The retainer for such board members now stands at $100,000 annually, according to the news services and was approved last week after consultation with an outside compensation adviser. The annual compensation also includes 8,000 stock options, as well as $75,000 worth of restricted stock units for each director.
This is a sizeable increase from the $50,000 paid to each independent director in 2003, the first year that the media giant began paying such board members. Along with the money, directors received similar stock options and restricted stock units as they will now.
The new compensation packages will take effect at the 2005 annual shareholder’s meeting.
The company said that the alteration to pay reflects its corporate governance policy. This provides that director pay should be mostly equity-based and set at around the 75 th percentile of the company’s peer group, according to Dow Jones.