Not long after hearing about the departure of NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker (see related story), Comcast and General Electric announced that Comcast COO Steve Burke will take the reins from Zucker at NBCU upon the close of Comcast’s acquisition of 51% of NBCU from GE.
Burke, 52, will continue to serve in his position until the close of the transaction and will work with Zucker to ensure a smooth leadership transition. Comcast and GE also said that there will be no additional structural or personnel announcements until the deal closing process and timing is certain.
Said Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts in a release: “Steve Burke is an experienced, talented and visionary leader with over 25 years in the media and entertainment industry. 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.”
Added GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt: “I have known Steve Burke for many years and greatly respect him. He has deep expertise in this industry and I am very confident that he will be a strong leader for NBC Universal.”
Although he’s been in cable for the past dozen years, Burke is no stranger to broadcasting. Prior to becoming President of Comcast Cable in 1998 Burke was President of ABC Broadcasting for two and a half years, his final position in a 12-year career at The Walt Disney Company. He first helped to develop and found The Disney Stores. In 1992, he moved to Euro Disney S.A., where, as President and COO, he helped to lead a comprehensive restructuring effort.
Burke has been COO of Comcast Corporation since 2004 and relinquished his role as President of Comcast Cable earlier this year to devote his full attention to the COO role at the parent company, including overseeing the pending NBCU acquisition.
An SEC filing stated that one of Burke’s duties under the new employment agreement he signed last December would be to “supervise the NBCU Joint Venture’s Chief Executive Officer.” Well, he will only need to look in the mirror to do so.