Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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Caesars Awards CEO $29 Million After Emerging From Bankruptcy

  • Casino firm repriced options for Frissora, other executives
  • Company’s shares gained 49% last year, beating Russell 2000

Caesars Entertainment Corp. awarded its chief executive officer $29.4 million in compensation for 2017, the year the casino operator emerged from bankruptcy.

Mark Frissora received a $2 million salary, $4.5 million cash bonus, $16.5 million in retention-restricted stock, a long-term cash award of $6 million and $400,000 for repriced options, the Las Vegas-based company said Tuesday in a regulatory filing.

Mark Frissora

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Repricing options isn’t considered a best corporate practice, according to the Council of Institutional Investors, and Caesars said it plans to stop doing so as of May. But to enhance retention during restructuring, the compensation committee -- acting without investor approval -- reduced the strike price for all awards to $9.45 a share.

Frissora, Chief Financial Officer Eric Hession, Global President of Destination Markets Thomas Jenkin and legal chief Timothy Donovan had a total of 1.2 million options with strike prices between $11.51 and $21.18 as of December 2016, according to a regulatory filing last year. The committee also amended certain change-in-control provisions for the executives’ long-term incentives.

Caesars’s shares have slid 13 percent this year to $10.93 at 10:41 a.m. in New York. The stock gained 49 percent last year, outpacing the 13 percent advance of the Russell 2000 Index.

The repricing allowed the company to offer equity-based pay without granting new awards, which were restricted during restructuring, according to Tuesday’s filing. The company also awarded each executive long-term cash awards of $6 million to $1.08 million in March 2017 that pay out over two to three years.

They received retention stock grants of $3 million to $16.5 million after the firm emerged from Chapter 11 protection on Oct. 6. Caesars said the awards are consistent with practices of other companies that have gone through bankruptcy. The shares vest over four years.

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