Vail CEO’s pay drops in 2018, at his request

vail gondola

A ski lift at Vail.
(Brent Flanders, Creative Commons)

Vail Resorts’ stock price rose in its latest fiscal year, but its CEO’s pay took a steep drop — at his request.

Robert Katz, the Broomfield-based ski resort operator’s top executive, made $3.38 million in the fiscal year, which ended July 31, compared to $5.83 million the previous year, according to financial filings.

That’s a drop of 42 percent.

While Katz’s base salary went up between the years, that accounts for a small portion — $929,367 in 2018 — of his total compensation.

The bulk of the drop in what Katz made was due to being awarded less restricted stock units, or RSUs ($1.21 million in 2018 vs. $2.4 million in 2017), and stock appreciation rights, or SARs ($1 million in 2018 vs $2.03 million in 2017).

According to the company proxy, for 2018, Katz “voluntarily offered to reduce his compensation from what was recommended by the Compensation Committee.”

katz

CEO Robert Katz

Specifically, he proposed receiving approximately $2 million in RSUs and SARs in 2018 (excluding RSUs granted as part of his bonus), compared to $4 million in 2017.

The company agreed to reduce Katz’s compensation “despite the Company’s strong financial and stock performance and the Committee’s high degree of satisfaction with Mr. Katz’s performance,” according to the filing. It will do so again this coming year, again at Katz’s request.

The company said Katz proposed he receive less compensation “in order to ensure that the Company could prioritize other compensation initiatives for fiscal 2019 and in recognition of his own ownership in the Company’s stock, built over the prior 12 years.”

Katz has been the CEO of Vail Resorts since 2006. He’s proposed being paid less before; he took a base salary of $0 for a 12-month period beginning in 2009, when the company was facing headwinds and seasonal employees’ pay was cut.

Vail’s stock price increased 30.6 percent in the company’s 2018 fiscal year, closing at $276.87 on July 31.

This year, Vail announced plans to increase the minimum hourly wage it pays Colorado employees from $11 to $12.25.

Public companies are required to list total compensation for their top five executives. Besides Katz, Vail’s other top executives saw their total compensation increase in 2018, up 6 to 14 percent compared to the previous year:

  • Robert Katz, Chairman and CEO: $3.37 million ($5.83 million in 2017)
  • Michael Barkin, EVP and CFO: $1.9 million ($1.68 million)
  • Patricia Campbell, President, Mountain Division: $1.77 million ($1.55 million)
  • Kirsten Lynch, EVP and CMO: $1.77 million ($1.55 million)
  • David Shapiro, EVP, General Counsel and Secretary: $1.25 million ($1.18 million)

vail gondola

A ski lift at Vail.
(Brent Flanders, Creative Commons)

CEO Robert Katz asked to be paid about $2 million less in stock in the company’s 2018 fiscal year, which ended July 31. He made the same request for the 2019 fiscal year.

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