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Steve Burke, the chairman and former CEO of NBCUniversal, is extending his tenure with parent company Comcast.
Burke, who had been set to retire from the company this month, will now stay on as chairman of NBCUniversal through the end of 2020. Beginning in Jan. 2021, Burke will shift to a new adviser role with the cable giant.
Burke stepped aside as CEO of NBCUniversal on Jan. 1 of this year, handing day-to-day control of the entertainment and media giant to his successor Jeff Shell. While Burke remains chairman of NBCU, Shell now reports directly to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.
In the press release from December announcing his retirement, NBCUniversal said Burke would “retire on August 14, 2020, following the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.” Of course, the novel coronavirus pandemic pushed the Tokyo Olympics to 2021, making that timeline less significant.
Burke signed a new contract with the cable giant last week, which will keep him on as a senior adviser to Roberts beginning in 2021.
The new contract runs through the end of 2025, and will pay Burke $350,000 annually for the part-time role, according to a copy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It stipulates that Burke will not work for any other company, or in self-employment, without Comcast’s sign-off, all of which is fairly common for former executives serving in advisory roles.
Indeed, Comcast has a history of keeping top executives in the fold after they step down from their roles. Former Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit stepped aside from that job in 2017, and is now a vice chairman at Comcast. Dave Watson succeeded Smit at Comcast Cable. And last year Comcast senior executive vp David Cohen announced his intention to retire from the company and become a senior adviser to Roberts. Cohen also signed a new contract with Comcast last week, keeping him with the company as an adviser through the end of 2025.
Burke, who joined Comcast in 1998 as president of Comcast Cable after a long career at ABC and Disney, was named CEO of NBCUniversal in 2011 after Comcast acquired the company from General Electric. During Burke’s tenure, NBCUniversal’s EBITDA rose from $3.4 billion to $8.6 billion, with revenue hitting $34 billion in 2019, up from $21 billion in 2011. Burke was paid $42.6 million by Comcast last year.
And Burke is not the only media CEO to stick around with the company after stepping down this year.
In February Bob Iger stepped aside as CEO of The Walt Disney Co. and elevated Bob Chapek to the chief executive role.
Iger also shifted to a chairman position after stepping down as CEO, though unlike Burke he continues to play a very active role at Disney helping to lead content development for the company, most notably at its streaming offerings.
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