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DirecTV CEO White Triples 2012 Compensation to $18M

DirecTV chairman and CEO Michael White received $18 million in total compensation in 2012, more than three times his take in the previous year, but nearly half the $32 million the executive gained in 2010.

White, who joined DirecTV in 2010, received a slight increase in annual salary from $1.5 million to $1.6 million for the year, but his biggest windfall came in the form of option awards -- $12 million in 2012 versus none in 2011. White also bagged $4 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation in 2012, slightly higher than $3.9 million received in 2011.

While the CEO received a big increase, it was still far below the $32 million in total compensation he received in 2010, according to the proxy. That year, White received $12 million in option awards and $14.7 million in stock awards.

White has been an outspoken critic of rising programming prices and DirecTV was one of the first distributors to implement a monthly RSN surcharge to offset rising sports costs last year.

DirecTV has been a strong performer – it added 662,000 net new subscribers in 2012 and its stock price rose 17.3 % for the year. The stock is up about 9% so far this year. During White’s tenure DirecTV has transitioned from a subscriber growth engine to a company more focused on profitability.

DirecTV Latin America CEO Bruce Churchill, who heads up one of DirecTV’s biggest growth engines, saw his total compensation nearly double in 2012 to $10.1 million from $5.9 million in 2011. Churchill received an annual salary of $1.4 million, slightly above the $1.3 million he received in 2011. Churchill’s biggest bump came in the form of stock awards -- $5.4 million in 2012 vs. about $2 million in the previous year.

Rounding out the executive ranks were EVP and chief financial officer Patrick Doyle ($4.9 million in total compensation, up 22.5% from 2011); EVP and general counsel Larry Hunter ($6.9 million in total compensation up 19% from 2011) and EVP of operations Michael Palkovic ($4.6 million, up 12.2% from the previous year).