Discovery CEO David Zaslav's Contract Extended Through 2019

David Zaslav

Discovery Communications boss David Zaslav made $49.9 million in 2012, slightly below the $52.4 million that he had earned in 2011. But that was enough to see him yet again rank just behind Moonves in terms of compensation for bosses of big entertainment companies. The year-over-year drop was due to changes in the value of his stock options, even as the company’s shares rose more than 50 percent last year.

UPDATED: The executive has led the company since 2007.

Discovery Communications president and CEO David Zaslav has extended his contract through the end of 2019, it was announced Friday.

The executive, who has led the company since 2007, will be paid $3 million a year in base salary, according to an SEC filing. His target annual bonus for 2014 will be $6.6 million and will increase by $600,000 each year until 2018. For 2018 and 2019, Zaslav's target annual bonus will be $9 million.

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His new deal also includes various stock grants, such as performance-based units that will be earned based on the achievement of yearly performance metrics. Zaslav, whose employment agreement runs through Dec. 31, 2019, agreed to defer or hold at least 60 percent of his performance-based stock units until 2020 or after.

During Zaslav's time as CEO, the number of Discovery networks around the world has doubled from 100 to nearly 200, and the number of global subscribers has increased by more than 50 percent to 2.2 billion. Discovery's channels are distributed in more than 220 countries, making it the number one international pay TV programmer in the world.

Zaslav also oversaw the purchase of SBS Nordics in 2013, Discovery's largest acquisition, and an increase in the company's market capitalization from $6 billion to $30 billion since Discovery became fully public in 2008. The longtime CEO also oversaw the launch of OWN, the company's joint venture with Oprah Winfrey.

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"David has done a superb job. He built a strong management team that has expanded the company's reach and relevance, increased its market share domestically and around the world, and created a bigger, stronger portfolio of brands. We look forward to working with David to do more of the same over the next six years," Discovery director John Malone, who also serves as chairman of Liberty Media Corp., said in a statement.

Discovery founder and chairman John Hendricks added: "Securing David for the next six years recognizes his value to the enterprise and provides continuity, strong leadership, and his trademark high energy to Discovery for many years to come."

"I want to thank Discovery's visionary board of directors, best-in-class management team, our advertising and affiliate partners, and all of the passionate viewers around the world," Zaslav said in a statement. "It has been an amazing and successful seven years, and I am excited to have the opportunity to lead this great company for the rest of the decade. With the most creative and dynamic leadership team in the business, a talented and committed workforce, a strong financial position and an unmatched global platform, I am extraordinarily confident of Discovery's growth prospects for the years ahead."