New NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell is already shaking up the company.
In a major reorganization announced today, Shell is putting Mark Lazarus in charge of all entertainment TV at the company—including broadcast, cable, sports and new streaming service Peacock—while Cesar Conde will now head up all news properties.
As part of the changes, embattled NBC News Group president Andy Lack will be exiting the company later this month.
Lazarus’ new title is chairman, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. In January 2019, he had been promoted to chairman, NBCUniversal Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News and now adds Peacock to his purview. He has headed up NBC Sports Group since 2011 and the company’s Owned Television Stations and NBC Affiliate Relations since 2016.
“This is the right structure to lead NBCUniversal into the future during this transformational time in the industry,” said Shell in a statement. “Mark has a proven track record across every aspect of our television business from sports to local stations to entertainment. He is the ideal leader to oversee our television and streaming portfolio in this newly formed division, which allows us to have a more unified approach to our content strategy.”
Reporting to Lazarus in the new structure are NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy, Peacock chairman Matt Strauss, NBC Sports Group president Peter Bevacqua, Lifestyle Networks president Frances Berwick, Entertainment Networks president Chris McCumber, International Networks president Ken Bettsteller, Affiliate Relations president Philip Martzolf and NBCU Owned Television Stations president Valari Staab.
Meanwhile, Conde will have oversight of all the company’s news divisions—NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC—in the new role of chairman, NBCUniversal News Group.
“Cesar is a well-respected, strategic leader who has succeeded in multiple roles at NBCUniversal since joining the company in 2013,” said Shell. “Most recently, Cesar has overseen unprecedented growth at Telemundo, which under his leadership has become the number one Spanish-language network, and through its news division has played a critical role in the expansion of news operations, breaking news coverage and trailblazing political reporting. Cesar’s valuable and relevant experience leading broadcast networks and news divisions, combined with his high degree of integrity and proven management skills, make him the right person to lead our news group into the future.”
With Lack’s exit, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, MSNBC president Phil Griffin and CNBC chairman Mark Hoffman will all report to Conde. Lack had not overseen CNBC in the previous organizational structure.
Conde had previously been chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. NBCU said a new Telemundo Enterprises leader will named later, replacing Conde, and the Telemundo leadership team will report to Lazarus until that person is found.
Lack leaves NBC News after weathering several major controversies in recent years, which led to frequent speculation about his future at the company. Those include the workplace culture that led to the November 2017 firing of Today anchor Matt Lauer for what Lack called “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” as well how NBC News handled Ronan Farrow’s investigation of Harvey Weinstein for the company, which ultimately led the reporter to take that story to the New Yorker, where he eventually won a Pulitzer Prize for it.
He was also criticized for the Megyn Kelly debacle, giving her a three-year, $69 million megadeal to come to NBC News, only to part ways with her halfway through the deal.
This is Shell’s first big move since taking over as NBCUniversal CEO in January, succeeding Steve Burke, who transitioned to chairman and will leave the company in August.