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Discovery CEO Stands to Make $110 Million in 2014 Pay

Discovery CEO David Zaslav
Discovery Communications Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Discovery Communications Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav stands to make more than $110 million in compensation in 2014, the first year of a new contract that keeps him at the cable-network giant through 2019.

Including salary of $3 million, $6.6 million in potential bonuses and more than 1 million performance-based restricted stock units, Zaslav’s compensation would reach about $110.1 million this year, based on the value of the shares at today’s close. The six-year contract extension lasts until Dec. 31, 2019, according to a statement today.

Zaslav, whose new contract started yesterday, joined Discovery in 2007 from NBCUniversal and helped take the company public the following year. Since then, he’s doubled its slate of cable networks and created a joint venture with Oprah Winfrey to start the OWN channel.

The contract will turn Zaslav into “a significant long-term shareholder in Discovery,” the Silver Spring, Maryland-based company said. He has committed to holding the majority of his equity from stock grants to term, Discovery said.

He also is slated to receive fewer performance-based restricted stock units after 2014, so future years’ compensation won’t be as high. Still, Zaslav’s bonus will increase by $600,000 each year until 2018.

‘Superb Job’

“David has done a superb job,” John Malone, a Discovery board member and the chairman of Liberty Media Corp., said in the statement. “He built a strong management team that has expanded the company’s reach and relevance, increased its market share domestically and around the world.”

Zaslav, a former attorney, was already one of the highest-paid media executives in the U.S. His compensation was valued at $49.9 million in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That made him second only to CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves, whose compensation was $62.2 million.

Discovery’s stock price has increased more than sixfold since Zaslav took the company public in 2008. He also expanded the company’s international operations and completed the acquisition of 12 television networks across Northern Europe for $1.7 billion.

His new employment agreement will end two weeks before he turns 60.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edmund Lee in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at

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