MGM Resorts CEO takes pay cut

MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren took a nearly $4 million pay cut in 2010 as the casino operator’s loss grew from the year before, according to an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing the company made Monday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows Murren made $9.78 million in 2010, 29 percent less than the $13.75 million he made in 2009, his first full year as the company’s chief executive.

Murren’s pay package included $2 million in salary, a $750,000 bonus, a $4.3 million performance-based cash bonus and $585,000 in perks. The perks were mostly related to travel, including $374,514 for personal use of a company aircraft, $208,673 for insurance premiums and benefits, and $2,087 for local transportation expenses.

Both his regular bonus and his non-equity performance-based bonus were higher last year than in 2009. But Murren got stock options worth $1.73 million when they were granted. That’s 76 percent less than the $7.09 million worth he got in 2009.

Shares of MGM Resorts rose in 2010 from $9.73 to $14.85 on Dec.31, during a year for which the company posted a loss of $1.44 billion, or $3.19 per share.

The company has struggled to attract gamblers and visitors to its casinos in Las Vegas. It worked during the year to restructure its balance sheet to pay off some debt and defer other debt past 2014.

Murren owned 2.7 million shares of MGM Resorts as of April 21, less than 1 percent of the company’s outstanding stock.

MGM Resorts’ largest stockholder is billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who owns 131.2 million shares, nearly 27 percent of the company’s outstanding stock. Paulson & Co. Inc., the New York hedge fund run by John Paulson, owns 43.8 million shares, nearly 9 percent, while a subsidiary of Dubai World owns 26 million shares, 5.3 percent.

The Associated Press formula calculates an executive’s total compensation during the last fiscal year by adding salary, bonuses, perks, above-market interest the company pays on deferred compensation, and the estimated value of stock and stock options awarded during the year. The AP formula does not count changes in the present value of pension benefits. That makes the AP total slightly different in most cases from the total reported by companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The value that a company assigned to an executive’s stock and option awards for 2010 was the present value of what the company expected the awards to be worth to the executive over time. Companies use one of several formulas to calculate that value. However, the number is just an estimate, and what an executive ultimately receives will depend on the performance of the company’s stock in the years after the awards are granted. Most stock compensation programs require an executive to wait a specified amount of time to receive shares or exercise options.

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