Warner Music Reveals Incoming CEO Robert Kyncl’s Compensation

Days after top YouTube exec Robert Kyncl was named as the next CEO of Warner Music Group, the company revealed in an SEC filing that he will earn approximately $15 million in his first year on the job, depending on performance targets.

When Kyncl’s name was first mentioned as a potential successor to outgoing CEO Stephen Cooper, who leaves after 11 years in the role, many wondered whether the job would be sufficiently appealing for the executive who led Netflix from DVDs to streaming and has been YouTube’s business chief for much of his 12 years at the company.

However, the SEC filing makes clear that the job is financially appealing: He 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.

He also will be reimbursed some $500,000 for moving from Los Angeles to New York; the role also includes non-competition and non-solicitation covenants applicable during and for one year following his employment.

As noted by Billboard, Kyncl’s target compensation is less than Cooper’s $17 million, although it is dwarfed by that of Lucian Grainge, chairman of the world’s largest music company, Universal Music Group, who earned $48.4 million in 2021 (not including one-time bonuses paid by UMG’s former owner, Vivendi).

Warner is the third-largest major music group, after Universal and Sony. Its labels include Atlantic — which is the most consistently successful major label in the business — Elektra and its flagship Warner Records, along with the third-largest music publisher, Warner Chappell Music. It has a vast catalog and many multiplatinum current acts, including Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Lizzo, Dua Lipa and others.

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