 compensation plan was “made to motivate executives and recognize them for their unwavering efforts and leadership throughout the pandemic, while taking into account the pandemic’s impact on the financial performance of the Company and the broader employee workforce … the Committee considered this backdrop in determining compensation for the Company’s executives, including taking action to meaningfully reduce NEO compensation and further incorporating ESG metrics for diversity and inclusion into executives’ go-forward compensation structures.”

Both Chapek and Iger took pay cuts amid the pandemic. Last week Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti also revealed that Iger and his wife, USC Annenberg dean Willow Bay, have donated $5 million to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

The compensation packages also reflect the change in leadership at Disney, with Iger handing day-to-day control to Chapek nearly a year ago. As executive chairman, Iger has been focusing his efforts on Disney’s content efforts, particularly for its streaming platforms. Iger has also been discussed as a potential ambassador for the incoming Biden administration, either to China or the U.K.

It was also an important year for Disney strategically, even as the novel coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the company’s businesses, shuttering its theme parks, cruise ships, and TV and film productions, while speeding up the shift toward streaming, which the company is leaning into via Disney+ and Hulu.

At an investor day held last month, Disney announced that Disney+ passed 86 million subscribers, and laid the groundwork for dozens of original movies and TV shows to debut on the service.

At the same time, Disney took a $7 billion hit on its theme parks business, and laid off some 32,000 employees due to the pandemic’s impact.

“As CEO, and during one of the most challenging environments the Company has faced, Mr. Chapek adeptly managed the enormous disruption to the Company’s business, while at the same time restructuring Disney’s media and entertainment businesses to fuel the long-term creative and financial growth of the Company,” the compensation committee wrote in its letter. “For his part, Mr. Iger did a tremendous job of overseeing the creative output of the Company to help fuel the successful launch of Disney+ and to position our DTC platforms for future success.”