Comcast Corp. and General Electric Co. announced Sunday that Comcast's No. 2 executive, Steve Burke, would become chief executive of NBC Universal when the merger of the two companies is completed.
Burke, 52, will succeed Jeff Zucker, who announced Friday that he would step down when Philadelphia-based Comcast assumes control of GM, which is expected to happen late this year or early 2011. Zucker will stay on for the next few months and work with Burke to attempt a smooth transition. The two companies are awaiting the federal government's approval of their joint venture. Comcast will control 51% of the venture; GE will retain 49%.
The appointment of Burke had been expected. He is a former Walt Disney Co. executive who joined Comcast in 1998. He comes from one of America's most prominent business families. His father, Dan Burke, was one of the two architects of the legendary Capital Cities television station group that gobbled up ABC and later sold the company to Disney.
"Steve Burke is an experienced, talented and visionary leader with over 25 years in the media and entertainment industry," his boss, Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts, said in a statement announcing Burke's new role. "Steve is one of the most well-respected executives in the industry, and I am confident that he will lead NBC U forward to a new era of growth."
GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt added: "I have known Steve Burke for many years and greatly respect him. He has deep expertise in this industry and I am very confident that he will be a strong leader for NBC Universal."