Discovery CEO made over $246 million in 2021 thanks to bumper stock options

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President and CEO of Discovery David Zaslav speaks during the Discovery portion of the Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills

– Discovery Inc Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav’s total pay package surged to about $246.6 million in 2021, a filing on Monday showed, with more than three-quarters of that coming from stock options.

Zaslav’s compensation rose more than 550% in 2021 and included option awards valued at $202.9 million.

The one-time options grant extends over seven years, at strike prices of $35.65 or greater, according to a Discovery spokesman, which means Zaslav would receive a payout only after fueling a substantial surge in the share price. Discovery’s stock closed Monday at $23.88.

Zaslav negotiated an extension of his employment contract in May, after Discovery announced its $43 billion acquisition of AT&T’s WarnerMedia. The executive, who will lead the new Warner Bros Discovery, agreed to remain through December 2027.

The deal is on track to close in the second quarter this year. Last month, it passed the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust review, clearing another key hurdle toward finishing the deal.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru and Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; Editing by Devika Syamnath, Bernard Orr)

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