At Comcast, Brian Roberts Earned $32.9M in 2014, But Steve Burke Got More

The highest-paid executive at media giant Comcast Corp. last year was not its chairman and chief executive.

Steve Burke, the Comcast executive who oversees the company’s giant NBCUniversal television and entertainment unit, was awarded with $33,915,860 in total compensation for 2014, while Roberts earned $32,961,056, according to a filing the Philadelphia company made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Friday.

Burke’s total breaks down into $2.7 million in salary; $7.4 million in awards of stock; $5.4 million in options; $8.4 million in non-equity incentives; a,$3.8 million change in pension value; and $6.4 million in other compensation.

Roberts’ total breaks down into $2.9 million in salary; $5.3 million in stock awards; $5.4 million in option awards; $9 million in non-equity incentives; $6.5 million change in pension value; and $4 million in other compensation.

In the filing, Comcast’s compensation committee cited Burke’s management of NBCU, which showed revenue growth of 7.5% in 2014, a 2.9% jump excluding $1.1 billion in revenue from the company’s telecast of the Sochi Olympics. NBCU also posted an 18.1% increase in operating cash flow last year, the committee noted in Comcast’s proxy filing. “We believe Mr. Burke’s strategic vision (including his commitment to continuing to invest in our programming assets and theme park attractions) has been a critical factor in NBCUniversal attaining such strong results,” the report stated.

Both men had a lot stacked on their plates last year. Comcast is in the midst of trying to complete a proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, a transaction that would make it one of the biggest distributors of content in the nation. NBCU has seen strengthened performance at its broadcast operations, but, as Burke has noted during conference calls with investors, is seeing reduced rates of growth at some of its cable networks and, like many other TV companies, is grappling with digital distribution of its programming that does not get tabulated in the ratings it presents to advertisers.

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