Comcast Kills Payout Plan for Founder

Shareholder angst leads cable giant to drop multi-million-dollar benefit package
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Feb 14, 2008 6:46 AM CST
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, left, and television and radio personality Ryan Seacrest, right, help announce new Comcast products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Responding to shareholder complaints, the 87-year-old founder of Cable giant Comcast will cut his annual salary to $1 and the company will scrap a multi-million-dollar death benefit negotiated in December that would have paid heirs his salary for five years, the Wall Street Journal reports. Ralph Roberts, father of CEO Brian Roberts and chairman of Comcast's executive and finance committee, was paid $1.85 million in 2007.

Major shareholder Chieftain Capital Management Inc. last month called for the ouster of Brian Roberts as CEO, criticizing his father’s death benefit as lavish. Comcast said the elder Roberts requested the deal be scrapped to avoid controversy. Comcast’s stock dropped by a third in 2007 as competition has cut its margins. Fourth-quarter earnings will be released today.