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Disney Execs Don’t Get Bonuses

January 6, 2000

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ Michael Eisner and most other top Walt Disney Co. executives will have to make do with just their salaries for last year. Weak earnings prompted Disney to drop hefty bonuses in 1999.

The company’s net income of $1.37 billion was down 28 percent from the year before and fell short of earnings targets the company had set to warrant bonuses for top executives, the entertainment giant said Wednesday.

In a letter to stockholders, chairman and chief executive officer Eisner summarized Disney’s disappointing year as a ``short-term earnings hiccup.″ He repeated recent assurances that the company was taking steps to improve long-term prospects, including revitalizing its video division and other cost-saving measures.

Eisner received a $5 million bonus in 1998 and $9.9 million the year before. His 1999 salary was $750,000.

Vice chairman Roy E. Disney, who drew a salary of $537,692 in 1999, also received no bonus after getting a total of $1.1 million in extra pay over the previous two years.

Other executives going without bonuses last year include vice chairman Sanford Litvack, who received about $2.6 million in bonuses the previous two years, and John Cooke, executive vice president for corporate affairs, who got bonuses totaling about $900,000 the previous two years.

``When the company has performed well, people are rewarded accordingly,″ said Disney spokesman John Dreyer. ``We had an off year, so the same thing applies there.″

The only top executive awarded a bonus was Louis Meisinger, executive president and general counsel, who received a $350,000 bonus on top of his 1999 salary of $650,000. The bonus was awarded for extraordinary services to the company, but Dreyer would not disclose details.

Bonus information was included in materials released in advance of Disney’s annual shareholder meeting Feb. 22 in Chicago.

Downturns in Disney’s home-video and merchandising operations largely accounted for last year’s earnings decline and nominal 2 percent gain in revenue to $23.4 billion.

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