AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Adam Aron scored yet another banner year in 2021, with total compensation of nearly $19 million.
Aron’s total comp during the past two years was more than the total of the four previous years, despite the “enormous impacts” the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the theatrical exhibition industry and its employees.
The movie theater chain and “meme” stock
disclosed Friday in its 2021 proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Aron’s total comp last year was $18.91 million.
While that was down from $20.93 million in 2020, his base salary rose to $1.45 million in 2021 from $1.11 million in 2020, and he received $6.0 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation versus none the year before.
Meanwhile, stock awards, which includes the value of granted time-vesting restricted stock units (RSUs) and performance-vesting performance stock units (PSUs), fell to $11.44 million from $14.80 million the year before.
In addition, Aron had received $5.0 million in “special incentive bonuses” in 2020, which AMC said was for the “extraordinary actions taken by the management team during the COVID-19 pandemic to secure the company’s survival and preserve stockholder value,” but didn’t receive any in 2021.
So total compensation for both pandemic years was $39.84 million, following a total of $37.52 million from 2016 through 2019. Aron became CEO in January 2016.
But keep in mind the stock had soared 275.7% in the two years ending 2021, after plunging 69.8% over the previous four years. Read more about AMC’s recent “meme”-stock driven gains.
Did AMC CEO Adam Aron deserve what he got paid the past 2 years?
Meanwhile, AMC’s workforce totaled 31,198 in 2021, including 3,046 in full-time employees and 28,152 part-time employees, compared with a total workforce of 25,019 in 2020, which included 3,449 full-time employees. But 2021’s total was still well below the 2019 total of 38,872 employees, which included 3,952 full-time employees and 34,920 part-time employees.
“The pandemic has had enormous impacts on our industry, guests and associates and has resulted in material variances in our associate metrics in calendar 2021 compared to the 2019 pre-COVID-19 years,” AMC stated in its 2021 annual report filed last month.
Aron’s big gains in total comp the past two years compares with rival movie theater chain Cinemark Holdings Inc.
CEO Mark Zoradi’s total comp of $14.47 million the past two years ($7.55 million in 2021 and $6.92 million in 2020), after a total of $20.20 million in compensation the previous four years.
But the performance of the stocks of the two movie chains can’t be compared, as AMC’s stock skyrocketed by a “meme”-inspired 1,183.0% in 2021, after falling 70.7% in 2020. Although it has dropped 42.6% so far in 2022, it was still up 115.3% since the end of 2019. Cinemark’s stock has tumbled 52.7% since the end of 2019.
The S&P 500 index
has rallied about 30% since over the same time.