Comcast Chief Brian Roberts Reaps $34 Million in 2021 Pay

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

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts got a 4% raise in 2021, with total compensation of $34 million, fueled mainly by a 27% gain in stock awards for the year.

Roberts’ annual salary actually dipped 5% to $3.2 million from $3.4 million in the prior year, but a 27% increase in stock awards -- from $10.6 million to $13.5 million -- helped lift the media chief’s total compensation for the year.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, who oversees the company’s content unit, including its streaming service Peacock, got the biggest lift in total compensation -- 30% -- as his 2021 haul rose to $21.6 million from $16.5 million in the prior year. Shell also saw a slight decline in salary, by 4% to $2.5 million, while a 48.6% increase in stock awards (to $5.5 million from $3.7 million) and a 67% increase in the value of his nonequity incentive plan compensation (to $9.9 million from $5.9 million) more than made up the difference. 

Peacock ended 2021 with 24.5 million monthly active users, about three-quarters of the way towards its 2024 goal of 30 million to 35 million users. The streamer said it would double its content spend in 2022 to $3 billion. NBCUniversal as a whole saw revenue rise 26% in 2021 to $34.3 billion.  

Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson made $22.7 million in 2021, a 15.5% increase over the prior year. Watson’s salary rose 10% for the year to $2.2 million from $2 million, but the biggest increase came in stock awards (60% to $6.7 million) and a 51% increase in nonequity incentive plan compensation ($8.9 million from $5.9 million). 

Comcast chief financial officer Mike Cavanagh’s total compensation rose 8.3% for the year to $27.4 million, including $10.1 million in stock awards (a 44% increase) and $8.6 million in nonequity incentive plan compensation. ■

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.