The generous pay packages come despite the fact that much of NBCUniversal’s business of making and distributing movies and turning those properties into theme park rides was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also resulted in thousands of layoffs.
Shell, who took over as chief of the media division in 2019 from Steve Burke, did not previously disclose his salary because he was not yet a named executive officer. Roberts did take a modest cut in his pay package. The Comcast chieftain made $36.4 million in 2019 and $35.0 million in 2018. His 2020 figure did top the $32.5 million he took in during the 2017 fiscal year.
Shell’s package consisted of $2.6 million in salary, as well as $3.7 million in stock awards, $3.7 million in option awards and $5.88 million in non-equity incentives. It was a busy year for Shell. Universal signed a landmark pact with theater chains such as AMC and Cinemark that enabled them to release new movies in the home within weeks of their theatrical debuts. That model has been deployed on the likes of “Trolls World Tour” and “News of the World.” NBCUniversal also launched Peacock, its streaming challenger to Netflix in April. The service launched as the competition is heating up in the digital video space, with the likes of Disney and WarnerMedia also fielding streaming services.
Roberts had a $3.5 million salary, $10.6 million in stock awards, $10.6 million in options and $7.7 million in non-equity incentives. Shell and Roberts were charitable donating six months of their salaries to COVID-19-related charities, amounting to $1.3 million and $1.7 million respectively.
Other top executives included Comcast Cable CEO David Watson, whose pay package topped $19.7 million, and Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanaugh, whose pay topped out at $25.2 million.