New Blood

Meet Steve Burke, NBC's New CEO

Paid the cost to be the boss. After Jeff Zucker was shown the door last Friday, Steve Burke, president of Comcast Cable since 1998, will take the reins as CEO of NBC Universal, it was announced on Sunday. Following the much-ballyhooed NBC-Comcast merger and the Leno/O'Brien late-night TV debacle, change was an inevitability, and Burke, with his penchant for "Straightforward business practices, accountability with fairness, mutual respect, and prudent risk-taking," was just the man for the job. After all, he is the son of Dan Burke, former president of ABC before it was acquired by Disney and helped transform Comcast from a cable operator with just four million subscribers in 1998 into an industry juggernaut that acquired AT&T Broadband for $52 billion in 2002. Burke helped handle the integration, and the powers that be over at NBC Universal hope he can foster a similar transition with the NBC-Comcast merger. Warren Buffett, a longtime Burke friend, certainly sings his praises: "He's got everything you want in an executive. He's high-grade. He's smart. His judgment is good." What this will mean for NBC Universal, however, remains to be seen.