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Comcast's Burke to Take Helm of NBC Universal

Network's New Boss Worked at ABC but Has New-Media History, Too

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Comcast Corp. and General Electric offered further insight into their plans for NBC Universal Sunday by revealing that Comcast Chief Operating Officer Stephen B. Burke will take the helm of the large entertainment conglomerate when Comcast's effort to acquire a majority stake in NBC Universal is finalized, a move expected to take place sometime around the end of 2010.

Comcast Chief Operating Officer Stephen B. Burke will succeed NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker.
Comcast Chief Operating Officer Stephen B. Burke will succeed NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker. Credit: Kipp Cheng
The two companies said Mr. Burke, 52, would succeed NBC Universal President-CEO Jeff Zucker, who would continue to serve in his position until the transaction closes and would also work with Mr. Burke to "ensure a smooth leadership transition." In an effort to dampen recent speculation in the press over which current NBCU executives might leave the company or take on different roles, Comcast and GE said they would make "no additional structural or personnel announcements until the deal closing process and timing is certain."

Comcast has said its main reason for taking over NBC Universal was for its portfolio of cable outlets, to which Comcast will add E!, Versus and Style, among other holdings. But Mr. Burke has already indicated he wants to see the company's NBC broadcast outlet survive as well.

Perhaps that's because he's been in the broadcast-network hot seat before. Mr. Burke once worked at Walt Disney, where he served as president of ABC.

Yet he's had his eye on other things, too. Since arriving at Comcast in1998, Mr. Burke has helped Comcast develop video-on-demand offerings and integrate the company's purchase of AT&T Broadband.

Mr. Burke serves on the board of directors for Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase.

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