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Blockbuster CEO Paid Less than Antioco in 2007

16 Apr, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Blockbuster Inc. CEO Jim Keyes may have grandiose plans to transition the rental chain into an entertainment retail behemoth with the proposed acquisition of Circuit City, but his compensation plan paled in comparison to his predecessor.

Keyes, who was named chairman of the board and CEO last July following the departure of former CEO John Antioco, earned about $346,000 in 2007 salary plus a bonus exceeding $254,000 as part of a $5.6 million compensation plan, according to an April 15 proxy filing.

By comparison, Antioco earned salary and deferred compensation above $1.1 million as part of an $11.6 million pay package in 2007. His annual base salary was above $1.2 million, down from $2.6 million in 2006.

The former CEO, who quit due in part to a dispute with the board over his compensation, received $7.3 million as part of his “conclusion” payment.

The Dallas-based No. 1 DVD rental chain this year became one of the first public companies to allow shareholders to weigh-in with non-binding input on executive compensation.

Blockbuster's largest shareholder, Carl Icahn, in 2005 publicly feuded with Antioco over the executive's compensation, which resulted in the dissident investor being elected to the board.

Keyes annual salary is $750,000 and he is eligible to earn as much as $500,000 in bonuses payable in common stock. When becoming CEO, Keyes was also given stock options totaling more than 7.7 million shares, including $3 million in restricted shares.

The former 7-Eleven chief has stated a desire to be viewed as an investor and executive in Blockbuster. He has bought millions in common stock with his own money.

Blockbuster will hold its annual shareholder meeting May 28 in New York.

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