Michael Cavanagh Set To Run NBCUniversal for the Long Term

Mike Cavanagh Comcast
Mike Cavanagh (Image credit: Comcast)

Comcast president Michael Cavanagh, who was named to run NBCUniversal after NBCU CEO Jeff Shell was ousted because of an inappropriate relationship with another NBCU employee, said he expects to run the company’s media and experiences business for the foreseeable future.

While holding both jobs is demanding, “me stepping in to oversee NBC is quite sustainable,” Cavanagh said during Comcast’s first-quarter earnings call Thursday.

“As president [of Comcast], I was already overseeing all of this and close to the people that run the NBC businesses and the cable business and the corporate area,” he said. 

Cavanagh said he expects to be holding down both jobs for a long time. “While I'll have to work a little harder and frankly, I'm energized to do so because I look forward actually to spending time getting closer to the NBCU businesses and spending more time deeper in them and with the leaders there.”

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Cavanagh noted that most of the people running NBCU businesses are veterans with more than 10 years in their jobs. 

“We've got high-quality operators and leaders in all of the seats around the company, in Philadelphia, L.A., New York, Orlando and so forth,” he said.

Cavanagh said there was no timetable for him to bring in someone to run NBCU and no pressure on him aside from making sure the businesses continue to hum. “That’s what they’re doing right now, and that’s what I see continuing,” he said.

“I'm going to be here for a long time,“ he said. “I actually think that's good for me and good for the company over the long term. Maybe someday we’ll think there's a better way to approach it, but I'll never be moving far away from these businesses no matter what. And I'm going to own the outcome any way that turns out.”

On the call, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts acknowledged the Shell situation, calling the removal of the Comcast veteran “a tough moment” for the company.

“We are so fortunate to have a fabulous and tenured leadership team at NBCUniversal,“ Roberts said. “Go down the list, you'll see many of them have been leading their divisions within the company for at least 10 years and are truly the best in the business.

“We're also lucky to have Mike Cavanagh step in at the helm at NBCUniversal while also remaining president,” he said. “Mike is a fantastic executive and operator many of you know well. He'll work closely with each of the management teams and NBCUniversal to continue our excellent momentum.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.