ITV CEO, Top Executives Take Salary Cut Due to Pandemic

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ITV CEO Carolyn McCall

The annual bonus for executive directors and the whole management board has been canceled, and "there will be no cash bonus payable to them in respect of the company's performance in 2020."

U.K. TV giant ITV said Friday that CEO Carolyn McCall and other management board members and directors will take salary and other compensation cuts amid the new coronavirus pandemic. 

The annual bonus for executive directors and the whole management board has been canceled, and "there will be no cash bonus payable to them in respect of the company's performance in 2020," the company said. "A voluntary 20 percent reduction in base salary for the executive directors and management board for the duration of the current government-imposed lockdown. In the event that the lockdown continues beyond 30 June 2020, the [committee in charge] will review this matter again at that time."

Beyond McCall, the executives affected by the measures include the likes of ITV CFO Chris Kennedy, ITV Studios managing director Julian Bellamy and ITV director of television Kevin Lygo. McCall earned a £3.7 million salary ($4.5 million at current exchange rates) in 2018. Her 2019 base salary was that year set to increase by 2.5 percent to nearly £3.8 million salary ($4.65 million).

In addition, non-executive directors of ITV's board, such as chairman Peter Bazalgette, will take a 20 percent reduction in their fees for the same period of time.

"In addition, as part of the cost-saving measures ITV has introduced, it has already put in place a recruitment and salary freeze across the company," ITV also said on Friday, adding it "continues to closely monitor the impact of coronavirus on the ITV group, recognizing that circumstances continue to change rapidly and that further measures may be necessary."

Last week, ITV said it would pull its dividend and make other cost savings, including in program spending, amid the coronavirus, which it said has had an "increasing" impact on its advertising revenue. It said the moves announced back then would help boost its cash reserves by more than 300 million pounds ($350 million), giving it more financial flexibility.

Friday's compensation cuts made ITV the latest media and entertainment giant to unveil such measures. 

The Walt Disney Co. on March 30 said that executive chairman Bob Iger will forgo his entire salary, and recently named CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50 percent pay cut to his base salary amid the pandemic. The news came days after the company decided to keep all North American theme parks closed until further notice. Other executives at Disney will also take salary cuts.

Iger has been among the top paid executives in the entertainment and media sector. In the latest fiscal year, he earned $47.5 million as chairman and CEO, down from $65.6 million in the fiscal year 2018. Chapek's pay cut applies to his base salary as CEO, which is $2.5 million.

Exhibition giant Cinemark also said on March 30 that CEO Mark Zoradi and the cinema chain's board of directors would be forgoing their salaries amid the virus crisis, while also mandating deep pay reductions for all U.S. corporate employees. 

Among the rank and file, Cinemark employees will work reduced hours and make no more than 50 percent of their salary. At the same time, they will maintain full benefits.