Peter Lauria in the New York Post today writes that ”half a dozen” sources tell him that NBC Universal’s Beth Comstock may be headed back into the GE fold. Paidcontent’s Rafat Ali mentions, ”We heard this rumor two days ago as well, but don’t yet have any confirmation on it.” GE spokesman Gary Sheffer, for his part, denies those rumors to Business Week’s Diane Brady, saying there is no truth to any of it.
Who is right? In the grand scheme of things this isn’t a particularly big deal, as the shuffling of executives to new divisions with which they have little or no experience — Comstock was previously Chief Marketing Officer — is a longstanding aspect of GE’s corporate culture.
Still, there is the perception thing. If Comstock does ultimately go back under the GE umbrella, she carries with her the lackluster legacy of iVillage, which happened on her watch. In Comstock’s defense, her recent role in staring down Apple may turn out to be a triumph for NBC Universal Digital Media. But it is still too early to tell.
The rumor of Comstock returning to GE curiously coincides with the Oxygen talks. In August The Hollywood Reporter noted that Oxygen television was shopping itself to NBC. Oxygen, as the article noted, would have a natural fit with iVillage, which when it launched in 2000 was to be a multiplatform convergence of television and the web geared towards young women.