Don Browne is the latest veteran NBC Universal executive to take his leave since the Comcast takeover. NBCUniversal announced his retirement today after 30 years with the company, effective June 3. Following an extensive career with NBC News in New York and Miami, Browne has served since 2005 as president of Spanish-language Telemundo Communications Group after arriving at Telemundo as CEO eight years ago. Under the new post-merger organizational structure of NBCU, Telemundo was put under the purview of Lauren Zalaznick, with Browne reporting to her. Browne joins other prominent executives from the NBCUniversal side of the new company to depart since the merger, including chief diversity officer Paula Madison (who announced her retirement yesterday), Angela Bromstad, John Eck, Peter Smith and Roma Khanna.
Another long-time NBC executive is leaving the company following the merger with Comcast. Paula Madison, NBCUniversal’s EVP diversity, said today that she will retire from the company May 20, after the first Joint Diversity Advisory Council in Philadelphia with Comcast and NBCU, to work for her family’s investment business. Madison joined NBCU in 1989 as assistant news director at WNBC-TV. She served as president and general manager of KNBC-TV before becoming NBC’s first chief diversity officer in 2007. Madison is the third top NBC executive listed in Steve Burke’s November memo outlining the post-merger organizational structure to exit, following Angela Bromstad and John Eck. On the international TV side, high-profile departures include Peter Smith and Roma Khanna.
Comcast Internal Memo From NBC Universal Boss Steve Burke Reveals Organizational Structure Under New Owners
NBC Universal boss Steve Burke today made the new organizational structure official for NBC broadcasting, NBC Entertainment, NBCU cable, and Universal Studios and Universal Pictures:
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.
8TH UPDATE: Comcast is clearing the way for its pending announcement of the new NBC Universal top executive structure. Jeff Gaspin, who had felt more and more as the odd man out in Comcast’s plans for the post-merger NBCU, just sent out a note to NBC Universal employees announcing that he will depart the company following its merger with Comcast after he and new NBCU CEO Steve Burke “could not agree on an appropriate role” for him in the new company. Gaspin had 4 years left on his contract, which was breached by the merger and Burke replacing Jeff Zucker. Gaspin was furious when a report last week claimed he was gone because it wasn’t true: in fact the two men hadn’t made that decision yet even though everyone guessed that’d be the ultimate conclusion because it’s known that Burke wants to decrease the media company’s layers of management. Gaspin has spent a combined 19 years at NBCU, most recently as chairman of NBC Universal TV Entertainment. “I want to thank Jeff for his many significant contributions to NBCU and for his professionalism throughout the integration process,” Burke said in a statement. After sending the memo, Gaspin gathered his senior executive team for an emotional meeting.
EXCLUSIVE… 6TH & 7TH UPDATE: Jeff Gaspin is flying on an NBC Universal corporate jet from NYC back to LA right now and is telling fellow passengers that a report he is leaving the company is “not accurate”. As we’ve been saying all along, there are a lot of moving parts to this NBCU organizational restructure, and a lot hasn’t been pinned down yet. Gaspin, who is NBCU Television Group President/COO, falls into that category. We’ve learned that he hasn’t had a “definitive conversation” with Comcast about his future yet. And the fact is that, as of today, his future has not been decided. “It may turn out to be true that he leaves. And he’s preparing for it. But it’s not true right now,” an insider just told us.
EXCLUSIVE… 5TH UPDATE: We’ve confirmed that onetime CBS bigwig and now consultant Nancy Tellem has indeed been in formal talks with Comcast brass about taking a top job at NBC alongside Robert Greenblatt. The idea was that he would be in charge of creative, and she would fill a parallel NYC-based network president-type job. Both would report to new NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke. As we reported Comcast hopes to announce the new NBC Universal organizational structure — one which now may or may not include Jeff Gaspin who got on a plane Monday for NYC Monday to meet with Comcast brass. About Tellem, “Comcast is talking to her. Nothing has been decided yet though because there are still ongoing issues. But people are trying to work through those issues,” one insider told us. ”She wants to do it. She just has to make sure the job is right.” Tellem was among half a dozen top-level broadcast executives (including Fox Network Group Chairman/CEO Tony Vinciquerra) approached by Burke some months ago after the Comcast/NBC deal was announced. Tellem was most recently boss of the bulk of CBS Inc’s entertainment operations until she stepped down in December 2009 to become Senior Advisor To The CEO.