LN Income Down, Exec Pay Up

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino more than doubled his 2009 pay to some $15.9 million, despite the company’s widening losses, sinking operating income and about $2 billion in debt, according to a proxy statement reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission April 15.

But Rapino’s executive compensation isn’t the only interesting reading in the statement. Chairman Irving Azoff, in part because of the merger closing with Ticketmaster in 2010, received a nice bump, as well.

Azoff pocketed a tidy $22.8 million, starting with a base salary of $1.86 million including $13.87 million in the form of bonuses and other compensation from the Ticketmaster merger and his ownership share of Front Line Management.

Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard made $5.7 million in 2010, starting with a base salary of $626,000, and adding various bonuses and stock awards. He actually trailed general counsel and director Michael Rowles, who drew $5.94 million in 2010.

Former Global Music CEO Jason Garner outdrew them at nearly $7 million, including severance compensation.

Rapino started from a base pay of $1.97 million, and earned another $1.78 million bonus because, despite a less than glowing 2010, Live Nation hit 89 percent of its operating income projections. A $2 million bonus for hitting cost cutting and debt refinancing targets and another $7 million in stock and options rounds out the income column.

The preliminary proxy statement was released in advance of a Live Nation Entertainment shareholders’ meeting scheduled for June 15. Director Jonathan Miller tendered his resignation effective April 15, and four directors will be chosen to fill terms expiring this year.

Another order of business will be to approve the issuance and sale of shares of common stock to Liberty Media Corporation, finalizing an earlier distribution.