iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman Foregoes Salary as Company Furloughs Employees

iHeartMedia has joined the growing list of companies implementing sizable pay cuts for senior executives amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Bob Pittman, chairman and chief executive of broadcast giant iHeartRadio, which counts more than 800 stations as well as a formidable digital radio presence, will forego his salary for the remainder of the year and give up his annual incentive bonus, according to a memo first obtained by radio trade tipsheet RAMP and confirmed by Variety. In 2017, Pittman earned a salary of $14 million with bonuses of $9 million, according to the company’s SEC filings.

CFO and COO Rich Bressler as well as members of the senior management team will take reductions in the range of 30% to 70% of their total compensation for the remainder of 2020. A 90-day furlough without pay has been mandated for an additional unknown number of employees.

Additional cutbacks include “strict limitations on — or complete elimination of — travel and entertainment expenses; temporary suspension of 401(k) match and new raises; and no overtime without pre-approval.

Of the furloughs, the executive emphasize: “This is not a layoff or a reduction in force. With a furlough, while it is an unpaid leave of absence, the affected employees stay in our employ, allowing us to continue offering these employees full health benefits, and we want to make sure we take care of them as best we can during this time.  And with state unemployment benefits, supplemented by the added special benefits that are part of the new federal stimulus legislation, hopefully these employees will not feel any significant financial impact during this limited period of time.”

As managers, wrote Pittman and Bressler, “we’ve never had to make more difficult decisions.”