NBCUniversal is slashing salaries because of the coronavirus, a day after the broadcasting giant’s surprise ouster of NBC News chairman Andy Lack.
In response to the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, NBCU is cutting the pay of its senior management by 20 percent and rolling back pay increases for employees making more than $100,000, according to a source close to the company.
The pay cuts, outlined in a memo from Chief Executive Jeff Shell that circulated on Tuesday, won’t hit all of senior management, according to the source. But the cuts, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, will hit Shell’s direct reports and the company’s top execs, with about 15 people taking a 20 percent pay cut, the source said.
“In order to deal with the depth of this crisis and its effect on our company we need to address our cost base,” Shell wrote.
The salary cuts come one day after the company rolled out a massive restructuring that led to the departure of NBC News chairman Andy Lack. Lack was replaced by Cesar Condé, a well-respected executive who was running the company’s Spanish-language network Telemundo.
Shell also rejiggered much of NBCUniversal’s broadcast, cable and streaming operations under Mark Lazarus.
Aside from pay cuts and rollbacks in raises, Shell said travel, entertainment budgets and the use of outside consultants will be reduced amid stiff drops in advertising revenue.
NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, has been hit hard by COVID-19 lockdown measures. The division includes movie studio Universal Pictures, Universal Studios theme parks and networks, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and USA network.
“There is no question that the current environment is having a significant impact on our company’s performance,” Shell said, citing the closure of theme parks and the shutdown of TV and movie production, as well as the postponement of the summer Olympics, which the network was slated to broadcast.
“I believe these changes not only put us in a position to become a more efficient company but also will enable us to have a more cohesive content strategy thereby strengthening our competitive position,” Shell added.