McSlarrow: Comcast’s Newest Spokesman

Washington — National Cable & Telecommunications
Association president Kyle
McSlarrow won’t have to travel far in his
search for the next mountain to climb. In
fact, it is in his own backyard.

McSlarrow will go from representing the nation’s
largest cable operator as an association
chief to representing it as president, Comcast/
NBC Universal, Washington.

In addition to his policy role, Comcast said
last week that McSlarrow will assume some important
operational responsibilities.

On the operations side, Comcast said,
McSlarrow would lead the company’s
customer-care operations and product development
in Washington and nationally, and
help strategize on extending the MSO’s business
services into the government arena.

McSlarrow, who is turning 50, had said he
was looking to get into either the operations or
programming sides of the business, after more
than five years at the NCTA, as he looked toward
the next phase of his career.

McSlarrow will leave the NCTA at the end
of the month and join Comcast in April. During
the transition, NCTA board chairman
Patrick Esser, the Cox Communications CEO,
said McSlarrow’s second in command, executive
vice president James Assey, will be
managing the association.

Esser also said the search continues for McSlarrow’s replacement. According to multiple
Washington sources, that replacement could
well be former FCC chairman Michael Powell.


Powell is currently chairman of the MKPowell
Group and a senior adviser to Providence Equity
Partners. One source called Powell’s succession
of McSlarrow “likely,” while another said talks
could be down to deal points.

The NCTA would not comment on the
search, and Powell had not returned a request
for comment at press time.

Wearing his other hat, McSlarrow will head
up Washington’s public-policy office. In both
roles he will be reporting to Comcast executive
vice president David Cohen.

McSlarrow has been one of the highest-paid
trade association heads, at more than $2 million
a year, so Comcast’s offer must have been
a good one. One industry lawyer pointed out
that stock options with a company like Comcast
could be a big draw.

McSlarrow declined to comment.

Comcast teed up the McSlarrow move with
promotions for both its congressional and FCC
lobbyists in the D.C. office. Kathy Zachem last
week was named senior vice president, regulatory
and state affairs, and Melissa Maxfield
was named senior vice president, congressional
and federal government affairs. Both
were key players in Comcast’s successful effort
to win FCC and Justice Department approval
of its joint venture to control NBCU.

Zachem and Maxfield will now report to
McSlarrow, who will oversee a staff of about
40, including the merged NBC Universal policy

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.