Cablevision Execs Reap Big Paydays

Cablevision Systems CEO James Dolan and his father chairman and founder Charles Dolan each received nearly $6 million more in total compensation in 2012, fueled by big increases in stock option awards.

According to a proxy statement filed late Thursday, James Dolan received $16.9 million in total compensation in 2012, up $5.5 million or 48% for the year. Charles Dolan received $16.6 million in total compensation in 2012, up $5.6 million, or about 50% from the prior year.

Base salaries remained the same for both executives -- $1.75 million for James and $1.66 million for Charles Dolan – but the big difference came in option awards. Charles Dolan received $7.1 million in option awards in 2012 after receiving none in 2011. James Dolan reaped $6.9 million in option awards for the year. He received no option awards for 2011.

Other Cablevision executive fared well for the year. According to the proxy, vice chairman and chief financial officer Gregg Seibert received about $11 million in total compensation, up 69% from the $6.5 million he received in the prior year. EVP and general counsel David Ellen received a 34 % raise for the year from $3.8 million in 2011 to $5.1 million in 2012. SVP, deputy general counsel and secretary Victoria Salhus was the sole executive to see a decrease for the year. She netted $1.6 million in 2012, down 24% from the $2.1 million she received in 2011. Salhus’ base salary rose 3% to $530,000 for the year, but she did not receive a bonus, compared to the $761,771 bonus she received in 2011.

In a separate filing, Cablevision said it reached a new five-year employment agreement with James Dolan’s wife, Kristin, who was recently named president of Optimum Services. Dolan and her husband amicably separated earlier this year but are currently still married.

In her new role as president Optimum Services, Kristin Dolan will receive an annual salary of $1 million and be eligible for an annual target bonus of at least 100% of her base salary and will be entitled to participate in long-term cash and equity programs and arrangements made available to similarly situated executives such as the vice chairman, chief financial officer or senior vice presidents. Beginning in 2014, she also will be entitled to receive one or more long-term cash and or equity awards with a target of not less than $1 million.

Kristin also is entitled to receive at least $4 million in severance in the event she is terminated without cause from the company before her agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2017, according to the filing.