Charter Communications chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge extended his employment contract with the cable company through 2024, seeing his annual salary increase by about 25% to $2.5 million.
Rutledge, who joined Charter in 2012, has helped steer the company through the purchase of Time Warner Cable in 2016 and transformed the cable operator into one of the premier pure play distribution companies in the sector. Charter stock is up about 20% this year and has risen nearly ten-fold since he joined the company. S hares were up 4.2% ($24 each) to $600 per share in early trading Thursday. His old employment deal was set to expire at the end of this year.
“More time in the salt mine,” Rutledge joked about his new employment deal on a conference call Thursday to discuss Q3 results, where the company continued its torrid growth streak, adding 537,000 broadband customers and 67,000 video customers.
As part of his new deal, Rutledge’s annual salary will rise 25% to $2.5 million from $2 million. In addition, he will be eligible for an annual cash bonus of up to 300% of his annual base salary. On Nov. 3, he will also receive $30 million in stock option awards, and will receive the same amount annually in each year of his employment deal. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on the employment deal, each stock option grant will vest on the third anniversary of the grant date, subject to Rutledge’s continued employment or an earlier qualifying termination of service.
In the event that he is terminated involuntarily without cause, Rutledge would receive cash severance of 2.5 times his annual base salary and bonus, a prorated annual bonus for that year, a cash payment equal to the cost of COBRA coverage for 30 months, and continued vesting of the stock options awarded during the term of the agreement.
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