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Walt Disney’s Departing Legal Chief Sees 59% Jump in Total Pay

Jan. 20, 2022, 12:00 PM

The Walt Disney Co.’s longtime top lawyer Alan Braverman saw his total pay increase significantly during his final year at the media conglomerate, hitting almost $16.7 million, per a preliminary proxy statement filed Wednesday evening.

Braverman’s compensation last year was a roughly 59% increase from the $9.2 million in total compensation he received the year prior, when he and several other senior Disney executives took pay cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic shuttering theaters, theme parks, and cruise lines.

Disney announced last summer that Braverman would retire at year’s end after almost two decades as its legal chief. In December, the company hired Spotify Technology SA’s top lawyer, Horacio Gutierrez, to succeed Braverman as of Feb. 1.

Gutierrez, whose compensation isn’t included in Disney’s most recent proxy, joined Spotify in 2016 after spending 17 years in-house at Microsoft Corp. He will be among several new legal executives working at Disney this year.

The Burbank, Calif.-based company also announced last month a new chief counsel for its sports and entertainment subsidiary ESPN Inc., whose former top human resources executive, attorney Paul Richardson, has been named to serve as Disney’s chief human resources officer.

Bloomberg News reported that four of the six most highly compensated executives at Disney in 2021, including Braverman, no longer work at the company.

Disney’s 2021 proxy shows that the company’s compensation committee increased Braverman’s annual base salary by 3.7%—to almost $1.8 million—to “reflect changes in the market for executive talent and his continued outstanding performance.”

The compensation committee also cited among Braverman’s accomplishments his continued “promotion of diversity and inclusion in the legal department,” his handling of regulatory work related to direct-to-consumer products, and counsel on risks associated with new strategic initiatives.

Braverman received $7 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation last year, a cash component for which he received nothing in 2020, as well as nearly $7.8 million in stock and options awards. He currently owns more than $18.5 million in Disney stock, according to Bloomberg data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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