Comcast continues to put its fingerprint on NBC Universal even though the merger is not complete. The MSO announced yesterday the new executive team that will run NBCU when the marriage is finally official. The new structure will create positions, change the scope of others and shift some reporting assignments, according to a memo obtained by Multichannel News from Comcast COO Steve Burke, who will become CEO of NBCU when the deal closes.
The changes leave much of the current team intact, but also include several newcomers from outside the ranks of both companies, and shift some responsibilities.
Details from Burke's memo include:
- Bonnie Hammer will become chairman, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, responsible for USA Network, Syfy, E!, G4, Chiller, Sleuth, Universal HD and Universal Cable Productions. G4 president Neil Tiles and a still-to-be-named E! president will report to her.
- Lauren Zalaznick will become chairman, NBC Universal EntertainmentDigital Networks and Integrated Media. Bravo, Oxygen, and iVillage will continue to report to her, as will the Integrated Strategic Marketing Group. Digital properties Daily Candy and Fandango, Spanish language broadcaster Telemundo, and cable networks Mun2, Style, and PBS Sprout will also report to Zalaznick.
- Dave Cassaro becomes president, Cable Advertising Sales.
- Marianne Gambelli was named president, NBC Network Advertising Sales.
- Ted Harbert, currently CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group, will join NBC Universal as chairman, NBC Broadcasting.
- Robert Greenblatt, formerly Showtime's entertainment president, will become chairman, NBC Entertainment.
- Steve Capus will continue to serve as president of NBC News/MSNBC and Mark Hoffman will remain president of CNBC.
- Dick Ebersol will become chairman of the NBC Sports Group, responsible for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Versus and the Comcast SportsNet regional networks. (Sources said former Turner executive Mark Lazarus will be hired to head up the cable sports holdings.)
- Ron Meyer will continue to be president and chief operating officer, Universal Studios.
- Jeff Shell, now president of Comcast Programming Group, will move to London to become chairman of NBC Universal International.
- Lynn Calpeter will continue to serve as executive vice president and chief financial officer of NBCU.
- Patricia Fili-Krushel, formerly executive vice president, administration, at Time Warner Inc., will join NBCU as executive vice president responsible for the Media Works, Business Strategy, Human Resources and Legal units.
- Rick Cotton will continue to serve as executive vice president and general counsel.
- Salil Mehta will continue to serve as president, business operations, strategy and development.
- John Eck will remain as president of Media Works, reporting to Fili-Krushel.
- Adam Miller, formerly president of the Abernathy MacGregor Group, will join as executive vice president, corporate affairs.
- Matt Bond, currently Comcast's executive vice president of acquisition, will join NBCU as executive VP, content distribution. Bridget Baker, NBCU president, TV Networks Distribution, and JB Perrette, president of digital and affiliate distribution, will report to him.
The memo prompted Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to ask the Justice Department to look into whether those changes violated antitrust laws. Franken, who has long criticized the Comcast/NBCU deal, said Comcast could be seeking to indirectly exert control over NBCU in advance of federal approval. But Comcast maintains that transition and integration planning is common in transactions of this type.
Meanwhile, the American Cable Association sent a letter to the FCC yesterday reminding regulators that they "have an obligation to look past Comcast and NBCU's self-serving assurances and must mitigate the obvious public interest harms of their massive media merger by imposing granite-strong conditions that are guaranteed to prevent the predictable above-market spikes in programming costs to consumers of small cable operators... Simply put, we need to get it right this time."
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