Following Jeff Zucker’s ascension to the top of NBC Universal last week, the company Thursday expanded the roles of three senior company executives.
In a move that surprised some, Zucker has put Beth Comstock over network-ad sales as she assumes the new title of president, NBC Universal Integrated Media.
"With my new responsibilities, I am making some organizational adjustments to set us up for continued momentum and growth," Zucker said in a statement. "Fortunately, we have a tremendous bench of skilled executives. I am pleased to have Beth, Jeff and Marc play even greater roles going forward. I have worked with each of them for a long time and have complete confidence in their ability to lead these new divisions. The goal is to have an organization that is simple, understandable and can move quickly in this new and complicated world."
Comstock, previously president of digital media and market development, will take on executive oversight of television ad sales, managed by President Michael Pilot, a novice to the TV industry who comes out of the GE ranks. Comstock, who rose through the PR ranks at NBC, moved to GE, then later returned to NBC to lead its digital efforts, had been considered a candidate for Zucker’s new role.
By closely aligning ad sales with marketing, research and digital media, NBCU believes that it is better positioned to meet the new multiplatform marketing needs of its clients. Continuing to report to Comstock, in addition to Pilot, who adds marketing to his responsibilities, are Deborah Fine, president, iVillage Properties; George Kliavkoff, chief digital officer; and Alan Wurtzel, research president.
Barbara Blangiardi, who takes the new title of senior VP of strategic marketing and content innovation, will now report to Pilot.
Gaspin, formerly cable entertainment, digital content and cross-network strategy entertainment president, moves into a newly created cable role that combines cable content and distribution within a single organization for the first time.Now reporting to him is Bridget Baker, president, Television Networks Distribution, who has responsibility for the distribution of all of the company's networks to cable, satellite and telco operators.
Additionally, Jean-Briac Perrette, digital distribution president, will now have a dual report, continuing to report to George Kliavkoff as well as to Gaspin. Continuing to report to Gaspin are Bonnie Hammer, president of USA Network and SCI FI Channel; Lauren Zalaznick, president of Bravo; and Dan Harrison, senior VP of Emerging Networks (Universal HD, Sleuth, Chiller, NBCU 2 GO).
Gaspin will also continue to oversee the company's entertainment programming on all of its digital outlets. Vivi Zigler, who oversees digital entertainment and new media for NBC Entertainment, will continue to report to him.
Graboff takes on three new areas of executive responsibility, with West Coast based division heads reporting into him. The list includes NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, NBC Universal Television Studio President President Angela Bromstad and John Miller, President of the NBC Agency and chief marketing officer of NBCU Television.
This aligns three significant elements of NBC—the entertainment division, the television studio and the network's promotion arm—under a single executive. As previously announced, Barry Wallach, president of Domestic TV Distribution, will continue to report to Graboff.In addition, Graboff will continue to have responsibility for the company's business-affairs unit.