NEW YORK NBC Universal is losing its digital czar.
In a memo circulated Monday, chief digital officer George Kliavkoff announced he is stepping down at year's end. He did not specify his next move, but the memo indicated it would have an entrepreneurial angle.
"I believe in my heart that this is the best time to start, run or invest in digital companies, and I am very excited about moving on to my next challenge," Kliavkoff said.
Kliavkoff played a key role in driving some of the dramatic changes NBCU made to orient itself as a more digital-facing business in the two-plus years he has been there, a notion NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker seconded.
"George came to NBC Universal when we were nowhere in digital," he said. "Today, our digital properties are thriving across the company and are now embedded in each of our divisions."
Kliavkoff left his mark on NBCU in many key areas, including serving as CEO of premium-video hub Hulu, NBCU is joint venture with News Corp., and helping to form the Peacock Equity Fund and several ad networks, including those revolving around health and auto categories.
Under Kliavkoff, digital content also scored some huge coups, including the summer success of NBCOlympics.com and the traffic rainfall delivered by Saturday Night Live's election-themed skits.
Before NBCU, Kliavkoff held key posts at Major League Baseball and RealNetworks.
No word yet from NBCU on a succession plan to fill the vacancy. The new executive likely would report in to Salil Mehta, president of business operations, strategy and development.
NBCU lost another senior digital-minded executive in March when president of integrated media Beth Comstock returned to parent company General Electric.