Comcast's CEO Makes $27.8 Million, Does He Deserve It?

Some of Comcast’s shareholders are upset that CEO Brian L. Roberts made $27.8 million dollars last year, and are part of a growing number of shareholders who want a say in how much a CEO gets paid. The recent uproar stems, in large part, from Home Depot’s former CEO Robert “Big Bob” Nardelli’s “undeserved” $211 million package. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Members of the House Financial Services Committee, led by Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), approved a bill last week that would give shareholders an advisory vote on pay.

In a statement on the bill, Frank said he did “not understand those who argue that the people who make up our stock markets are collectively very wise, but at the same time are somehow incapable of rendering a coherent opinion of what they should pay those they employ to run the corporations that they own.”

According to Forbes, Roberts made $14.3 mil in 2005.

Shareholders with more rights? Good or bad for customer service? —MEGHANN MARCO

Shareholders ask say on executive pay [Philadelphia Inquirer]

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  1. Scazza says:

    Compared to other CEOs of big corporations, its not huge, but does he deserve it? Doubtful.

  2. Someguyouknow says:

    Not really a fan of Comcast anymore. The internet has been pretty good but the phone service is horrible. Several days each month without phone service (around 2-8 hours each time). If they improve that, i would be happy. That had nothing to do with Brian L. Roberts salary but… meh… i felt like ranting.

  3. etinterrapax says:

    “Deserve” is probably the wrong word, but I wish that more CEOs felt more fiduciary responsibility toward their companies than to themselves. No one needs that kind of money, even to live very well. And though I know someone is going to talk about how this is capitalism &c., that amount of money strikes me as unconscionably excessive compared to factors like what other employees are paid and the quality of service the company provides. But I don’t think there’s much to be done about it.

  4. lpranal says:

    I really think that many of the “does the CEO deserve x amount of dollars” arguments are really only half of the picture. To me, the more important factor seems to be that CEOs as a whole are receiving percent increases in their pay that are disproportionate to

    a) the performance of the company, specifically that which is directly attributable to the CEO’s actions

    b) the increase in pay for the “underlings’ (i.e., everyone else)

    It’s a two-way street, Mr. Roberts. By your argument, shouldn’t competent employees who actually make up the company get to decide their pay?

  5. axiomatic says:

    CEO’s triple dipping on salaries?!?!? Say it isn’t so!!!

    What is worse is that you know this guy knows nothing about his own product.

    Hire from within the company people. Leave these Ivy League asshats out in the cold. Maybe then the Ivy League colleges will start building upstanding citizens instead of idiots who loot the company with their own salary or suggest stupid things like “outsourcing” which don’t really save money.

    But I’m not bitter…

  6. TimSPC says:

    The real question is why would anyone keep working if they made $27.8 million? Unless you’re done spending time with your family and have seen every corner of the Earth worth seeing, why go back to work?

  7. RandomHookup says:

    @TimSPC:

    There was an interesting article I saw recently that said the super rich don’t plan on giving all their billions to their children, but they also don’t plan on giving it away to someone else either.

    Seems most of them accumulate the money just to say they have it.

  8. DougDascenzo says:

    Does this guy do his job 27.8X better than another guy who would do it for $1 million? It’s one thing to pay professional athletes absurd salaries, because they are literally the only people in the world who can perform at that level. But what does this guy do that is worth $27.8 million/year? Can he mold the future with his mind or something?

    The problem is, the people on the board who determine his pay are high level executives and CEOs for OTHER companies as well, so it’s in their best interest to jack up the pay. When it’s their turn for a raise, they just have to point at his salary.

  9. fish_heads says:

    @DougDascenzo:

    Agreed. When those with most of the wealth get to decide where more wealth goes, it would only be logical that they continue rewarding themselves…

  10. Meatloaf says:

    Yes, I would say he does deserve it. He led Comcast to the hugely profitable company that it is today. And after all, it’s his father Ralph Roberts that is the founder of the company. The family deserves compensation for the hard work that they have put in. Improving customer service is a different issue – and that’s what will determine if Brian’s company continues it’s success into the future.

  11. vdestro says:

    No one on the planet deserves $27.8 Million a year. I include anyone that has ever lived, is currently alive, or has yet to be born. No one.

  12. axiomatic says:

    So, NEPOTISM makes it “OK”? I’ll remember that next time I gouge you all at the gas pump for my family owned and run oil and gas company.

    Sorry but I can justify maybe 4x or 5x the next highest paid employee, but (est.) 27.8x the salary? I think not.

  13. zentec says:

    The CEOs of major Japanese and European corporations do not make this kind of money.

    It’s one thing to be highly compensated, it’s completely another to be obscenely compensated. That’s stockholder money, and it should go to the stockholders.

  14. Prince of Zemunda says:

    @TimSPC

    You are right these CEO’s salaries are like winning the Powerball jackpot every year. What is your motivation to work when you make that much? These executive boards okay these absurd salaries so they don’t get screwed on their turn around.

  15. orig_club_soda says:

    Who are we to decide whether he deserves it? We pass wage law not based on productivity nor value to the company. Why should the top end of the scale have to adhere to criteria the bottom of the scale does not?

  16. axiomatic says:

    Give me an example of someone at any company making more than the CEO then we will talk.

    Also, this is Comcast we are talking about here; a crappy product with a CEO raking in heavy cheddar.

    There is no way to justify your logic unless Comcast was offering a good product.

  17. Hackoff says:

    Heck no! Comcast sucks! Most of the shows available in HD broadcast aren’t presented in HD. I talked with a Comcast tech (off the record) and she verified that Comcast simply chooses to provide limited HD coverage depending on your location.

    Comcast sucks!

  18. SonicPhoenix says:

    @vdestro

    If by his actions he increased the profit of the company by more than $27.8 million a year than he does indeed merit that amount.

    Pretend for a second that you were given a choice. You could spend $1 million to earn $5 million or you could spend $10 million to earn $50 million. Which would you choose?

    Companies have to make this decision on a regular basis when choosing CEO’s. If the CEO legitimately increases the company’s profits by several times his salary then his salary can be justified.

    Most people don’t have a problem with hugely successful CEO’s receiving many millions of dollars because the benefit they bring to the comany far outweighs their salary. What people are pissed about are the schlubs that repeatedly run companies into the ground and still get millions of dollars.

  19. Roundonbothends says:

    I made more than the CEO, and I’m unemployed. He

  20. Sonnymooks says:

    Does he deserve it? Good question.
    It depends on several things.

    1)Is he so good at his job that another company would pay him 26 million?

    2)Does he help make the company more then enough money where his compensation makes sense?

    How much you are paid is not a moral question, its about results, and profit, If the company is making money hand over fist because of him, and would not be making money hand over fist if he was not there or would make substantially less money without him then he is worth it.

    A CEO can justify getting one hundred million dollars a year, if he is personally and directly responsible for generating the company billions of additonal dollars of profit in a year.

    That said these are the questions that the shareholders should ask and evaluate and determine, not people outside of the company. You might see salaries go down, or see them go up, but at least the salaries would be more justifiable.

  21. Roundonbothends says:

    continuing, is still there.

  22. Esquire99 says:

    For those of you who insist that no one needs to make that kind of money, wake up. This is 2007, there are lots of people who make WAY more than he does. Just because you cannot even conceive of making that much money yourself does not give the right to preach about how no one should. Most of the people in these positions have either built the companies from the ground up, or are highly educated, and have worked hard their whole lives to work their way up the ladder to get into such a position. People act like these people are evil for being rich, and that seems to be a common way of thinking in some parts of the United States. The Chicago Tribune ran an article the other day that showed the potential Jurors in the Conrad Black case had indicated they distrusted rich people. Perhaps it’s jealousy, or the fact that some people lack the motivation, or drive that would allow them to EVER see themselves making more than a modest salary. These CEO’s aren’t working 8-5, they work long days, and have their digital lease (blackberry,etc) on at all times. I just do not understand the resentment for the wealthy that we in the US posses. I’m not wealthy at all, but I have drive, motivation, and work ethic and I intend to make myself rich through hard work and persistence. I’m not going to sit back and be pissed off because someone makes alot of money, I’m going to lean forward and try to figure out how I can do the same thing.

  23. Zach Everson says:

    He’d be worth it if he can figure out why Comcast strips my attachments when I e-mail a non-Comcast customer.

  24. synergy says:

    The odds of becoming that rich when you aren’t from certain families/places/colleges and can’t spell correctly are slim.

  25. Sonnymooks says:

    The best way to become rich, find a way to make someone else a whole lot of money….either that or you know work, save your money, spend wisely and get an education that allows you to do something that people are willing to pay you for.

  26. IBEW21 says:

    well i personally do not think Brian Roberts should be making 27.8 million A YEAR. i work at the cortland shop in the city of chicago where the workers there chose to be union. and for that they pay us 10.70 an hour, and at the non union shops they make 4 dollars more than us. the reason they do this is because they simply do not want the union. we are currently in negotiations for a new contract, and comcast does not want to raise our pay. i take that back. they offered us 2.25% which if you do the math its a whole 0.21 cent raise per hour. and that still does not even compare to the non union shops. so do i think he deserves 27.8 million a year? hell no. unless hes willing to give us the same pay as the non union shops. he still doesnt deserve it! so brian roberts is you see this we are asking you just to be fair with us. and 10.90$ an hour doesnt support a family pay bills and especially gas, not only that the cost of living in the city of chicago is not cheap.

    Local 21 IBEW