Rupert Murdoch to Forgo Pay at News Corp Amid Virus Crisis

Rupert Murdoch
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch

The mogul will give up all of his cash bonus at his publishing company.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch will give up 100 percent of his cash bonus in the current fiscal year at News Corp, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, News U.K. and Australian pay-TV firm Foxtel, of which he is executive chairman, while News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson will forgo 75 percent of his bonus.

Thomson on Thursday revealed the compensation changes in a letter to shareholders released alongside the company's third-quarter earnings results.

"Clearly the pandemic will have an impact on our results in the fourth quarter, but all of our businesses are embarking on cost-cutting programs intended to deal with short-term need but also to ensure that the Company is well-equipped to prosper in a decidedly different business environment after the crisis abates," Thomson wrote.

"There will obviously be an impact on executive compensation, and it is worth noting that bonuses are often the largest cash component for our senior executives. Pay reductions will be led by our executive chairman, Rupert Murdoch, who is voluntarily forgoing his entire cash bonus for the current fiscal year, and as chief executive I will forgo 75 percent of my annual cash bonus," he added. "The collective cuts in bonuses and other cost initiatives will have a positive impact on profitability and our cash position.”

In the last fiscal year, Murdoch saw total compensation of just over $5 million, of which $2.2 million was a cash bonus. His base salary was $1 million. Thomson's cash bonus last year was $5.5 million.

The decision by Murdoch follows a move made last month at his other company, Fox Corp. Murdoch, along with his son Lachlan Murdoch, who serves as Fox's CEO, opted to forgo their entire salaries for the year. Unlike at News Corp, at Fox Corp. equity compensation makes up the bulk of executive pay, and that was not impacted.

As The Hollywood Reporter wrote this week, many media and entertainment CEOs have opted to give up their base salaries amid the pandemic, while retaining their equity compensation plans.