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AMC CEO Adam Aron's pay package grew to $25.4 million in 2023, but he says it's worth $16.5 million less amid share decline

By James Rogers

Adam Aron became CEO of the movie theater chain and original meme stock in 2015

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. CEO Adam Aron's compensation package increased to $25.4 million in 2023, from $23.7 million in 2022 and $18.9 million in 2021, according to a proxy statement filed with the SEC Friday.

The CEO's 2023 base salary was $1.5 million, the same as in 2022, and up from $1.45 million in 2021, according to the filing. Aron received a stock award of $17.9 million in 2023, compared with $16.2 million in 2022 and $11.4 million in 2021. Aron's non-equity incentive plan compensation was $6 million, the same as in 2022 and 2021.

After market close Friday Aron said that the stock award is worth $16.5 million less than the amount on the filing, given the company's share price.

"Our draft proxy shows I was awarded AMC stock in 2023 (that I can not sell any time soon) valued using SEC required methodology at $17.9 million," he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. "At yesterday's closing share price, it is actually worth $1,345,000. So my compensation - valued presently - was $16.5 million less."

Related: AMC CEO says domestic box office has 'finally turned upwards'

The CEO also discussed the reduction in his target compensation. "For 2024, I recommended to AMC's Board of Directors that my compensation be materially reduced given the pain being felt by our shareholders," he wrote on X. "We agreed my 'target' compensation will be 25% less than last year's target, and 50% less than last year's actual."

"I continue to be one of AMC's largest shareholders with an economic interest in about 2 million owned or granted AMC shares," Aron added, in a subsequent tweet. "Other than to fund mandatory federal and state income tax withholdings, I have not sold even one AMC share since January of 2022. I ride with you."

AMC's (AMC) stock has fallen 93.5% in the last 12 months, compared with the S&P 500 index's SPX gain of 26.8%, and has hit record lows in recent months, reflecting the demise of the company's meme-stock status.

Related: AMC delivers revenue beat helped by Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, yet stock drops

Aron, who became CEO of the movie theater chain and original meme stock in 2015, said he shares the frustrations of AMC's shareholders during the call to discuss the company's fourth-quarter results in February. As a shareholder, he has lost "tens of millions of dollars" in the last six months, he said. "I share in your frustration, I feel your pain," the CEO added. "I am a shareholder, I am holding, I am not selling, I ride with you."

Aron also said he recommended to AMC's board that his target compensation for the next 12 months be "substantially" reduced.

Shares of Hycroft Mining Holding Corp. (HYMC) have been trading higher than shares of cinema chain AMC, which stunned Wall Street when it made a $29.7 million investment in the gold and silver miner in 2022. Hycroft Mining's shares ended Friday's session at $3.15, while AMC closed at $3.01. The decline in AMC's share price is a far cry from its meme-stock heyday, when it hit an all-time closing high of $339.05 on June 2, 2021.

Related: Hycroft Mining shares are now higher than investor AMC's after skyrocketing this week

On Sunday Aron took to X to say he is encouraged by the slate of forthcoming films. "Ahead of this week's annual CinemaCon conclave, I was in LA all last week with numerous major studio execs, as well very talented Directors and accomplished Producers," he wrote. "I am SO encouraged by the film slate for 2nd half '24 and all of '25 and '26. So many really big movies coming."

On Easter Sunday Aron said that the domestic box office enjoyed its best March in five years, despite concerns about the lingering impact of the Hollywood strikes.

Aron had previously warned that the first part of 2024 would be a "slog" for the movie-theater chain, citing the ongoing impact of last year's writers and actors strikes.

Related: AMC CEO says domestic box office has 'finally turned upwards'

The AMC CEO is a keen user of X. Aron's X bio says he is proud to be "the silverback," in a nod to the investors who turned the company into a meme stock, who often refer to themselves as "apes" or "ape nation." The AMC CEO has over 312,000 followers on X.

Last month AMC filed to sell up to $250 million worth of stock. The company said it plans to use the proceeds to bolster liquidity; to repay, refinance, redeem or repurchase its existing debts; and for general corporate purposes.

AMC shares are up 1% in premarket trades Monday. Hycroft Mining's stock is up 2.9%.

-James Rogers

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


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04-08-24 0850ET

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