AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron Asks Board To Freeze His Pay; “I Do Not Want More When Our Shareholders Are Hurting”

Adam Aron said today he’s asked the theater chain’s board of directors to freeze his compensation for 2023 given the decline in AMC stock.

“Biggest inflation in 40 years, so in 2023 companies will grant large % salary raises. But I do not want “more” when our shareholders are hurting. So, I recommended to the AMC Board to red circle and freeze both my target cash and target stock pay for 2023. NO INCREASE,” he tweeted.

He said he also asked 15 to 20 of AMC’s senior executives to forego an increase to their cash salaries for 2023. “When CEO’s “ask,”execs to their credit usually agree. I sincerely thank them for that. AMC has a very dedicated management team.”

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Asked if employees would get raises, he said “absolutely yes.”

“We are asking for financial sacrifice only from those at the very top. It is hard to recruit workers. We must pay our people fairly. Indeed, wages for our “film crew” (hourly workers at our U.S. theatres) have been rising by double digit percentages.”

“No increase for those at the top is the right thing to do. I have fans and bashers on Twitter, those who agree or disagree with my decisions. But know this: my motives are pure. I try as best as I know how to lead AMC through the painful aftermath of this horrid pandemic,” Aron wrote.

CEO compensation is revealed in SEC proxy statements each spring for the previous before, so the details of his 2022 package are not known. Inflation soared in 2022, hitting a 40-year high. It appeared to have tapered down slightly in November, from October, according to the latest data.

Aron’s compensation totaled $18.9 million in 2021, including a base salary of $1.45 million; cash (non-equity incentive plan) compensation of $6 million; and stock awards worth $11.4 million when granted. He earned $20.9 million in 2020 with a $1.1 million salary, $5 million cash bonus and about $14.8 million in stock awards.

AMC shares are down another 8.3% today at just over $4 after a brutal run – down from a 52-week high of $34. The price of AMC Preferred Equity Units (APEs) are up 7.5% at $1.86 after an even tougher road since they were first launched in August as a new currency to pay down debt or pursue acquisitions.

Aron last week announced an agreement with Antara Capital to reduce outstanding debt and plans for a special shareholder vote on approving the conversion of APE units to AMC common shares on the way to raising equity by using AMC stock. He needs a shareholders to vote yes on that, which is still a question. 

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