Former CBS CEO Joe Ianniello Earns $125 Million Exit Package

Joe Ianniello - Publicity - H 2019
John Filo

Meanwhile, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish received $8.3 million after the close of the merger.

ViacomCBS disclosed the compensation for its top executives, in its first proxy filing since merging the two Redstone family-controlled companies last year.

CEO Bob Bakish received $8.3 million after the close of the merger Dec. 4. His annualized target compensation is $31.5 million, but the filing also listed his overall 2019 pay as nearly $36.6 million.

Meanwhile, former CBS CEO Joe Ianniello, who parted ways with the company at the end of January, received his full separation fee of $125.4 million, the filing shows.

Ianniello's hefty payout was the result of a contract extension he signed last year that ran into 2021, as well as a clause in a prior contract that stipulated he would be in line for a bonus if he was not named CEO of the company. Bakish, ultimately, was named CEO of the combined company, while Ianniello led the CBS assets until departing earlier this year. George Cheeks succeeded Ianniello as head of the CBS businesses.

Viacom disclosed Bakish and Ianniello's compensation in a regulatory filing. According to a previous merger filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he will be eligible for $31.5 million in compensation as CEO of ViacomCBS, split between a $3.1 million salary, annual equity grants valued at $16 million and an annual bonus valued at $12.4 million. The final compensation will fluctuate based on performance and stock price. Bakish will also receive a onetime restricted stock units grant valued at $5 million.

The Redstone family's National Amusements controls about 80 percent of the voting shares of ViacomCBS. Shari Redstone serves as chair.

Bakish, who become permanent CEO of Viacom in December 2016, has said ViacomCBS will look to drive growth from its TV audience reach, increased size, its growing TV production business and new revenue streams. "This is a historic moment for us, and it’s come at exactly the right time in this quickly evolving media landscape," he wrote in a memo after the deal closed. "Demand has never been higher for what we do best: create and deliver culture-defining content and experiences."

But the first earnings report for the combined ViacomCBS disappointed Wall Street, with its stock dropping 18 percent on that day.