Comstock Exits NBCU Role

NEW YORK In a realignment of its executive ranks, NBC Universal said today that Beth Comstock, formerly president of integrated media, would return to the network’s parent company, GE, in the role of CMO and svp.

Salil Mehta, president of business operations, strategy and development, has been tapped to lead the network’s digital media team.

George Kliavkoff, NBCU’s chief digital officer, will report to Mehta. Kliavkoff has led many of the network’s recent digital efforts.

Also announced during the shake-up, NBCU will create a new virtual women’s network, built around Bravo Media, recently acquired Oxygen Media and iVillage, which NBC purchased for $600 million in 2006 under Comstock’s watch. Jeff Gaspin, president and COO of Universal Television Group, will be the interim head of this effort.

For Comstock, this ends a two-year stint heading NBCU’s digital portfolio, where she arrived from GE after being that company’s first CMO from 2003-05. During that time, she also was a key strategic adviser to GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Imelt.
In her new role at GE, she will report to Imelt and will be responsible for leading the company’s “growth initiatives, marketing, sales and communications” and for “directing cross-business digital efforts,” initially focusing on consumer health and environmental technology.

“Her efforts have begun to deliver real financial results and have set the stage for robust future growth,” NBCU president and CEO Jeff Zucker said, speaking of Comstock’s tenure at the network. “In her new role, all of GE’s businesses, including NBCU, will be able to reap the benefits of her expertise.”

Before becoming GE’s first CMO, Comtsock was vp, corporate communications at the company beginning in 1998. She had also been a close adviser to former NBCU chairman and CEO Bob Wright, beginning in 1996 when she was named svp, communications for NBC.