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Burke to take reins at NBC Universal

Mon, 09/27/2010 - 8:35am
Mike Robuck

Comcast announced yesterday that Steve Burke would become CEO of NBC Universal once the deal with General Electric closes.

Comcast has said that it expects its acquisition of 51 percent of NBCU from General Electric to be wrapped up by year's end once it receives federal approval.

Steve BurkeOn Friday, NBCU's current president and CEO, Jeff Zucker, said he anticipated Comcast bringing in one of its own employees to run NBC Universal. Comcast said Zucker will continue to serve in his current positions at NBCU until the deal is done, and then he is slated to work with Burke during the transition.

For now, Comcast said it didn't anticipate any additional structural or personnel announcements until the deal closing process and timing are certain.

Burke, 52, has been Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts' main wingman for years, so the news of him being named the head of NBCU wasn't much of a surprise. Burke, who is Comcast's chief operating officer, started devoting more time to the proposed $13.75 billion deal to buy NBCU in January after former Charter CEO Neil Smit came over to Comcast as president of its cable operations. With Smit onboard, Burke was free to spend more time working on the NBCU purchase.

Going forward, Burke will be in charge of reviving a fourth-place network, as well as numerous assets that need to be integrated with Comcast.

"Steve Burke is an experienced, talented and visionary leader with over 25 years in the media and entertainment industry," Roberts said. "Steve is one of the most-well-respected executives in the industry, and I am confident that he will lead NBCU forward to a new era of growth."

Burke started working at Comcast in 1998 as president of Comcast Cable. During Burke's tenure, Comcast bought and integrated assets from AT&T Broadband and Adelphia.

Burke was previously president of ABC Broadcasting and president and chief operating officer of Euro Disney SA.

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