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Warner Music Group Discloses Compensation for Incoming CEO Robert Kyncl

The former YouTube exec will take full control of WMG on Feb. 1, 2023.

Warner Music Group’s newly named CEO Robert Kyncl will earn roughly $15 million, depending on meeting performance targets, in his first year on the job, according to a company SEC filing.

Kyncl will share chief executive duties with outgoing CEO Stephen Cooper in January 2023 and will become sole CEO on Feb. 1, the SEC filing shows. Kyncl, named as Cooper’s replacement on Sept. 21, will also become a director of the company.

Kyncl, formerly the chief business officer at YouTube and an executive at Netflix, will receive a base salary of $2 million, a target performance-based bonus of $3 million and an annual grant of performance share units with an aggregate, pre-tax value of $10 million (the first grant will be in January 2023). He will be reimbursed for expenses up to $500,000 for relocating from Los Angeles to the New York metropolitan area. Kyncl’s employment agreement has an indefinite term and includes non-competition and non-solicitation covenants applicable during and for one year following his employment.

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With target annual compensation valued at $15 million — subject to Kyncl and WMG hitting performance metrics — Kyncl’s target compensation is less than Cooper’s $17 million ($3 million base salary, $7 million target annual bonus and $7 million in annual grant of $7 million worth of restricted stock units, according to WMG’s Jan. 19, 2022 definitive proxy statement) but not by much. Universal Music’s Grainge earned $48.4 million in 2021 (excluding one-time bonuses paid by UMG’s former owner, Vivendi) and topped Billboard‘s inaugural list of most-compensated executives at public music companies. Kyncl’s compensation is more similar to the $13.8 million Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino’s earned in 2021.

On Jan. 31, Cooper will resign from WMG and from the board of directors. He will provide consulting services to WMG through Jan. 31, 2024 at his current base salary of $3 million. In addition, Cooper will receive equity awards in WMG’s 2023 and 2024 fiscal years with a grant date value of $7 million.

Cooper became WMG’s CEO in 2011 following its acquisition by Access Industries for $3.3 billion. He led the company to a successful IPO in 2020 that valued the company at $12.75 billion.