Tuesday started with a reminder of just how sought after *Comcast* COO Steve Burke is as a top executive: Warren Buffett added him to the Berkshire Hathaway board. The Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) board knows too — and how much it would hurt to lose the executive responsible for making sure the *NBC Universal* deal not only happens, but works. That’s why it approved a signing package worth up to $20 million to lock in Burke for the next five years. Burke’s last employment agreement was set to expire Dec. 31, 2010. This one keeps him as the #2 exec to CEO Brian Roberts through Dec. 31, 2014, a span that covers the pivotal time for NBCU.
At the same time, Comcast added to the stability at the top by giving CFO Michael Angelakis a new three-year contract and a signing package worth up to $10 million, and re-signing Arthur R. Block, SVP, General Counsel and Secretary for five years. Block has an expanded role, including working with Burke on the transition planning and integration for the NBCU JV. The new deals were detailed in an SEC filing after the market closed:
— Burke’s package: Burke is also Comcast EVP and president of Comcast Cable. His salary and current bonuses remain the same. The two-step signing package includes a $2 million contribution to his deferred compensation plan; a $3 million cash bonus and a grant of $6 million in restricted stock units (RSUs) following the Dec. 16 signing; and a second round of $3 million in case and $6 million in RSUs on June 30, 2010, or when the NBCU deal closes (whichever comes first). The RSUs vest on the 13th month anniversary of the grant — as long as Burke stays with the company and Comcast’s year-over-year free cash flow increases. Burke would have to reimburse Comcast 100 percent for termination with cause or without good reason within six months of signing and 50 percent within the next six months.
— Competition: The fine print includes a list of the industries and companies covered by a one-year non-compete — and it shows just how big Comcast has become and how important the internet and digital media are to the company. (The odd duck in the flock: Joost shows up in a couple of categories.) Competitive areas include :
— distribution of video programming to consumer or commercial customers or users, whether by analog or digital
technology, to any type of end-user equipment
— provision of Internet access or portal service to end users
— provision of voice and/or data service to consumer or commercial customers or users
— (i) creation, (ii) production or (iii) sale, license or other provision, of audio and/or video program content
— provision of Internet-based products or services to consumer or commercial users
— creation, development, enhancement, testing, deployment, operation, licensing or sale of software or other
— provision of Internet-based products or services to consumer or commercial users.
— technology used in any of the products or services described above.