Jeff Zucker may be leaving his post as NBC Universal President and CEO once the company is acquired by Comcast, but he’s definitely not in hiding.
Zucker was a featured guest at Women@NBCU’s annual ‘Power of the Purse Breakfast’ this morning at Cipriani’s on 42nd Street in New York. Zucker hosted the keynote discussion with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
In introducing her boss, Lauren Zalaznick, president of NBCU’s Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, said Zucker was the perfect emcee because “here and in the boardroom, he’s certain to ask the tough questions and demand tough answers.”
Well, yes and no.
Zucker did quiz Pelosi on important issues including how she fared against the good ol’ boys in politics, to her fate after this year’s midterm elections. But he also lobbed a few softballs, like how important Pelosi thinks her physical appearance was to her career. In a room full of mostly women, her response got a rousing applause: “Why don’t they ever ask the men these questions?”
And when Zucker prefaced a question by pointing out that Pelosi was a full-time mother before entering politics at age 47, the Speaker, whose daughter Alexandra Pelosi was a producer at NBC News, quickly remarked that even back then she was “still older than Jeff is now.”
After the session wrapped, we planned to ask Zucker himself the “tough questions.” What’s next for him after leaving NBC? Does he think he’s been too harshly judged for the Conan/Leno debacle? And, finally, what specifically intrigues him about possibly running for political office?
Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for the answers. As soon as we approached, his publicist said he needed to leave quickly and wouldn’t be taking any questions.