Talk about incentive plans: according to an SEC filing, Discovery Communications (NSDQ: DISCA) CEO David Zaslav could earn more than $55 million if he sticks around through 2014 and hits all his goals. That’s on top of base compensation and annual bonuses. (Details below.) The payments are included in a contract extension announced today by Discovery, complete with glowing comments from Liberty Media’s Dr. John Malone. Zaslav’s contract had more than two years to run but, pleased with his progress on every front since joining Discovery from *NBC Universal* in early 2007 (and hoping to keep him from being headhunted), the board moved to lock him in through the beginning of 2015.
His new compensation package:
— includes a 50 percent raise to $3 million base salary, effective Jan. 1, 2011;
— switches a guaranteed bonus that started at $3 million annually and was scheduled to move down to $1 million a year, to an target annual incentive amount that increases to $4 million for 2009 and moves up $500,000 a year to $6.5 million in 2014.
— includes an incentive payment for service; if he is still at the company on Dec. 31, 2014, he would be “entitled to receive, upon his separation from service (including upon a voluntary resignation), an amount equal to the sum of (a) two times the average of the preceding two year