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NBC Universal Reorg Gives Bond, Zalaznick New Digital Duties

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Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) has announced the new executive structure for NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), ending Hollywood’s favorite guessing game these past few months. Few surprises given the endless speculation, but there were shifts worth noting on both the content and distribution sides of the digital business.

Matt Bond, previously executive vice president of content acquisition for Comcast’s portfolio of cable channels, becomes executive vice president of content distribution at NBCU. That will put him in charge of distribution of Comcast’s now-massive portfolio of programming.

Responsibility for NBCU distribution previously rolled up under Jeff Gaspin, who also oversaw the broadcast and cable assets. With Gaspin exiting NBCU, his direct reports on the distribution side now report to Bond: Bridget Baker, who managed affiliate relations, and JB Perrette, who led digital efforts.

It was to be expected that distribution would be broken off into a separate job given Gaspin’s responsibilities were likely seen by Comcast as overly broad to begin with. Essentially, the position reverts to what it was when David Zaslav was in this role before he moved on to run Discovery Networks.

Bond is certainly cut out for his new role given he was already spearheading negotiations for Comcast’s programming; in addition, he led efforts to build up Comcast’s On Demand Online. Bond joined Comcast in 2002 after stints at Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and AT&T (NYSE: T) Broadband.

On the digital content side of the business, Lauren Zalaznick will assume oversight of Daily Candy and Fandango. They were previously overseen by Amy Banse, who AllThingsD reported is shifting from her role as president of Comcast Interactive Media to run a private-equity fund that will combine separate funds previously maintained by Comcast and NBCU. CIM will now be run by Matt Strauss.

Daily Candy and Fandango are natural additions for Zalaznick given she already had women’s web hub iVillage in her portfolio. The combined portfolio of cable networks between NBCU and Comcast have been split between her and NBCU’s Bonnie Hammer, each of whom hold onto the channels they were managing previously while picking up additional assets as well.

Ted Harbert, who previously oversaw most of Comcast’s channels, transitions to management of the broadcast network, NBC. He will be joined by former Showtime programming chief Bob Greenblatt, who will focus on the creative side of NBC while Harbert handles business affairs.


Here’s Comcast’s memo on the reorganization from COO Steve Burke, which includes a detailed breakdown of responsibilities:

For nearly a year, we have worked hard to identify people from NBC Universal, Comcast and outside the two companies to form our new leadership team when the deal closes.  Our goal has been to find people who have the skill sets we need to succeed and who reflect the values that will be the hallmark of NBC Universal, including teamwork, integrity, creativity and a commitment to treating people the right way.  ?¨?¨We have also been very focused on putting in place the best possible organizational structure.  To that end, we have created some new positions, changed the scope of others, and shifted some reporting assignments.  We think we’ve developed a structure that organizes the company in the smartest way possible.
We are beginning our leadership announcements now because with the anticipated close of the deal nearing, we want to give everyone enough time to begin to think about the specific opportunities and challenges they will face beginning the day of the close.  This is particularly true for areas that have transition work to complete before we close.  While new roles won’t be effective until the deal closes, and while there will be more announcements to come, it is important that we are prepared to hit the ground running.
To that end, I am pleased to make the following initial announcements of members of the new NBC Universal senior management team:
Bonnie Hammer will become Chairman, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios.  USA, SyFy, E! Entertainment, G4, Chiller, Sleuth, Universal HD and UCP (Universal Cable Productions) will report to Bonnie.  Neil Tiles will remain President of G4 and report to Bonnie as will a newly appointed president of E! Entertainment.

?¨Lauren Zalaznick will become Chairman, NBC Universal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media.  Bravo, Oxygen, and iVillage will continue to report to Lauren, as will the Integrated Strategic Marketing Group, which oversees initiatives including Green Is Universal, Healthy at NBC Universal and Women at NBC Universal.  Digital properties Daily Candy and Fandango, Spanish language broadcaster Telemundo, and cable networks mun2, Style, and PBS Sprout will also report to Lauren.  Telemundo will continue to be led by Don Browne (President) and Jackie Hernandez (Chief Operating Officer);  Salaam Coleman Smith will continue to lead Style; and Chuck Davis will continue to lead Fandango and Daily Candy, each reporting to Lauren.
Dave Cassaro will become President, Cable Advertising Sales, reporting to both Bonnie and Lauren.  Dave will be responsible for cable and digital sales. Steve Mandala, Peter Naylor and Mike Rodriguez will report to Dave.
Ted Harbert will join NBC Universal from Comcast as Chairman, NBC Broadcasting. Ted will be responsible for broadcast advertising sales, NBC affiliate relations, companywide research, domestic TV syndication and the NBC station group.  Alan Wurtzel, Barry Wallach, Vivi Zigler and John Wallace will report to Ted.
Marianne Gambelli will become President, NBC Network Advertising Sales. She will be responsible for network primetime, news and sports advertising sales and she will report to Ted.
Bob Greenblatt will become Chairman, NBC Entertainment, responsible for all aspects of prime time and late night programming, business affairs, West Coast research, marketing, public relations, scheduling and NBC Universal Media Studios. Most recently, Bob was President, Entertainment for Showtime Networks, Inc.  Marc Graboff and Angela Bromstad will report to Bob.
Steve Capus will continue to serve as President of NBC News/MSNBC.
Mark Hoffman will continue in his position as President of CNBC.
Dick Ebersol will become Chairman of the NBC Sports Group.  He will be responsible for NBC Sports, The Golf Channel, Versus and the Comcast Regional Sports Networks. Jon Litner (RSNs), Jamie Davis (Versus) and Earl Marshall (Golf) will report to Dick.
Ron Meyer will continue to be President and COO, Universal Studios.  Adam Fogelson will continue as Chairman, Universal Pictures and Tom Williams will be in charge of Universal Parks and Resorts.

?¨Jeff Shell will join NBC Universal from Comcast and move to London to become Chairman of NBC Universal International.  Peter Smith will report to Jeff.
Lynn Calpeter will continue to be Executive Vice President and CFO of NBC Universal.  In addition to the financial team, Ed Swindler, COO of Ad Sales, will report to Lynn and he will be heavily involved in companywide sales efforts.
Pat Fili-Krushel will join NBC Universal as Executive Vice President with a broad portfolio of functions reporting to her, including Media Works, Business Strategy, Human Resources and Legal.  Pat joins us from Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), where she served as Executive Vice President, Administration. 
Rick Cotton will continue to serve as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NBC Universal and will report to Pat and me.
Salil Mehta will continue to serve as President, Business Operations, Strategy and Development for NBC Universal and will also report to Pat.
John Eck will continue his role as President of Media Works, reporting to Pat as well.
Adam Miller will join NBC Universal as Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs. Communications will report to Adam and he will also work on special projects.  Adam joins us from the Abernathy MacGregor Group, where he was President and served as a longstanding adviser to Comcast.?¨?¨Matt Bond will join NBC Universal from Comcast as Executive Vice President, Content Distribution, responsible for domestic television content and digital distribution.  Bridget Baker and JB Perrette will report to Matt.?¨?¨Paula Madison will continue to serve as Executive Vice President, Diversity.
Page Thompson will join NBC Universal from Comcast as Executive Vice President, Strategic Integration, responsible for identifying synergy opportunities between Comcast, NBC, Universal Studios and Parks and the cable channels.
?¨Jeff Gaspin, Mike Pilot and Allison Gollust will be leaving NBC Universal at the close of the transaction. These transitions are often difficult and at times people who have made great contributions end up leaving.  I want to thank them for their hard work and professionalism throughout the transition planning process.
The team described above will not begin to operate the company until after the transaction closes, which will occur following regulatory approval.  Between now and then, each business will continue to be managed by its respective leadership team, and NBC Universal will continue to be led by Jeff Zucker, whose talent, hard work and commitment have been instrumental in building NBC Universal into the company it is today.    
I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at NBC Universal and the Comcast Programming Group for your continued patience, hard work and focus.  While this announcement provides some clarity to some roles and responsibilities, it is only the first in what will be a series of milestones as we move into 2011.
I hope you are as excited as I am by the prospect of what we can accomplish together in the future.