NBCUni CEO Steve Burke Made $34.7 Million in 2010

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Comcast also discloses a $31.1 million pay package for chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

NEW YORK – Cable giant Comcast Corp. disclosed in a regulatory filing Friday that chairman and CEO Brian Roberts and new NBCUniversal president and CEO Steve Burke saw their compensation rise somewhat in 2010, with the former’s bigger increase narrowing the pay gap between the two.

Roberts’ compensation package totaled $31.1 million, up 14%. Burke’s total compensation amounted to $34.7 million, up slightly more than 2% over 2009. That is a smaller increase than what has been disclosed for most industry executives so far, but Burke started from a higher level.

In comparison, Time Warner recently disclosed that its chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes saw a 34.5% gain in the value of his total 2010 compensation package to $26.3 million. And Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger’s compensation rose to $29.6 million for the fiscal year ended Oct. 2.

Meanwhile, Comcast will at its annual meeting in May let shareholders decide on a proposal to hold advisory, meaning non-binding, votes to approve executive compensation, according to Friday’s filing. The company proposes to hold these votes every three years. Viacom shareholders recently got the right to approve the compensation of top executives on a non-binding basis every three years. Other media giants are also facing votes on such proposals.

At the annual meeting, investors will also vote on a shareholder proposal that Comcast’s chairman should be someone who is not a current or former executive officer of the cable operator. “Our board believes that we and our shareholders are best served by having Brian L. Roberts serve as chairman and chief executive officer,” Comcast argued in the filing. “Our board also believes that board independence and oversight of management are effectively maintained through the board’s current composition,” among other things.

Both Burke and Roberts saw their base salaries decline slightly in 2010 to $2.2 million and $2.8 million, respectively, as the year had 26 bi-weekly pay periods instead of 27 as in 2009. Roberts, Burke and other top executives previously requested that their annual base salary be frozen through Feb. 29, 2012.

Roberts once again saw no regular bonus payment in 2010, while Burke got the same $3 million as in 2009. In a footnote, Comcast explained that the bonus in form of a cash payment came as Burke extended his employment contract with the company.

However, Roberts scored a $10.9 million annual performance-based bonus, up from $8.2 million in 2009, making this his single largest portion of his compensation package. Burke got an $8.7 million performance bonus, up from $6.6 million.
“Based on achievement of specified metrics in 2010, our named executive officers were entitled to receive 161% of their respective target bonus amounts for the year,” Comcast said in the regulatory filing. “However, prior to their fully-earned bonuses being determined, the named executive officers advised the compensation committee of their recommendation that they not receive full payment of their bonuses, and, as such, were granted 130% of their target amounts.”

Both Burke and Roberts also scored slightly higher stock awards, which at $10.1 million are the highest single portion of Burke’s overall pay package, and option awards.

Burke relinquished his role as president of Comcast Cable in March 2010 to focus on his role as COO. With the completion of the NBCUniversal acquisition at the end of January, Burke gave up his Comcast COO role to focus on heading up NBCUniversal.