David
Leckie, the CEO of the Seven Network, is well placed
to ride the recovery in the network’s TV ratings, revenue and profit performance
that he has overseen, if a look through the company’s 2005 accounts, lodged with
the ASX Friday, is any guide.

On the
face of it Leckie’s pay fell in 2005, which wasn’t the
best of years for the network, with a terrible first half offset by the very
sharp rebound in the period January to June this year when pre-tax earnings
jumped 19%
.

The
accounts show that Leckie’s package was $1.715 million
in the year to June, with the biggest component being salary and fees of $1.242
million. That compared to the $2 million in 2004 when salary and fees totalled $1.173 million but he received options valued at
$1.184 million. The options were only valued at $456,334 in
2005.

But
Leckie exercised half his three million options during
the year at $5 a share. With Seven shares now at $8.70 today, close to an all
time high, he’s up a gross $5.5 million, with 1.5 million more options in the
money and the prospect of receiving another three million in a proposal to be
put to shareholders at the AGM later this year.

The
remaining 1.5 million of the original options are heavily in the money to the tune of
around $3 million. So you
could say that Leckie’s total pay in 2005 amounted to
more than $7.2 million from all sources, more than enough to make him the envy
of everyone left at the Nine Network.

Leckie also got a new contract that
will take him through to 2009. His base pay will be $1.275 million, he’s to be
entitled to bonuses and the three million options start vesting in 2007 with the
first 1.5 million at $8.50, so they are already in the money.

Bruce
McWilliam, Seven’s commercial director who at one
stage worked for the Packers years ago, received a total of $1.142 million,
including salary and fees of $855,772.

McWilliam is overseeing the C7 case
in the Federal Court, and has been involved in the AFL negotiations: so he’s
earned his money. He also exercised options during the year and has paper
profits of well over $3 million.

The
other former Nine staffer, news and Public Affairs
boss, Peter Meakin, received a total of $779,870,
compared to $779,759.

But the
most highly paid other Seven executive was Nick Chan, the publisher of Pacific
Magazines, who received a total of $1.009 million, thanks to $525,342 worth of
options on top of his base salary of $412,468.

Kerry
Stokes, who controls Seven, was paid $124,856 for being executive chairman. His
92 million plus shares are worth more than $800 million!

Peter Fray

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