Senior NBCUniversal Leaders Taking 20 Percent Pay Cut

Jeff Shell - Getty - H 2017
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Chief executive Jeff Shell on Tuesday laid out the cost-saving measures in a staff memo.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell's executive committee leaders, a group of about a dozen people, will take a 20 percent salary reduction as part of the company's coronavirus cost-cutting measures.

The company also plans to "roll back" salary increases for exempt employees who make more than $100,000 in salary.

"For the vast majority of you, this means reversing the recent merit increase that just went into effect in early March," Shell wrote Tuesday in his memo, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "This rollback will be implemented in early June on a go-forward basis. It does not include our Parks employees, as they have already taken salary reduction actions."

Of the cuts, the exec said, "We know that these changes are difficult, and hopefully we can get to the other side of this crisis as fast as possible so that we can resume our growth."

Shell also used the memo to praise the company's departing news chairman, Andy Lack, and his successor, Cesar Conde.

"I want to sincerely thank Andy Lack, who decided to step down as part of this reorganization," the CEO wrote. "Over the past five years, Andy has overseen award-winning breaking news coverage and outstanding political reporting at NBC News, and has helped to supercharge MSNBC into one of the most-watched networks in all of cable. His hard work and many accomplishments have made the company proud."

Summing up the current moment for his employees, Shell wrote, "I understand that this is a trying time, and that many of you may be feeling anxious. I also know that some of the expense and compensation measures that we are planning to take have real-life implications and make things even more difficult.  I want to thank each of you in advance for your understanding, resiliency and hard work. Getting through times like this remind me of what a great company we have and, with your help, I know we can emerge from this even stronger."

As part of his ascension to the top management job, Shell told staffers that he visited the network's 30 Rock office and CNBC's Englewood Cliffs office last week to meet with the "essential personnel" still working to keep the networks on the air. 

"I am so impressed, not only by this group specifically, but also more generally by the way our company has transitioned to the new normal," he wrote. "I want to thank all of you for your dedication and focus."

Shell also seemed to be foreshadowing a potential round of staff cuts, writing that the company will "take a thoughtful look at our business and implement structural changes that will make us stronger in the long term" as well as "address our expense base, but do so in a way that is logical, fair and equitable across each of the businesses."