Smit's Charter Deal Has Rich Potential

New Charter CEO Neil Smit could be in for a giant payday if he manages to lift the ailing cable operator’s stock even a few dollars per share. A look at the former AOL executive’s employment deal, filed with the SEC, shows that Smit’s base salary starts at $1.2 million, with a raise to $1.4 million after three years.

If Smit meets certain performance goals, his target bonus starts at 125% of salary, but can go up to 200%. In other words, he could collecting $3.6 million in combined salary and bonus anually after the first year. Smit’s shot at another hefty payoff comes in the form of Charter common stock, currently trading at just $1 a share. Through various grants and bonuses, Smit’s package gives him an opportunity for 6.7 million shares plus options for another 3.3 million. So each dollar increase in ailing Charter’s stock price would potentially be worth $10 million to Smit. This is a far more lucrative deal than his predecessor, Carl Vogel, received. Until he was pushed out earlier this year, SEC filings show that Vogel’s base salary started at $1 million, but his bonus was capped at $500,000. Vogel had options on 3.4 million shares but a mere 50,000 shares of restricted stock.