Charter Communications chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge received $38.8 million in total compensation in 2020, a period where the company broke records in broadband subscriber growth and its stock price rose 35%, according to the company’s annual proxy statement filed Thursday.
According to the filing, Rutledge’s base salary rose slightly to $2.1 million from $2 million, but he received $30 million in option awards in 2020 after not receiving any in the previous two years. Rutledge signed a new employment agreement in October that will keep him chairman and CEO at least through 2024. Overall, Rutledge’s total compensation was $37.7 million, nearly five times the $8.7 million he received in 2019.
Charter added more than 2 million broadband customers in 2020, a new record fueled by work-at-home orders as a result of the pandemic. In 2020, Charter’s stock price rose about 35% from $485.08 on Dec. 31 2019 to $653.49 on Dec. 31 2020.
Chief operating officer John Bickham also received a big windfall in the form of option awards -- $31. 5 million -- in the period, pushing his total compensation for the year to $36.5 million. Bickham, who said in February that he will retire at the end of 2022, received about $5 million in total compensation in 2019.
Other senior executives that saw big increases in compensation were chief financial officer Christopher Winfrey, who received $11.2 million in total compensation (up from $2.5 million in the prior year), and senior executive VP David Ellen, whose total haul rose from $3.3 million in 2019 to $10.8 million in 2020. Winfrey received $8.1 million in option awards and Ellen received $6.75 million in option awards during the year.
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