Comcast Chief Brian Roberts’ Exec Pay Falls in 2020

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts (Image credit: Comcast)

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts saw his total compensation dip about 10% in 2020 to $32.7 million from $36.4 million in the prior year, the result of lower incentives and a change in the interest gained on his pension awards. 

Roberts’ base salary rose slightly to $3.4 million from $3.3 million, and though his stock awards and option awards nearly doubled to $10.58 million and $10.6 million, respectively, those gains were nearly erased by declines in the interest gained on his pension. 

According to Comcast’s proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission April 23, the interest gained on Roberts’ pension was $150,134 in 2020, compared to $7.6 million in the prior year. Other compensation -- which includes contributions to retirement plans and personal use of company aircraft -- was significantly less, dropping to about $200,158 from $4.9 million in the prior year. 

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Roberts also saw his non-equity incentives decline from $9.9 million in 2019 to $7.7 million in 2020.

Chief financial officer Michael Cavanagh’s total compensation dipped about 5.8% to $25.25 million from $26.8 million, mainly due to a decline in “other” compensation. Cavanagh received $62,088 in other compensation in 2020, compared to $2.28 million in 2021.

 Jeff Shell, who was named CEO of NBCUniversal last year, received $16.5 million in total compensation in 2020, including a base salary of $2.6 million, stock and option awards of $3.7 million each, respectively and a non-equity incentives valued at $5.9 million. There was no comparison in the proxy to the previous year. 

Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson was the only senior executive who saw an overall increase in compensation, with his total take rising 16.7% to $19.7 million from $16.9 in the previous year. Watson, who received 100% of his annual bonus due to record performance at the cable unit, got a  big lift in non-equity incentive compensation (to $5.9 million from $4.6 million). His stock awards and option awards rose nearly $1 million each in the period, to $4.2 million each, respectively. 

All four executives also donated 100% of their salaries from April 1 to Sept. 30 to charities supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. According to the proxy, that amounted to $1.7 million for Roberts, $1.2 million for Cavanagh; $1 million for Watson and $1.25 million for Shell.