When you picture the highest-paid corporate executives – people who who earn hundreds of millions of dollars a year in compensation – you probably picture the founders of hedge funds, pharmaceutical companies, private equity firms, tech monopolies and investment banks.
You are probably not picturing a Hollywood talent agent. Especially an agent who, outside of the entertainment industry, is still best known for being the basis of Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold character on "Entourage."
But that's exactly the case in 2021. Ari Emmanuel, the co-CEO of Endeavor, earned an enormous amount of money in 2021.
Here's the best part: For the last few decades, the salaries earned by Hollywood's top agents and entertainment executives have been a closely-guarded secret. But something changed last year. Endeavor, arguably the most powerful of all the Hollywood talent agencies, went public.
By going public, the company is now required to submit annual disclosures revealing how much its co-CEOs, Ari Emmanuel and Patrick Whitesell, earned in the previous year.
According to Endeavor's first of these such filings, in 2021 Ari Emmanuel's total compensation came to…
Of that $308 million, $4 million was base salary, $10 million was a cash bonus and $293.7 million was an award of stock options.
Ari's co-CEO Patrick Whitesell earned $123 million.
Endeavor is probably best-known for representing an enormous roster of A-list talent including, Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Denzel Washington among many many many others.
You might also be interested to know that Endeavor also owns the following:
- The UFC
- The Miss Universe pageant
- ELeague (an e-sports venture)
- Euroleague Basketball
- The Professional Bull Riders Association
Earning $308 million put Ari Emmanuel in the upper echelons of corporate pay in 2021. In fact, the only executives who out-earned Ari in 2021 were the co-CEOs of private equity shop KKR & Co.
Those co-CEOs Joseph Bae and Scott Nuttall, earned $560 million and $523 million, respectively in 2021.
What's the lesson here? Despite what entrepreneurial gurus want you to believe, there's still a way to make A TON of money as a salaried corporate employee. So if that's you right now, don't give up hope!