Comcast's Cavanagh Is Highest-Paid U.S. CFO With $41 Million

  • JPMorgan veteran joined largest U.S. cable company in May
  • Cavanagh's pay exceeds that of his boss, CEO Brian Roberts

Comcast Corp. paid Michael J Cavanagh $40.6 million in his first year as the largest U.S. cable company’s chief financial officer.

He’s the best-paid CFO at a publicly traded U.S. company, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Cavanagh’s compensation included a $1.8 million salary, $16.5 million in stock awards, $4 million in option awards, a $6 million cash bonus and $11.8 million in deferred compensation, Comcast reported in the summary compensation table in a Friday proxy statement.

Cavanagh, 50, was hired by Comcast in May after spending less than a year at private equity firm Carlyle Group LP, where he was recruited to be co-president. He previously was a close deputy to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon for more than two decades.

That makes him the second of Dimon’s former lieutenants to top him in compensation this year. First Data Corp. paid Chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano $51.6 million for 2015, almost twice Dimon’s $27 million. Bisignano, who was JPMorgan’s co-chief operating officer, left the firm in 2013 to run KKR & Co.-backed First Data.

Comcast’s Outlook

Cavanagh joined Comcast after the collapse of its $45.2 billion proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc. in 2015 in the face of regulatory hurdles. The end of the deal, more than a year after it was announced, ratcheted up pressure on Comcast to chase growth by other means, from mobile communications in the U.S. to expansion overseas.

Cavanagh’s compensation eclipses that of Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts, who was paid $36.2 million, and that of Stephen B. Burke, the president and CEO of NBCUniversal, who received $33.7 million.

Ruth Porat of Alphabet Inc. is the second-best-paid CFO, with compensation of about $31 million for 2015. Porat joined the owner of the Google search engine last year after serving in the same role at Morgan Stanley. 

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