Beth Comstock Returns to General Electric as CMO

Leaves NBC Universal After Three-Year Stint as Digital Media Head

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- After testing several digital initiatives at NBC Universal, Beth Comstock is heading back to General Electric Co. while the media company realigns responsibilities in the wake of her departure.
Beth Comstock
Beth Comstock

Ms. Comstock has had a long history with the network and its corporate parent. Before arriving at NBC Universal as president-digital media and market development in 2005 -- part of a realignment following Jeff Zucker being named NBC Universal's CEO -- she was GE's chief marketing officer and also head of public relations at NBC.

Alignment with other execs
Now, after taking on new responsibilities as NBC Universal's president-integrated media, she will return to GE as the conglomerate's senior VP-chief marketing officer. At NBC, Ms. Comstock had been involved in the company's decision to purchase women's-oriented website iVillage for $600 million; some have questioned whether that purchase has been a successful one. She has also been involved in the development of Hulu.com, the online-video sharing site NBC co-owns with News Corp. Hulu has generated lots of buzz as the site aims to become a portal for high-quality video selections that will lure advertisers.

NBC Universal said it would align many of Ms. Comstock's responsibilities with other executives' at the company. Salil Mehta, president-business operations, strategy and development, will assume oversight of NBC Universal's digital-media team. Mike Pilot, president-sales and marketing, will add executive responsibility for the company's research department, including planning, development and analysis of all audience, program and marketing research. Alan Wurtzel, president-research, will now report to Mr. Pilot. Jeff Gaspin, president-chief operating officer, Universal Television Group, will take on interim responsibility for iVillage and oversight of what NBC Universal called "a virtual women's network."

This network will include Bravo Media, Oxygen Media and iVillage and will be touted as a media property that can help advertisers reach women "across multiple platforms with quality programming," NBC Universal said. Deborah Fine, president of iVillage Properties, will report on an interim basis to Mr. Gaspin.

George Kliavkoff, NBC Universal's chief digital officer and the architect of many of the company's recent digital ventures, will report to Mr. Mehta.
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