Ted Harbert, chairman of NBC Broadcasting since 2011, is leaving the company.
He will not be replaced, but, effective with his departure on Oct. 14, his responsibilities will be picked up by a number of executives including sports boss Mark Lazarus, who becomes chairman, NBC Broadcasting and Sports.
In a memo to staff, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said that George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy of NBC Entertainment will assume responsibility for NBC's first-run syndication business and that Jeff Bader will be responsible for the broadcast research group, headed by research president Alan Wurtzel.
Burke also said that Kevin MacLellan will become chairman, global distribution and international, adding oversight of domestic television and new media distribution. MacLellan is now responsible for television sales on a global basis, Burke said.
Maggie McLean Suniewick was named president of NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, a new role in which she will be dedicated to building new digital businesses.
Burke and Harbert worked together at Comcast before the cable giant bought NBC and Burke put him in charge of the broadcast networks. He ran Comcast's cable networks including E! before the merger.
Speaking of Harbert, Burke said: "Ted has had a great 40-year career in television and has played a significant role at Comcast and NBCUniversal since he joined E! in 2004. Ted's encyclopedic knowledge of the television business, creative instincts and enthusiasm have had a positive impact on so many of us. He has been an important adviser to me and a great colleague and mentor to many of you. I know Ted's heart will always remain in the television business, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next."
In his own memo, Harbert said that his work was done at NBC and that he didn't know what he'd do next.
"When I joined NBC in February 2011 there was room for significant improvement. Five years later, thanks to the incredible work of all of our great teams, we are reporting record results," he said in his memo. " The proverbial next chapter lies ahead and I'm happy to say I have no idea what it is. I've never known the unknown and I've never taken more than two and a half weeks off since I was 16 years old...now I will."
Here is Burke's memo:
I am writing to announce some important changes to our leadership team.
Ted Harbert, Chairman of NBC Broadcasting, has decided to leave the company. The businesses Ted oversees are firing on all cylinders and he is ready to look for his next challenge outside of NBCUniversal. Ted has had a great 40-year career in television and has played a significant role at Comcast and NBCUniversal since he joined E! in 2004. Ted’s encyclopedic knowledge of the television business, creative instincts and enthusiasm have had a positive impact on so many of us. He has been an important adviser to me and a great colleague and mentor to many of you. I know Ted’s heart will always remain in the television business, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.
Mark Lazarus will expand his duties and become Chairman, NBC Broadcasting and Sports.Mark will continue to lead the NBC Sports Group while adding oversight of the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations (run by Valari Staab), NBC Affiliate Relations, (headed by Jean Dietze), NBC Affiliate Marketing (headed by Scot Chastain), NBC Network Operations (managed by Tina Silvestri) and Broadcast Standards (run by Alan Wurtzel). Mark has had a major impact on NBC Sports and NBCUniversal since joining the company in 2011. Mark and his team have a winning culture and the quality of NBC Sports’ coverage is unsurpassed, from the Olympics and Sunday Night Football to the Premier League, Golf, NHL and NASCAR. Mark’s energy, intelligence and character will be great assets to NBC Broadcasting, as they have been at NBC Sports.
George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy of NBC Entertainment will assume responsibility for NBC’s first-run syndication business (led by Valerie Schaer and Ed Swindler). Jeff Bader will be responsible for the Broadcast Research group (run by Alan Wurtzel). These are the perfect homes for these areas and George, Paul and Jeff are the ideal people to run them.
Kevin MacLellan will become Chairman, Global Distribution and International, adding oversight of Domestic Television and New Media Distribution (led by Frances Manfredi) to his current role leading our international businesses. Kevin will now be responsible for television sales on a global basis, reflecting how the marketplace has evolved. Kevin and his team have done a great job, and this expansion of his responsibilities is well-deserved. He is an excellent leader, understands the global television business and brings a strategic mindset and strong deal-making abilities to this new role.
Maggie McLean Suniewick will become President, NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises. In this newly-created role, Maggie will head a division dedicated to building new digital businesses. Maggie and her team will lead the company’s digital business strategy, forge partnerships with new media and technology companies and head our efforts to deliver premium content to emerging platforms. Since Maggie joined Comcast in 2006 she has excelled in a variety of roles with the company, on both the cable and content sides of the business, most recently running Symphony. Maggie’s creativity, drive and ability to get things done will have a great impact on NBCUniversal’s future. Ron Lamprecht, Lori Conkling and Evan Shapiro will join Maggie’s team, and we will soon appoint a successor for our Symphony efforts.
We are fortunate to have so many capable executives to take on additional responsibilities. Please join me as we wish Ted all the best and congratulate our colleagues who are taking on new roles.
Here is Harbert's memo:
Wanted you to hear this directly from me before it’s released to the press in a few minutes:
This Sunday marks the end of my 40th season in television. I think that’s plenty for now, so I’ve decided to leave NBC as of October 14th. I’m staying an extra month to ensure orderly transitions and continue the launch of our terrific new Harry Connick, Jr. syndicated show.
When I joined NBC in February 2011 there was room for significant improvement. Five years later, thanks to the incredible work of all of our great teams, we are reporting record results. Simply put, my work is here done.
The proverbial next chapter lies ahead and I’m happy to say I have no idea what it is. I’ve never known the unknown and I’ve never taken more than two and a half weeks off since I was 16 years old…now I will. Let’s hope I make it until January.
I’ve loved working at 30 Rock and with all the great people here. I’m eternally grateful to Steve Burke for the opportunity to work for the last 12 years, first at Comcast’s Entertainment networks and then here at NBC. It’s been a truly incredible adventure.
Thank you all so much.