Comcast Corp.'s Brian L. Roberts' compensation fell 20 percent in 2007 to $20.8 million, according to the company's proxy statement released yesterday.
Other top Comcast executives Stephen B. Burke and David L. Cohen also saw pay cuts as the cable and Internet company fended off criticism by big stockholders that it invested too heavily in its businesses in 2007 and ignored investors.
Comcast's stock was one of the worst performers among big companies in the United States in 2007. A weak economy hurt the company's business, and managers accelerated spending on high definition and a new division for commercial-data services.
Comcast, based in Philadelphia and the nation's largest cable company, employs about 100,000 people. Its stock recovered this year after Roberts, the chairman and chief executive officer, said the company would pay a 25-cent annual dividend and repurchase a huge amount of stock. Roberts had earned $26 million in salary, bonus and other compensation in 2006.
Burke, Comcast's chief operating officer and president of the cable division, earned $16.9 million in 2007, compared with $19.1 million in 2006.
Cohen, executive vice president and lobbyist, earned $7.4 million in 2007, compared with $10 million.
Michael J. Angelakis, the chief financial officer hired in 2007, earned $20.5 million. About half of his compensation was related to his signing bonus, Cohen said yesterday. Angelakis' pay package was "totally in line with chief financial officers in Fortune 100 companies," Cohen said.
Ralph Roberts, a cofounder of the company and a director, earned $24.7 million in 2007, compared with $24.1 million in 2006. Ralph Roberts, 88, agreed earlier this year to a base salary and bonus of $1 a year, responding to critics who said the company was run like a family business.
Ralph Roberts, who is Brian Roberts' father, remains eligible for deferred compensation, pension, and life insurance proceeds that make up the bulk of his pay package.
In the proxy, Comcast is asking shareholders to approve Gerald L. Hassell, president and director of the Bank of New York Mellon Corp., as a new director. It would bring the board to 13 members, nine of them considered independent of management.
Comcast shareholders will vote on several governance and economic issues this year, according to the proxy.
The Communications Workers of America is asking to dismantle a dual-class share structure that gives Brian Roberts about one-third voting control of the company. The measure has garnered about 50 percent of the class A shares in previous years.
Another shareholder proposal asks the company to disclose the names of all executives who earn more than $500,000 a year.
There is a proposal that would force the company to nominate two people for each director opening, and one asking the company to quantify and explain pay differentials between top executives and the lowest-paid Comcast workers.
A proposal also calls for shareholders to vote on executive compensation.
The Comcast board has asked shareholders to vote against the proposals. The annual meeting is set for May 14 at the Wachovia complex.