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AMC CEO asks board to freeze his pay, wants other top execs to forego raises — ‘No increase for those at the top is the right thing to do’

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 12/27/2022 James Rogers
© patrick t. fallon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Adam Aron said Tuesday he has asked the company’s board to “red circle and freeze” his target cash and stock pay for 2023.

Aron, who has led the movie-theater chain and meme-stock darling since 2016, described his move in a series of tweets as AMC shares headed for their third consecutive decline since Aron announced another equity sale and plans for a reverse stock split.

“Biggest inflation in 40 years, so in 2023 companies will grant large % salary raises,” he tweeted. “But I do not want ‘more’ when our shareholders are hurting. So, I recommended to the AMC Board to red circle and freeze both my target cash and target stock pay for 2023. NO INCREASE.”

See Now: What can we expect from meme stocks AMC, GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond in 2023?

Aron explained that he also asked AMC’s 15 to 20 top executives to forego an increase to their cash salaries for 2023, and that they agreed. “When CEO’s ‘ask,’ execs to their credit usually agree,” he tweeted. “I sincerely thank them for that. AMC has a very dedicated management team.”

“No increase for those at the top is the right thing to do,” he added, in a subsequent tweet. “I have fans and bashers on Twitter, those who agree or disagree with my decisions. But know this: my motives are pure. I try as best as I know how to lead AMC through the painful aftermath of this horrid pandemic.”

Aron had sold more than $40 million of AMC stock since November 2021, but said he was done after selling $7.1 million in stock in January.

Also see: AMC highlights strong opening weekend for ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, raises $162 mln through APEs

Despite the top-level salary freezes, Aron confirmed that AMC’s employees will get a raise. “Yes, absolutely yes,” he tweeted, in response to a question on Twitter. “We are asking for financial sacrifice only from those at the very top.”

AMC, like GameStop Corp. was a major beneficiary of the meme-stock buying frenzy in January 2021, which sent the struggling company’s shares skyrocketing to dizzying heights.

The company’s stock has fallen 75.2% this year, outpacing the S&P 500 index’s decline of 19.5%. AMC’s stock has plunged toward 22-month-lows since the company announced a $110 million equity capital raise last week and said it was seeking a 1-for-10 reverse split of its common stock.

See now: Is the golden age of the meme stock rally over?

AMC’s Preferred Equity units, or APEs made their trading debut in August, heralding the latest chapter in a journey that took the cinema chain from beleaguered pandemic victim to meme-stock phenomenon.

The APEs have fallen 69.3% since their debut.


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