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- Universal Music’s CEO could receive stock options worth up to $100 million under a new contract.
- Lucian Grainge’s payout will depend on the group’s share price hitting certain levels.
- He took a annual pay cut to $5 million in the new contract that runs to 2028.
The boss of Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music label, has been given a new contract with stock options worth up to $100 million.
Sir Lucian Grainge was given a five-year extension to his contract to continue running the company behind artists including Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Billie Eilish.
Universal announced Thursday that Grainge’s annual salary would be reduced by more than two-thirds to $5 million, but he could earn a bonus as high as $10 million if he hits performance-related targets.
Half of the $100 million equity option will be paid out in installments if the share price hits the targets of 26.50 euros, 30 euros, and 38 euros.
The stock closed Friday at 23.30 euros in Amsterdam, valuing the company at just over 42 billion euros ($45 billion). Universal has hovered around that valuation since listing in the Netherlands in September 2021.
Grainge’s $5 million salary pales in comparison to those of the top-paid CEOs, according to data from AFL-CIO. However, his potential equity grants put him in the ballpark of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who has shares worth $280 million after selling half his stake in 2021.
Apple CEO Tim Cook collected almost $100 million last year alone, making about $83 million in stock awards, $12 million in incentives and salary of $3 million, CNBC reported.
Universal’s chairman of the board, Sherry Lansing, said in a statement that Grainge’s “clear vision and strong execution” had made it the industry leader and “created a new category of music company.”
According to Universal’s website, he’s has been with the group since 1986 and served as CEO since 2010.
Grainge was named Billboard Magazine’s Power Executive of the Decade in 2020 for expanding Universal’s business. It has a US market share of more than 37% for the last three months of 2022, Billboard reported, well ahead of Sony Music on just under 27%.
He was knighted in 2016, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020.
He’s also forged strong relationships with some of Universal’s biggest artists. Elton John told the Financial Times he would “walk through fire” for Grainge, while Swift told the publication: “I know he trusts me, and therefore I return that trust.”