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Wright Seen as Next NBC Chief

August 22, 1986|JAY SHARBUTT

Barring last-minute complications, General Electric on Tuesday will name Robert C. Wright, head of two of its subsidiaries, to succeed Grant Tinker as board chairman and chief executive of NBC, sources said Thursday.

GE this summer completed its $6.4-billion acquisition of RCA Inc. and of that company's subsidiary, NBC. Wright, 43, is president of GE Financial Services Inc. and a subsidiary, GE Credit Corp. Unlike Tinker, he has had little experience in broadcasting, save for 3 1/2 years as president of Cox Cable Communications in 1979-83.

Tinker, 60, who sources said probably would remain at NBC for several months to help Wright through a transition period, has said he plans to leave the company this year and return to independent TV production in Los Angeles, where he lives. Head of NBC since July, 1981, he is credited with its resurgence in prime-time ratings and in earnings. NBC last year posted a record pretax net of $333 million, compared to a low of $48.1 million in 1981.

Now on his third tour at NBC, he previously was president of MTM Enterprises for 11 years, supervising production of such hit series as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Lou Grant."

After he said he was leaving NBC, it was thought that he would be succeeded by one of three NBC Broadcast Group executive vice presidents--Raymond J. Timothy, Robert S. Walsh or Robert S. Butler. Lawrence K. Grossman, president of NBC News, was also rumored as a dark-horse candidate.

However, published reports in July said GE had decided to name Wright as Tinker's successor.

NBC and GE spokesmen declined at that time to comment on the reports. They declined again Thursday when asked about reports that Wright's appointment would be announced Tuesday.

"We're not commenting on speculative stories," GE spokesman Jack Batty said.

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