WMG re-signs, promotes Cohen


The Warner Music Group has re-signed Lyor Cohen for a five-year contract, and upped the executive to chairman and CEO of recorded music for North America from chairman and CEO of U.S. recorded music. As part of his new contract, Cohen gets a raise to $3 million from the previous $1.5 million annual salary level. In addition, his bonus is to range from a minimum of $1.5 million to $5 million.

The contract also awards Cohen 1,500,000 stock options and 1,750,000 performance-based restricted shares of WMG's common stock, with the latter shares being tied to WMG share-price performance.

Cohen's contract says that his stock options become fully vested if he is terminated due to a change in control of the company, and performance criteria are met. Meanwhile, the new contract for chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. also specifies his restricted stock shares are fully vested if he is terminated upon a change of control and performance criteria are met. But the Bronfman contract goes a step further and specifies that his shares fully vest if it is EMI that acquires a controlling interest in WMG.

Ed Christman is a senior correspondent for Billboard. (NY)