Is the oily nimbus of greed that has of late ensorcelled the House of Luce resolved itself into a dew? In 2004 Dick Parsons had a total compensation of $16.2 million. In 2005 — the year Parsons fended off the formidable Carl Icahn — the Time Warner CEO’s salary declined to a mere $16 million. Last year, however, Parsons’s salary increased, and Bloomberg — of all places — thinks that he deserves it. From Bloomberg’s compensation expert Graef Crystal(via IWantMedia):
”Parsons total pay in 2006 was $18.3 million. That’s also what my multiple regression pay model showed was a competitive level of pay. Time Warner’s total return last year was 26 percent, significantly more than the S&P 500’s return.
”The Time Warner board compensation committee is doing what it should do: riding herd on the pay of top executives. Gone are the days when Steve Ross, who was chairman of Warner Communications and then head of the merged Warner and Time Inc., could automatically collect gargantuan compensation. And Gerald Levin, who succeeded Ross, was no slouch himself when it came to excessive pay.”
The Los Angeles Business Journal in 2001 noted that Levin — who helmed the disastrous AOL-Time Warner merger — made, on average, $45 million. Steve Ross, infamous for his high pay culture, walked away with $193 million in cash and stock-based compensation from the 1989 Time Warner merger.