Gregory Maffei used to be the chief executive officer of one media company. Now he runs four -- and collects paychecks from all of them.
Maffei is CEO of Liberty Interactive Corp., Liberty Media Corp., Liberty Broadband Corp. and Liberty TripAdvisor Holdings Inc. His combined pay from those companies, which were spun off from billionaire John Malone’s former Liberty Media, was $57 million in 2014.
Malone, known for engineering complex and lucrative financial arrangements, has placed increasing trust in Maffei since he joined Liberty in 2005. He swapped his voting shares in Liberty TripAdvisor for Maffei’s common shares in December, giving the executive control of the company.
“Whenever Malone turns the keys over to one of his lieutenants, it’s always a show of faith,” said Amy Yong, an analyst at Macquarie Capital USA Inc. “Maffei has made the Malone family a lot of money.”
Maffei and two other Malone CEOs are the three best-paid media executives in the U.S. Maffei’s compensation is less than that of Discovery Communications Inc. CEO David Zaslav and Liberty Global Plc CEO Michael Fries, who also run companies in which Malone owns shares. The pair were awarded $94.9 and $86.7 million, respectively, in their most-recent fiscal years for which data is available, ranking them No. 7 and No. 8 on the Bloomberg Pay Index.
Whit Clay, a spokesman for the Liberty businesses, declined to comment beyond the companies’ filings.
Maffei’s compensation is comprised of mostly stock options. He received options valued at $30.4 million from Liberty Media, $10.9 million from Liberty Interactive, $4.13 million at Liberty TripAdvisor and $4.77 million at Liberty Broadband, at the companies’ Dec. 31 fiscal year end.
He only gets a salary, bonus and perks from Liberty Media and Liberty Interactive. His salary was a combined $1.82 million and cash bonuses were $6.12 million. He also incurred a total of $493,871 in costs tied to personal use of company aircraft.
Maffei sits on the boards of nine Liberty-affiliated companies. Four of those -- TripAdvisor Inc., Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Starz and Sirius XM Holdings Inc.-- paid him less than $1 million combined in directors fees, which aren’t included in the ranking’s tally.