Charter CEO Tom Rutledge Made $98.5 Million in 2016

Tom Rutledge - backstage at The New York Times DealBook - Getty-H 2017
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

That's up sharply from $16.4 million in compensation for 2015, with the jump coming mostly from option awards.

Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge received $98.5 million for his services in 2016, up sharply from $16.4 million he earned in the prior year.

The massive increase in compensation last year was due to nearly $80 million in option awards, and just over $10 million in stock awards, according to a regulatory filing released on Thursday. Rutledge received $999,925 in stock awards and $9 million in option awards in fiscal 2015.

During each of the last two years, the cable giant's topper earned a base salary of $2 million. His compensation jump also coincided with Charter closing the acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House to become the second-largest U.S. cable operator.

Rutledge's compensation for the current year could get sweeter if market speculation that telecom giant Verizon will combine with Charter, in which John Malone's Liberty Media owns a big stake, comes to pass.

On May 17, 2016, Rutledge renewed his contract with Charter for another five years, with his base salary remaining at $2 million during the term. He's also able to earn a target bonus equal to 300 percent of his base salary.

The SEC filing also revealed president and COO John Bickham received $47.4 million in compensation in 2016, up from total earnings of $8.7 million in 2015, again due mostly to option awards.

And senior executive vp David Ellen earned just over $22 million last year, which included $17.8 million in option awards.