Veteran NBC Sports executive Ken Schanzer will be leaving
the division at summer's end.
Schanzer, 66, told colleagues today that he retiring after three decades with
the network, including the last 13 as president of the sports division. His
announcement comes just a week after his long-time boss Dick
Ebersol resigned his position as NBC Sports Group chairman in a salary
dispute with new boss NBCUniversal CEO as they attempted to negotiate a
At the request of the company, Schanzer, who has led the day-to-day operations
of NBC Sports since being named the division's president in June, 1998, will
stay on board until the end of summer, helping Ebersol's successor, Mark
Lazarus, navigate through this transitional period.
Previously, Schanzer had contemplated retiring in 2008 and 2010, but was swayed by Ebersol to delay his departure.
A skilled negotiator, Schanzer had played integral roles in securing NBC Sports Group's 10-year, $2 billion rights pact with the National Hockey League, making NBC and cable network Versus the national carriers of the puck sport into the next decade. Schanzer also helped reassemble the rights to thoroughbred horse racing's Triple Crown, and managed partnerships with Notre Dame, the PGA Tour and the National Football League.
Over the years, Schanzer has not involved with rights negotiations with the International Oluympic Committee and is not part of the Comcast/NBC Sports Group team that will embark to Lausanne, Switzerland for the June 6-7 bidding for the rights to the 20-14 and 2016 Games.
He had been engaged, though, in negotiation renewals for Wimbledon and the start of the process with the PGA, according to the Sports Business Daily.
"It has been the greatest privilege of my professional career to have contributed to the growth of NBC Sports and to have worked with so many prodigious people," said Schanzer in a statement. "It's comforting to know that when I leave at the end of the summer, the NBC Sports Group will be in the hands of Mark Lazarus and all the talented people here who have meant so much to me throughout my career."
"Ken, who I have known for 15 years, has been one of the most respected and influential sports-television executives of the past three decades and is a major reason that the NBC Sports Group is so well positioned for the future." noted Lazarus. "I am pleased that he will remain through the summer as I will regularly seek his counsel as I transition into my new role."
"Ken has had an impressive career here and I am incredibly appreciative of all he has done to build NBC Sports into the formidable brand that it is today," added Burke. "I wish him all the best in his retirement."