By Meg James
2:27 PM CDT, August 16, 2013
Comcast Corp. has increased the salary of NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke and extended his tenure through August 2018.
The Philadelphia-based cable TV giant on Friday said it has extended Burke's employment contract for five years and provided him with a nearly 20% bump in base salary to $2.6 million, up from $2.2 million, effective Sept. 1.
Comcast cited Burke's efforts to sharpen NBCUniversal's business strategy, including making beneficial acquisitions and dramatically improving the company's financial performance, as reasons to renew his contract.
Burke's previous deal was set to expire next year.
As part of the renewal, the 55-year-old Burke will receive a $5-million signing bonus, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Of that amount, $2.5 million will be paid to Burke's deferred compensation plan and the remaining $2.5 million will held in restricted stock units that will be payable next year if NBCUniversal increases its profitability.
Burke's annual bonus will continue to be calculated using the same formula as before, with an eligible award of up to 300% of his base salary.
Comcast wholly owns NBCUniversal. The cable company bought General Electric Co.'s remaining 49% stake in the media company earlier this year. Comcast acquired its initial stake in NBCUniversal in January 2011, and installed Burke, one of its most senior executives, as chief executive of the New York-based media company.
In Friday's regulatory filing, Comcast praised Burke for "outstanding work in integrating NBCUniversal and its businesses into the company (both organizationally and culturally), and making extraordinary progress in improving NBCUniversal’s businesses and results."
Burke has reorganized NBCUniversal's executive ranks and streamlined business units. He oversaw the divestiture of the company's stake in the A&E Television networks and NBCUniversal's acquisition of the 50% stake of the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando that NBCUniversal previously did not own. Now NBCUniversal owns 100% of both the Orlando and Los Angeles theme parks.
Key business units, including the NBC broadcast network and film studio Universal Pictures, have substantially improved their financial performance this year. In the second quarter, NBCUniversal's revenue was up 8.9% to nearly $6 billion. NBCUniversal's improved results pleased Wall Street.
Last year, Burke received compensation valued at $26.3 million, an increase of 11.3% over the year before.
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