Bob Okun, who's headed up NBC Universal's government relations team for the past 16 years, is leaving his job. He won't be leaving town, though. Like many others who've haunted the halls of Congress, he's forming his own lobbist firm, which he's dubbed The "O" Team. It will open its doors July 1, with Comcast and NBCU as its first clients.
Okun's departure comes just three months after Comcast closed on its deal to control NBC Universal. Like any big merger, Comcast/NBCU has already had its share of rearranging of executive deck chairs, and the company's Washington, D.C., group is no exception. Last month, Comcast announced that Kyle McSlarrow, the former head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, had jumped to Comcast/NBCU to fill a new position as president of its Washington operations.
Insiders insist that McSlarrow's new position had nothing to do with Okun's move, but the timing was ripe for Okun, who has held a number of positions inside the Beltway, to head out on his own.
Okun began his career on Capitol Hill in 1981, working as a staff director for various House Republican leaders. In 1991, he worked for Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander, then returned to Capitol Hill in 1993.
Comcast/NBCU has begun a search for a new head of its Washington, D.C., office. Whoever fills the position will report to McSlarrow.