Comcast chief operating officer Steve Burke, who will assume responsibility for running the Philadelphia MSO's vast content assets after its NBC Universal joint venture passes regulatory muster later this year, got a Hollywood-style salary increase in 2009, with his total compensation rising 50% to $33.9 million from $22.6 million in the prior year.
According to Comcast's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday, the bulk of Burke' increase was fueled by additional stock awards -- at $10.1 million in 2009 more than twice the $4 million he was awarded in 2008. Burke also received a $3 million bonus -- he received no bonus in 2008 -- and his base salary rose slightly to $2.33 million in 2009 vs. $2.22 million in 2008.
Burke, who has overseen the growth at Comcast's cable operations since joining the company in 1998, will take on the additional responsibility of its cable and broadcast programming assets once its NBCU joint venture with General Electric receives government approval expected later this year. Earlier this year Comcast hired former Charter Communications CEO Neil Smit as president of Comcast Cable Communications, in charge of day-to-day operations of the cable systems and reporting directly to Burke.
While Burke's pay raise appears to be the most dramatic, he wasn't the only one to receive a big bump in compensation.
Chief financial officer Michael Angelakis, the architect of the NBCU deal, saw his total compensation rise 49% to $21.6 million from $14.5 million in 2008, fueled largely by a doubling of his stock awards for the year to $6.1 million from $3 million in 2008.
Comcast said that the total compensation Burke and Angelakis received in 2009 could be a bit misleading. About $11 million (including a $3 million signing bonus, $6 million in stock options and $2 million in incentive contributions) of Burke's and $5.5 million of Angelakis' compensation packages are part of new five-year employment agreements the two signed late in 2009. Although both men received that money in 2009, Comcast believes that it is important to note that backing out those amounts would make Burke's overall 2009 compensation increase about 2% to $22.9 million and Angelakis at about 10% to $16.1 million.
Meanwhile, executive vice president Dave Cohen received a 10% increase in compensation from $8.9 million in 2008 to $9.8 million and senior vice president, general counsel and secretary Arthur Block received an 88% increase to $6.2 million from $3.3 million in 2008.
Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts received one of the smallest raises -- 3.8% to $27.2 million from $26.2 million in 2008.