More on WWE compensation and employee agreement for top executives
As noted, WWE filed a proxy statement on Tuesday that revealed base salaries for WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan, Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, and Chief Financial Officer Kristina Salen.
The SEC filing also included employment and booking agreement details for Khan, Vince, Triple H, Stephanie, and Shane McMahon.
Triple H is under a booking agreement that runs until March 30, 2022. After that it will extend for successive one year periods unless either party gives notice of non-extension. Under the agreement, Triple H is entitled to a minimum guaranteed annual payment of $1 million, which WWE is entitled to recoup from all payments under the agreement, including pay for performing in live and TV events, and royalties for merchandise sold with Triple H’s name and/or likeness.
Stephanie’s booking agreement runs until October 6, 2021 and also extends for successive one year periods after that, unless either party terminates the agreement. Stephanie is entitled to a minimum guaranteed annual payment of $750,000, which WWE is entitled to recoup from all payments under the agreement, including pay for performing in live events and TV events, and royalties for merchandise sold with Stephanie’s name and/or likeness.
The filing also reveals that Shane was retained as a performer in 2020, and received minimum guaranteed performance fees and royalties of approximately $820,369.
The filing detailed the Khan agreement also, which runs for five years. Khan receives an annual base salary of $1.2 million, and is eligible for the management incentive plan. He also received a sign-on bonus of $5 million, which is various terms. Khan’s contract details were first reported in August 2020 shortly after he signed with the company.
Vince’s amended and restated employment agreement with WWE currently runs through December 31, 2021, but automatically extend for successive one year periods unless either party gives notice of termination. Under the agreement, Vince is entitled to salary, currently in the amount of $1.4 million subject to increase in the discretion of the Compensation & Human Capital Committee. Vince is also entitled to participate in WWE’s incentive bonus plan with an annual target bonus of 100% salary. He also receives performance stock units as a part of WWE’s normal grant to its employees. The agreement includes additional terms, such as termination stipulations, but also includes a non-compete clause that would prevent Vince from working with any of WWE’s competitors during employment and for one year after termination, as if that would ever be an issue. The agreement did allow Vince to participate in the ownership and operations of the XFL football league, which has since been sold.
Vince’s agreement also allows members of his immediate family to use the WWE jet for personal travel when it is not being used for company business purposes. Personal use of the jet is paid for by Vince, so that no incremental cost is incurred by WWE.
The filing includes more information on income, past the base salaries that we reported on Tuesday.
Vince earned a total of $3,905,792 in 2020. This consists of the $1,394,614 base salary, $1,636,594 in stock awards, $854,000 in incentives, and $20,583 in other compensations. This total is down from the $3,503,703 in 2019, and $5,658,238 in 2018.
The SEC requires a CEO-employee pay ratio disclosure. Vince’s total compensation of $3,905,792 was a 38-to-1 ratio of the total compensation for the median WWE employee, which is $102,577.
Triple H earned a total of $2,318,280 in 2020. This includes the $724,115 base salary, $222,650 in incentives, $464,778 in stock awards, and $906,737 in other compensation from merchandise and his performer’s contract. This total is down from the $3,328,092 he earned in 2019, and down from the $5,031,459 he earned in 2018.
Stephanie earned a total of $2,187,266 in 2020. This includes her $724,115 base salary, $222,650 in incentives, $464,778 in stock awards, and $775,723 in other compensation from merchandise and her performer’s contract. This is up from the $2,027,248 she earned in 2019.
Khan earned a total of $12,964,565 in 2020. This consists of the $498,462 base salary, $6,799,138 in stock awards, $471,823 in incentives, and $5,195,142 in other compensation.
Salen earned a total of $977,920 in 2020. This includes $365,000 in base salary, $500,023 in stock awards, $108,892 in incentives, and $4,005 in other compensation.
Former Interim Chief Financial Officer Frank A Riddick, III, who briefly held the position from February until August 2020, but remains on the Board of Directors, made $1,009,719 in 2020. This includes his $782,667 base salary, $53,842 in stock awards, and $173,210 in other compensation.
Regarding the WWE Board of Directors, new members include former ESPN Executive Vice President Connor Schell and Steve Koonin, CEO of the State Farm Arena in Atlanta and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. The filing also includes 2020 compensation for the Board of Directors.
Stuart U. Goldfarb was paid a total of $224,516 in 2020. That includes $119,222 of feed earned or paid in cash, plus $105,295 in stock awards.
Patricia A. Gottesman, who left the Board on April 16 of last year, was paid a total of $60,210. That includes $32,827 in fees and $27,383 in stock awards.
Erika Nardini, who joined the Board on October 1, was paid $51,955. That includes $22,500 in fees, and $29,455 in stock awards.
Laureen Ong was paid $208,884 in 2020. That includes $103,590 in fees earned or paid in cash, plus $105,295 in stock awards.
Steve Pamon, who joined the Board on September 1, was paid $67,916 in 2020. That includes $29,841 in fees earned or paid in cash, and $38,075 in stock.
Robyn W. Peterson was paid $198,884 in 2020. That includes $93,590 in Board fees, and $105,294 in stock awards.
Riddick was paid $120,145 in Board compensation for 2020. That includes $66,303 in fees, and $53,842 in stock awards.
Man Jit Singh was paid $206,384 in Board compensation last year. That includes $101,090 in fees, and $105,294 in stock.
Jeffrey R. Speed was paid $236,384 in 2020 Board compensation. This includes $131,090 in fees, and $105,294 in stock awards.
Alan M. Wexler was paid $201,384 in 2020 Board compensation. This includes $96,090 in fees earned or paid in cash, plus $105,294 in stock awards.
The filing also notes that since the beginning of early 2020, WWE has paid Khan’s former employer, Creative Artists Agency, LLC, and/or its affiliates, an aggregate of $5.8 million for commissions on certain licenses and management recruitment fees.
It was also revealed that Vince owns 92.3% of WWE’s Class B shares of stock.