Disney’s Chief Bob Iger Scraping By With $28 Million

Robert Iger

After learning about the obscene pay of Viacom’s top honchos, it saddens me to report that Disney’s CEO Bob Iger is barely managing to eke out a living. According to the Associated Press, the Disney Company awarded him only $28 million in 2010, or $55 million less than Viacom’s Philippe Dauman.

Iger’s compensation breaks down as following: a base salary of $2 million, a performance-related bonus of $13.5 million, and stock options valued at $11.8 million. The hard-luck Disney chief also earned $798,433 in additional compensation including use of company aircraft and security-related costs. His compensation package was attributed to a 24 percent in Disney’s share price at the end of the company’s fiscal year on October 2. Also, Disney’s fiscal 2010 net income rose 20 percent to $3.96 billion and revenue grew 5 percent to $38.06 billion. Click here to download the 118-page PDF of Disney’s SEC filing.


  • Jen

    Who cares what he makes? Wasn’t Glen Keane selling his house for something crazy like $14 million? Glen Keane made a lot of money but who cares about that too.

    • amid

      You’re right, Jen, reporting the earnings of the CEO of the world’s largest animation company is utterly pointless. I can’t imagine what relevance that would have to the animation community. Keep your head in the sand if that’s what makes you happy, but for many people who strive to a greater understanding of the field they work in, this is valuable information.

      • Tony C

        ‘Keep your head in the sand’ ?

        She wasn’t in denial about the whole thing, she just said she didn’t care. I’m in the same camp to be honest.

        Maybe I’m so ignorant I’m not worth the explanation, but just how relevant is this one man’s salary to me, a member of the animation industry?

  • Christopher Cook

    My heart bleeds. Not.

  • Jen

    You said, “Disney’s Chief Bob Iger Scraping By With $28 Million”. Sounds like a bitter attack.

    What about the salaries some of the animators at Disney made? Didn’t Andreas Deja buy all of Frank and Ollie’s drawings? I’d love to make the money they made but there’s no use being bitter about it.

    • amid

      I can assure you there was no bitterness intended by that post. Its point was to offer a playful and hopefully elucidatory comparison of Iger’s salary to what Viacom’s chief exec and COO made last year.

      • Trevor

        He’s the CEO of one of the biggest corporations in the world. It employs 60,000 people. That’s actually amazingly low for a company that size. Disney isn’t just an animation studio, Amid.

        Why don’t you go after John Lasseter’s or Ed Catmull’s salary?

        Catmull (President of Walt Disney and Pixar animation studios): $1 Million
        John Lassetter CCO of Disney and Pixar animation: $2.4 Million

      • Dan Ang

        Does Lasseter really only make that much? I have always wondered that. That seems pretty low, when you consider how much Spielberg and Lucas make. Shit, I bet Apatow makes more than that.

    • optimist

      No, it sounds sarcastic. So? Is Bob Iger your dad or something?

      I can assure you that whatever Andreas and other artists who make “a lot” get paid, it’s way, way, WAY under the radar of kind of money top brass at Disney give a damn about-or they wouldn’t pay it.

      And those that receive “a lot” can be counted on the fingers of one hand. There’s not a person in the industry that would feel “bitter” about the tip top artists getting paid what they do.

    • Jason

      Yes, what they MADE. Where are the big moneymaking animators now? Nowhere.

      I don’t see this guy making anything of worth at all unless you think KABLAM remixed Goofy cartoons are all the rage.

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        How would you define “Big moneymaking animators” ? The lead animators at any studio? Only the best animators on a movie?

  • Scarabim

    How the hell do the heads of Nickelodeon make more money than Iger? Look at the crappy product they put out (except Spongebob and Avatar). Jeez. Sure, Spongebob sells a lot of merch, but surely Mickey Mouse outdoes him in that department.

    • Jason

      Little kids don’t even know who Mickey Mouse is anymore. Nintendo’s Mario is loads more popular as is Sponge Bob.

  • Stephen M. Levinson

    I don’t think anyone has the slightest idea of what this guy does on a day-to-day basis and neither do I, so I can’t comment on whether the pay is rightfully or wrongfully being given to him.

    That being said, if you’re getting a position as an artist, animator, storyboard artist, writer etc, you’re at the bottom of the food chain. The higher up you go (Director, Producer, Executive Producer, CEO, President) the higher the pay because as you go up the food chain there is an ever increasing reputation to perform, that is put upon your shoulders.

    Think about the risk you’re taking as an artist compared to the business risks these guys are taking. You’ve been animating or drawing your entirely life so going into a career for that isn’t risky at all. But for guys who are the producers and executives, they’re taking risks with the money of a multi-billion dollar company. That’s ALOT to risk.

    More risk, more reward.

    • http://kambodiahotel.blogspot.com BR Inle

      Not to mention backstabbing. Hard work, that.

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        BR, there’s so much ego with animators and artists that it’s sickening. You forgot to mention that.

      • http://kambodiahotel.blogspot.com BR Inle

        That’s only because the shittiest artist is inherently superior to the nicest executive. I mean, we’re comparing eagles and worms. :)

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        I would disagree. How is anyone inherently better than anyone else? People who have the ability to draw aren’t by default superior because they can make pretty pictures.

      • http://kambodiahotel.blogspot.com Moro Rogers

        I just realized I left a link to my blog up there. Ehehe…oops. I would like to say that I am deeply sorry for any pain I may have caused Bob Iger.
        The worms and eagles thing was a bit of hyperbole, I admit. If you really believe that pushing money around is as valid as creating something, I can’t argue with you.
        I also take issue with the guy down there who says that nobody deserves $28 million dollars. Of COURSE nobody does. A capitalistic system presupposes the possibility of unfairness. I would rather live in a realistically unfair society than a society where ‘fairness’ is artificially imposed, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking trash about the winners.

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        First, producers don’t generally deal with money, unless their lines producers. They manage talent, hire talent, go over scheduling to make sure the artists are working efficiently and on-time etc. etc.

        Second, Moro, why are you only so courageous when anonymous? Are you seriously apologizing for a comment you believed in now that you realize you linked to your blog? This further proves my point that most animators and artists aren’t courageous. At all.

        That being said, I’ve met with some of the Executives and Producers over at Nickelodeon on Fanboy and trust me, they’re not just pushing money around. When I was there they were reviewing scripts, storyboards, promotional art etc.

        You don’t need to be sitting with a pencil at a desk to be creative. With that logic Directors don’t literally “Create” anything, they tell people what to do. Does that mean they are they not creative? /rhetorical question/

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        “I also take issue with the guy down there who says that nobody deserves $28 million dollars. Of COURSE nobody does. A capitalistic system presupposes the possibility of unfairness. I would rather live in a realistically unfair society than a society where ‘fairness’ is artificially imposed, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking trash about the winner”

        That has to be the most absurd comment I’ve ever read anywhere ever. Capitalism is the most fair economic system known to man. Work hard and you’ll be better rewarded. Don’t work at all, you won’t be rewarded.

        How in hell does capitalism presuppose unfairness? ANYONE in this country with the drive and passion can become something from nothing. For you to suggest other wise is absolutely NUTS. Your comments are an excuse to blame your problems on a system that you believe is unfair and won’t ever allow you to succeed. Great idea!

        And nobody ever deserves that money? Says YOU? Why should anyone decide how much someone can be limited to make? Why would there EVER be a reason to limit someones income? That sounds like the most unfair thing ever. Blame the executives who are greedy, not on a capitalist society. There is no more fair alternative of an economic system. Clearly your financial advice is absurd. And when you see Jeffrey Katzenberg tell him that nobody deserves $28 million when he brings up the topic that he invested $30 million to start dreamworks, with Geffen and Spielberg’s additional investments.

      • http://kambodiahotel.blogspot.com Moro Rogers

        Firstly, I never said I was courageous. I’m not.
        Secondly, you didn’t read my comment about capitalism very closely, did you? I said I would rather live in a capitalistic society than any other kind.

      • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

        These pro-oligarchy-wages comments would almost be relevant if we did, indeed, work in a purely capitalistic system. But we don’t.

        Many industries are subsidized, and many more pay a lower tax rate than individual citizens. It’s a result of lobbying and the recently Supreme Court-ratified ability of corporations to speak/contribute money in the same manner as actual people.

        Once again, the bottom line is that it’s bad business. More money should go to R&D and operations–inventing and doing things, instead of C-level salaries. If it did, animation and the US as a whole would be stronger.

    • david

      here go again. Defending the execs.

      Um last time i checked….THEY DON’T TAKE RISKS ANYMORE.

      Maybe if Iger decided to relinquish a petty half a million from his paycheck to invest in a new fresh artist driven 4 minute pilot i would consider that risk.

      But we’ve seen time and time again that these HOTSHOTS have failed multiple times with their decisions (EISNER) and still got bonuses and rewarded.

      “You’ve been animating or drawing your entirely life so going into a career for that isn’t risky at all.”

      Yes i guess tell that to all the artists who were laid off 100 times and had dryspells. All while some exec is still working. Who have no job security. Who take crappy work just to pay rent or eat ramen during the dark times. That’s not a risk is it?

      when you remove the reproductive fluids of these execs from your eyes you might be able to see how you really have the fecal covered end of the stick.

      • amid

        David – You’re absolutely right. Playing with other people’s money without sacrificing anything of one’s own doesn’t fit the definition of risk-taking. This isn’t Iger’s problem. Companies that expand to the size of Disney simply aren’t designed to take risks; they are designed to manage wealth and slowly grow it.

        To those who want to understand the meaning of risk-taking, read up on Walt Disney’s life, or even Steve Jobs’s approach to Pixar. Jobs invested millions of his own savings even as Pixar floundered as a hardware manufacturer because he felt there was something there. People called him crazy and considered the whole thing a folly for the first five years.

        There is a significant difference between what Jobs did and what Iger is getting paid to do. Iger is not a creative enterpreneur; he is a money manager for a vast fortune and he is getting paid handsomely as most money managers do. Nothing wrong with that, but let’s not denigrate artists in an attempt to build Iger into something that he’s not.

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        Amid, you make a great point. Like i said in my post I don’t know what this guy does on a day-to-day basis. I guess I wouldn’t compare this guy to a true entrepreneur. But, then what does he do exactly? You continue to post salaries but assume all these big shots do is absolutely nothing. C’mon, they’ve got to be doing SOMETHING.

        @David, Investing money or starting a business is a risk. Creating your own cartoon series is a risk. Launching your own comic book has its risks. Trying to cope with losing your job isn’t a risk.

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        By the way David, I’m on your side. I absolutely think that instead of paying such large bonuses to these executives they should focus more of the money into the creatives instead of laying off to make a bottom line, take more risks on shows, etc. But these guys say “Why make $150 million when we could lay off 100k people and make $300 million?” They are indeed greedy but getting rid of this whole system isn’t the answer. There just needs to be a better balance.

  • http://thadkomorowski.com Thad

    I don’t think you’ll get much support, Amid. He bought Pixar, and their movies make people cry, so he’s untouchable. And, hey, he’s an alumnus of my school, so it makes the idea of me making that much money one day more realistic. Rest assured, I’ll be using my earnings to make an independent artist’s dream of making a multimillion-dollar feature consisting of conspicuous anal and clitoral jokes a reality (traditionally animated mind you!). None of this feed the homeless crap for me.

  • Pedro Nakama
  • derpderp

    No human being ever deserves that much money.

    How is a life as an artist not a risk? How is the life of a pampered CEO a risk at all?

    Why is risking millions more dollars than any human being will ever need something to be rewarded?

    With a paycheck like that, holding onto only a small fraction of your income will always make you more comfortable for life than the average animation artist could ever dream of being. How is withholding all of those dollars that could be invested into artists something to be defended?

    These guy could have an income of 5 million dollars (already massive) a year and employ a huge number of new artists, support bolder projects, fund a renaissance. It’ll never happen, but guys, that is SO MUCH money. With that sort of extra funding, so much less work could be outsourced.

    • Gray64

      Any human being deserves to make as much money as they can convince someone else to pay them. Or as much as they can earn through their own efforts. Who are you, or anyone else, to place a cap on how much money someone can earn, when that money isn’t coming out of your own pocket?

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        Well said Gray64!

      • Jason

        It becomes an issue when people are fired to keep those inflated wages to a few. There’s no problem when a company is doing well but with a 17% unemployment rate, disappearing benefits, and other such things it’s really hard to accept wages like this when the person isn’t thinking long term.

        Everyone at Disney works their asses off. I can’t believe you people are pushing for this trash.

    • Gray64

      I think the market is very nearly supporting as many of Disney’s products as it can.

    • derpderp

      God, you guys are so complacent. As long as YOU’VE got YOURS, it’s just absurd to care, right? Pft

    • derpderp

      You know, actually, I keep coming back to Gray’s comment.

      I phrased my thought by way of animation– think of the ways our craft and our people are being cut short. Think of all the ways our craft, our art, the thing we care about most could grow if things weren’t distributed in an ass-backward way.

      But I stand by it in the grander scheme, too. People don’t deserve what they can trick people into throwing at them. The world is not a better place when the free market decides. It’s a lazy man’s way of making the world right. Any artist should know that the masses will pick what is comforting and easy over what is bold and risky. Craft stagnates when only comforting and easy are rewarded, and bold and risky are treated as failures because they aren’t some smashing free-market success.

      Maybe I’m just being, I dunno, an artist here, but don’t you think there are more important things than market will?

      And furthermore, when you accumulate THAT much capital, it is sociopathy to cling to it. Forget animation– there are people literally dying out there for want of money, and it’s not because they don’t get off their asses and work, often multiple jobs. If you believe in the bootstraps myth, you are clearly of more privilege than you realize. Spend time in the real world with real people. Your humanity and art will improve for it.

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    What???!!!! That fiend still owes me ten quid!!!!

    Why I oughta…..

  • Brighton Roc

    Argh!Take a cut and pay your Disneyland/world workers a decent wage!

  • anonymous

    I am not really sure how i feel about this. It is admittedly, a large sum of money but when you take into acount the size of the Disney brand and the amount of money at play you cannot just hire some graduate out of business school to run it. Yes, in some cases artists driven studios thrive but with a studio like Disney that is multi faceted and likely the largest globally recognized family entertainment company in the world maybe his pay is warranted.

  • Gray64

    Okay…So how much SHOULD he make? From the tone of your post you obviously disapprove of his salary. What, in your opinion, would be fair compensation for his efforts?

    • Jason

      Why are you so concerned about this question? You think his salary exists in a bubble?

      A better one is why is he entitled to that much when studios are repeatedly having mass layoffs and reduced benefits while rewarded their top brass for such decisions. Were you asleep during the bank bailouts or what? I’m glad Amid posts up stuff like this because the lack of basic economic education in this country is amazing.

  • Ed

    I don’t see how knowing Iger’s salary will help me as an animator, unless I plan on running one of the largest entertainment companies in the world some day.

    I’d rather know what the supervising animators of the top studios make than what Bob makes. Reveal that in your next animator wiki leaks post.

    Better yet, what do you make Amid from Cartoon Brew? I can see myself owning an animation blog some day and knowing what I can expect to earn will help me a lot!
    Please include revenue from advertising and all the cool freebies!

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    It’s easy to make that much when you scrap 80% of your staff over and over, only to replace them with cheaper, newer crews.

    • Elan

      80%? Most Ive seen is 50%. Never seen 80.

  • Ed

    Amid, I’m in the union. Animators salaries are negotiated. What is posted as the animators minimum wage in no way reflects the actual salary of the supervisors. If that were true then everyone would have a 14 million dollar home and Frank and Ollie’s animation archive.

  • JD

    He should be hugging that mouse.

  • http://MrFun'sBlog Floyd Norman

    I’m only interested in one man’s opinion. The man who founded the company.

    If Walt Disney had a cup of coffee and he heard that salary, I guarantee a spit take.

  • Scarabim

    Yeah, Floyd, it’s ironic, isn’t it? I read that Walt himself didn’t become well-off until late in his life. And he NEVER made Iger’s kind of money. Plus, in the studio’s earlier days, he often gave the animators raises before he gave himself one.

    He was one of a kind, was Walt.

  • Marc Baker

    Well, if Disney would stop shoving ‘Hanna Montana’, and it’s ilk down our throats, and try to do more things with Mickey, maybe he’s be just as popular as Mario, or Spongebob.

  • http://dtoons.com/conroy Failing Art Student

    Only 28 million?
    Times must be tough.

  • d. harry

    Some big name Animators WERE making 1 million or more per year at Disney, that is known. Anyone who makes it to being an Animator at Disney deserves as much! But that is still nothing compared to the money that any of us would make IF we got a piece of the profits.

    My neighbor gets residuals for having been in the orchestra that played the music for Beauty and the Beast. I get nothing for having been an animator on it.

  • CallmetheDevil

    You know…I’m not saying that he is a good person…or that the money shouldn’t go to other places in the company…but does he really deserve the amount of hate he is getting for his paycheck? He is a CEO for god sakes. I refuse to believe that if EVERYONE here was a CEO or in a high position in the company, they would be willing to give up a fat check if it was waved in front of them.

    It doesn’t make it right , but I don’t think he should be ragged on either.

    The CEO of Southwest Air line makes 13Mill and I am pretty sure the pilots don’t see too much of that.

    Plus, let’s be honest. We’re talking about Disney here. They have been business douche bags way before this guy jumped into the chair. Between the treatment of their animators, theme park workers, and musicians, there are very few people this company hasn’t screwed over. It’s like tradition or something over there.

  • derpderp

    So… the radical and gross increasing maldistribution of wealth in the country is seen across lots of industries, so that makes it not worth fussing?

    Wait, why should we hold back criticism? In addition to making decisions that impact the entire industry, and having more wealth than a human being could possibly spend during dozens lifetimes of providing for oneself lavishly, we just shouldn’t be too mean about it? What, are you afraid to hurt their little feelings? We’re bugs to them.

    • Jake

      Money is freedom. These guys are free, you are not.

    • CallmetheDevil

      I may not have properly explained myself, but I think you just missed the point of what I was trying to say. What I was trying to point out is that it seems to me (which is very possible that I am wrong in thinking this) that people here tend to focus on an individual instead of a system. The system is the problem. If the our country didn’t allow it to happen and “spread the wealth” , Iger wouldn’t have the salary he does.

      I am not worried about ANYONE’s feelings nor do I support the lack of equality. I worried that the energy is badly aimed. You can hate on the big wigs, but the point is that they have been getting away with for years and still are. It was the wrong place to express it, but I am really tired of criticism and “the poor crushed bugs” speech that leads to no where. I

  • Scott

    The reason for the mass support we see of Iger’s salary (and those like him) is self evident once you look at how our society is constructed and how its populace is indoctrinated. Americans support, even celebrate, our grossly unequal distribution of wealth because the fantasy of “the lottery” fuels one’s independent delusion that one will someday be in Iger’s shoes and that they’ll be “worth it.”

    This is why the “bootstraps” meme continues to propagate and why it’s so hard to stomp out. Until we look at our society objectively and honestly and without emotional attachment we will continue to see the money handlers idolized and the gap between the poor and the rich grow.

    Oh, and the animation will continue to just down-right suck. Remember; the profit motive gave us the DTV sequels.

  • Rezz

    It’s so funny when you talk to former disney artist (Esp layout) when they look at the world like “they could have cut that event and saved a few jobs.” “they could have not taken a bonus to save so and so job.”

    now I’m finding myself doing the same. So when you hear about these guys making so much money, you start to wonder…why did we have such a small staff when we could have had more artist to help out and not have to work so much over time and not see our family for months on end.

    it’s not just Disney animation……it’s everything disney.

    welcome to the magical life of a disney employee.

  • Jenny

    I thought Amid posted this as a commentary of profit over creativty. We need more animator run companies, not CEOs. Viva le proletariat!

    • Jake

      There’s a reason animators don’t run major companies.

      • Jason

        Did you even think before you typed that out?

        Pixar
        Disney

        Two of the most well known companies in existence. That’s even before opening Google.

  • Damon

    If you can make that type of money, then my hats off to you.

  • http://www.goodaboy.com Rajesh