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Entertainment execs vow to donate their salaries to virus relief efforts
Throughout the global crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, acts of charity have been frequent. This week, one such act was announced by Comcast chief Brian Roberts, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and other division leaders at Comcast who have vowed to donate their salaries to coronavirus-related relief efforts as the world grapples with the devastating pandemic.
Variety reports the execs informed staff of their intentions via a memo on Wednesday.
Roberts said the salary donations would also be made by Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh, Comcast Cable chief Dave Watson and Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch.
He noted that Comcast has committed $500 million to continue pay and benefits for employees that have been affected shutdowns.
“For the duration of this situation, our senior leaders, Mike Cavanagh, Dave Watson, Jeff Shell, Jeremy Darroch and I have chosen to donate 100% of our salaries to charities that support COVID-19 relief efforts. We hope in some small way we can make this time easier on our employees, our local communities and our customers,” Roberts wrote.
High rates of executive compensation have become a source of criticism for many corporate giants, Comcast included, which has put pressure on companies to support hourly wage employees through the unprecedented economic contraction caused by coronavirus precautions.
In 2018, Roberts earned $3.2 million in salary and total compensation of $35 million. Cavanagh earned $2 million in salary and a total compensation of $21.7 million. Watson earned $1.5 million in salary and a total of $14.8 million. Salary information for Shell, who was promoted to CEO in December, has not yet been made public.
Here is Roberts’ full memo:
As our world changes by the minute with the new reality that COVID-19 brings, I continue to be amazed and inspired by our people and the human spirit at Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky. This is obviously an incredibly difficult time for our society. None of us has ever experienced anything like this before, and while it is easy to get mired in the many challenges we are all facing, I think that in uncertain times like these it is incumbent upon us to remain optimistic and look for the good, even if it can be elusive.
One of the bright spots for me has been watching our employees on the frontlines go above and beyond. Our Comcast and Sky engineers, technicians and call center representatives are working around the clock to keep our network running and make sure our customers maintain their vital internet connectivity. Our NBC and Sky news organizations are keeping our world informed – setting up remote studios in basements, living rooms and everything in between. Meanwhile, our wonderful talent and late-night hosts are doing their best to make us smile. I can’t thank these teams enough.
I am also grateful to the leadership across Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky who have stepped up again and again to do the right thing and take care of our teams. Every employee in every location around the world who is able to work from home is doing so, and where we have people who need to be in an office or in the field, we are doing everything possible to make their environments clean and safe.
Across our businesses, we have committed $500 million to support our employees through continued pay and benefits where operations have been paused or impacted, and we have committed significant resources to support our customers. Additionally, effective today, and for the duration of this situation, our senior leaders, Mike Cavanagh, Dave Watson, Jeff Shell, Jeremy Darroch and I have chosen to donate 100% of our salaries to charities that support COVID-19 relief efforts. We hope in some small way we can make this time easier on our employees, our local communities and our customers.
I don’t know when the worst will be behind us. But I do know that the best way forward will continue to be together. As we navigate the challenges ahead, please take care of yourselves and each other. Reach out to colleagues and friends who need a little extra support. Kindness, compassion and humanity are needed now more than ever, especially for those who have been personally impacted by this virus.
This too shall pass, and we will be on the other side of this crisis. But at this moment I have never been prouder of our company, our people and the collective strength and resilience from all corners of our great organization.
Brian L. Roberts
Chairman and CEO
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