Even though 84-year-old Rupert Murdoch has been hit with a 41% cut to his pay packet at News Corp for the year to June, he will still be one of the most highly paid US CEOs/chairs – ditto in Australia. Thanks to a loss in the year to June and a 19% drop in the share price, Rupert Murdoch ended up “poorer” this year — at News Corp that is. But he was still paid US$5.1 million (more than A$7.2 million) for overseeing a weak year for one of the family’s two listed companies (the other is 21st Century Fox).

In the SEC filing, News revealed that Murdoch earned US$1 million in salary for the company’s 2014-15 year, and another US$4.1 million in stock awards and bonuses. In 2013-14, Murdoch earned US$8.7 million from News Corp, the home of his newspaper and publishing assets, so his pay packet last financial year was 41% lower. News Corp shares fell 19% in 2014-15, and are down another 6.5% since then to the close this morning. The shares were down 3.7% in Wall Street’s big sell-off this morning.

News Corp’s 2014-015 proxy statement for its annual meeting later in the year, released overnight, reveals that Murdoch and his CEO at News, Robert Thomson, took big pay cuts in the year to June. The filing also reveals another attempt will be made to end the company’s dual-share structure with voting and non-voting shares. The proposal nearly succeeded at the 2014 meeting. The Murdoch family control 39% of voting shares, despite only owning around 14% of all the company’s shares. Naturally, the Murdoch friendly News board is recommending that investors vote against the proposal.

In June, News approved a three year extension of a shareholder rights plan, also known as a “poison pill”, designed to defeat unwanted takeover attempts.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey