A recent WWE Proxy Statement filing to the SEC reveals salaries for top executives, including the McMahon family.
The following base salaries were included in the filing:
* WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon – $2 million in 2022 (up from $1.4 million in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018)
* WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan – $1.2 million in 2022 (equal with 2021 and 2020)
* WWE Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development Paul “Triple H” Levesque – $730,000 in 2022 ($730,000 in 2021, $730,000 in 2020, $710,000 in 2019, $684,125 in 2018, $650,000 in 2017)
* WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon – $730,000 in 2022 ($730,000 in 2021, $730,000 in 2020, $710,000 in 2019, $684,125 in 2018)
* WWE Chief Financial & Administrative Officer Frank A. Riddick III – $850,000 in 2022 (equal with 2021)
It’s interesting to note that Triple H and Stephanie have received the same base salary for a while now. They both also have talent contracts that they are paid from.
The filing also reveals the full compensation for the previous year, which includes Salary, Stock Awards, Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation, and All Other Compensation. The following 2021 figures were listed:
* Vince McMahon – $5,051,547 in 2021 ($1,400,000 Salary; $1,671,260 Stock Awards; $1,960,000 Non-Equity Incentive Plan; $20,287 All Other) This is up from a total of $3,905,792 in 2020 and $3,503,703 in 2020.
* Nick Khan – $5,706,871 in 2021 ($1,200,000 Salary; $1,814,470 Stock Awards; $2,660,000 Non-Equity Incentive Plan; $32,401 All Other) This is down from a total of $12,964,565 in 2020, which would’ve included a sign-on bonus and other figures related to his first year with the company.
* Paul Levesque – $2,841,544 in 2021 ($730,000 Salary; $583,523 Stock Awards; $511,000 Non-Equity Incentive Plan; $1,017,021 All Other) This is up from $2,318,280 in 2020, and down from $3,328,092 in 2019. This also includes performer pay.
* Stephanie McMahon – $2,592,205 in 2021 ($730,000 Salary; $583,523 Stock Awards; $511,000 Non-Equity Incentive Plan; $767,682 All Other). This is up from $2,187,266 in 2020 and $2,027,248 in 2019. This also includes performer pay.
* Frank A. Riddick III – $6,636,557 in 2021 ($134,038 Salary; $5,189,329 Stock Awards; $130,085 Non-Equity Incentive Plan; $1,183,105 All Other) This is up from $1,009,719 in 2020.
The “All Other” for Triple H and Stephanie is mostly made up of compensation for their talent contracts. Even though they weren’t regular TV performers in 2021 and both did not wrestle, most of this pay is likely made up of downside minimum guarantees.
The filing also reveals that Shane McMahon made $1,313,823 in 2021, a year where he only wrestled once – the No Holds Barred match against Braun Strowman at WrestleMania 37. Shane received $820,369 in 2020, a year he did not wrestle. While Shane is not a WWE executive and hasn’t been since 2009, WWE is required to include his compensation because he is a member of the McMahon Family. Shane is also no longer a shareholder.
The filing notes that the median WWE employee made $118,276 in 2021. Vince made a salary of 43 times that number in 2021, which is referred to as the “CEO Pay Ratio” in the filing. The median pay the year before was $102,577, and Vince made 38 times that.
Vince’s pay mentioned above does not include the large dividend payments he receives from being a shareholder. Vince is the largest WWE shareholder by far, currently holding 28,737,689 shares. Vince made $13.8 million in dividend payments in 2021 as the company pays a 12 cents dividend each quarter.
The filing also includes the following statements on Vince, Khan and Riddick:
We have an amended and restated employment agreement with our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vincent K. McMahon, under which we pay him an annual salary and he is entitled to participate in our Management Incentive Plan. Mr. McMahon also receives performance stock units as a part of our normal grant for employees. This agreement was recently amended to provide that his salary for 2022 is set at an annual rate of $2 million, his bonus target opportunity under the Incentive Plan is to be between 100% and 400% of his salary, with his bonus target for 2022 to be 250% of his salary, and his target equity for 2022 (in the form of performance stock units under the Incentive Plan) is $11 million. See “Narrative Disclosure to Summary Compensation Table and Grants of Plan-Based Awards Table.”
The Company also has an employment agreement with Mr. Khan pursuant to which he receives a current annual salary of $1,200,000. He is eligible to participate in the Company’s management incentive plan with a targeted annual incentive award of the greater of 158% of his salary or $1,900,000. In addition, Mr. Khan received a sign-on bonus of $5,000,000, which is subject to certain repayment requirements if he voluntarily leaves the Company without good reason or is terminated for cause as follows: (i) within the first 12 months, Mr. Khan would have been required to reimburse the Company the full $5,000,000; (ii) between 12-24 months, Mr. Khan would be required to reimburse the Company $3,100,000; and (iii) between 24-36 months, Mr. Khan would be required to reimburse the Company $1,200,000. In addition, Mr. Khan became eligible to receive sign-on grants of performance stock units of the Company’s Class A common stock under the Incentive Plan valued at $15,000,000 which, subject to satisfaction of certain performance metrics, would vest 40% in September 2022 and 60% in September 2025 These special grants were recently amended to increase the second tranche from a target of $9,000,000 to a target of $16,500,000 (with the first tranche of his target incentive award vesting September 2022 remaining unchanged). The second tranche will be granted on or around October 1, 2022 and has performance tests ending September 30, 2025, at which time the shares, adjusted as a result of performance, would vest. He is also eligible to participate in the Company’s performance stock program under the Incentive Plan with a targeted annual equity award (in PSUs), beginning in 2022, of $3.575 million. If Mr. Khan is terminated by the Company without cause prior to the fifth anniversary of his employment start date, he would be entitled to receive his then-current salary for the remainder of such five-year term and a prorated portion of his incentive bonus for the year in which the termination occurs. The special grants, to the extent not vested, are forfeited on any termination of Mr. Khan’s job. Mr. Khan also receives health and welfare and other benefits generally available to other executive officers of the Company.
The Company also has entered into an employment agreement with Frank A. Riddick, III, pursuant to which he serves as our Chief Financial and Administrative Officer. His employment agreement provides that Mr. Riddick receives an annual salary of $850,000 and a one-time $1.0 million cash sign-on bonus payment, which is subject to certain repayment requirements. In addition, Mr. Riddick is eligible to participate in the Company’s Incentive Plan under which he has a targeted annual bonus of 70% of his salary, which was prorated in respect of 2021. Riddick is also eligible to receive equity awards under the Incentive Plan. His initial annual target incentive equity award is equal to 100% of his base salary, which was prorated in respect of 2021. Riddick received a sign-on inducement grant of restricted stock units under the Incentive Plan valued at $ 5.0 million. These restricted stock units will vest in equal installments over four years beginning in June 2022. Riddick also will be eligible to participate in future equity award programs and health and welfare and other benefits generally available to other officers of the Company. In the event the Company terminates his employment without “cause” or he terminates his employment for “good reason” (as those terms are defined in his employment agreement), Mr. Riddick would be eligible to receive as severance (i) a payment in an amount equal to the sum of his base salary and annual bonus based on target performance for the year in which the termination occurs and (ii) a prorated portion of the annual bonus he would have otherwise earned for the year in which the termination occurs. In addition, if his employment terminates for these reasons, or if he dies or becomes disabled, his sign-on restricted stock units would vest.
While we generally attempt to avoid entering into employment agreements with our other executives, we have individual severance arrangements with many of our executive officers including certain of our named executive officers, which provide for a specified period of severance in the event of an involuntary termination of employment without cause. The Company also has a severance plan for all eligible employees (generally full-time employees and part-time employees who regularly work in excess of 30-hour weeks and, in either case, have at least one year of employment with the Company) which provides for severance in the case of involuntary termination of employment without cause, ranging, depending on length of service, from a minimum of four weeks to a maximum of one year. The employee also would be entitled to a prorated bonus for the year of termination (assuming the Company meets its performance tests), at rates to be determined, if his or her termination occurs after July 1 of the year. Employee health insurance is also provided during the severance period. The Company believes that these severance arrangements are important for the Company to attract and retain high caliber employees.
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