Recently Comcast held a vote to decide on a pay packing increase for top executives, one of whom is CEO Brian Roberts. The motion was approved with 343 million votes to proceed with the pay hike while 30 million voted against it.
Prior to the vote, Meredith Steihm President of WGA West sent a letter to shareholders saying:
“Approval of this compensation package is inappropriate in light of the ongoing WGA writers’ strike and the associated risks that Comcast executives are creating for investors. Shareholders should send a message to Comcast that if the company could afford to spend $130 million on executive compensation last year, it can afford to pay the estimated $34 million per year that writers are asking for in contract improvements and put an end to this disruptive strike.”
Comcast’s annual shareholder meeting was held on June 7th. Run by CEO Brian Roberts, the company has mostly “non-traded Class B stock,” making it difficult for “outside shareholders” to get a majority vote for proposed changes. Last year, Brian Roberts alone received a $32 million pay package.
Executive pay package increases got the green light at this annual shareholders meeting however, so did a vote supporting an annual “Say on Pay” vote. 368 million shareholders voted yes to this proposal.
Starting next year, Comcast will initiate the “Say on Pay” initiative, which will give top shareholders the right to reject executive pay packages that come up for a vote every year.
Earlier this month, Netflix already held its executive pay increase vote. It was struck down by a wide margin of 243 million voting no compared to 98 million shareholders who voted yes. Netflix had received a similarly themed letter from Meredith Steihm, although it is unclear if this was a direct result of her letter. The streaming service has used its “Say on Pay” practices to turn down pay bumps for executives in the past.