Smulyan signs new contract to lead Emmis

Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp. on Dec. 15 agreed to a three-year contract to retain Jeff Smulyan as chief executive officer. Bonus provisions in the contract mean Smulyan could earn a solid pay raise.

Smulyan, whose current contract expires Feb. 28, 2010, agreed to a deal that will pay him $792,259 the first year and $825,000 and $850,000 in the two following years.  For the fiscal year which ends Feb. 28, Smulyan’s total compensation was $1.18 million.

While it appears Smulyan will be taking a pay cut given his $833,957 base pay this year, he has the potential to significantly increase his compensation through bonuses—including a guaranteed $200,000 signing bonus, a first for Smulyan at Emmis.

Emmis officials said while the signing bonus is new for the company, it is not unusual for executives in the broadcasting industry.

Smulyan has the opportunity to get paid an additional hefty six-figure bonus each year of the contract if Emmis reaches certain financial performance goals, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made Monday.

In other Emmis news, Smulyan announced Dec. 15 that a reorganization of the company’s overseas ventures means International Division President Paul Fiddick is departing the company.

With the sale of Emmis’ Belgian station earlier this year and the recent loss of its license in Hungary, the company is consolidating its international and domestic radio operations into one Emmis Radio group, Smulyan explained in a memo last week.

Emmis Senior VP Barbara Brill will continue to oversee the two remaining European markets, Slovakia and Bulgaria, and report to Chief Operating Officer Pat Walsh.

Because Emmis will no longer have a separate international division, the company eliminated the division president’s position. However, Fiddick will continue to work with Emmis as an adviser and serve on the board of directors of Emmis’ European entities.

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