Michael Chen Tapped to Lead NBC News Business Development, Lisa Gersh Leaving NBC

By Alex Weprin 

NBC News has named Michael Chen president of its strategic initiatives group. In his new role, Chen will be tasked with overseeing a number of business development initiatives for NBC News, including Education Nation, NBC learn and many of the company’s digital investments.

Chen comes to NBC News from NBC U parent company General Electric, where he served as president and CEO of GE Capital’s media, communications and entertainment business, and was also co-chair of the Peacock Equity Fund.

He is replacing Lisa Gersh, who had been in charge of the unit since Septeber, 2009, and is leaving the company.


More information after the jump.


New York, NY — January 4, 2011 — Michael E. Chen will be joining NBC News as President of the Strategic Initiatives Group. The announcement made today by Steve Capus, President of NBC News, is effective immediately. Chen most recently was President and CEO of GE Capital’s Media, Communications & Entertainment business, co-Chair of the Peacock Equity Fund and a Vice President and Officer of GE.

In his new position, Chen will be responsible for identifying growth opportunities and will oversee several key news division properties including Education Nation, the NBC Learn Businesses, and many of the NBC News digital investments.

“NBC News has never been stronger, and our opportunities for growth and expansion are tremendous.  Michael Chen is exactly the right person to help us with that,” said Capus.  “He is a world-class executive and the ultimate professional.  His insight and experience within the media and education fields will be a tremendous benefit to this news organization.”

While serving as President and CEO of GE Capital, Media, Communications & Entertainment, Chen oversaw GE’s debt and equity financing activities in the media, communications & entertainment sectors.  In addition, he founded the Peacock Equity Fund, a highly successful venture-stage investor in digital media companies that are strategic to NBC Universal, and he sits on NBCU’s Leadership Council.

Chen started his career in 1985 as a financial analyst for IBM.  After several different roles in finance, he joined IBM Credit Corporation in 1990.  He held management positions in sales, finance and risk management before joining GE in 1994 as Vice President of Risk Management for GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).  After spending five years in various leadership roles, he was named Senior Vice President and General Manager, North America for GECAS in 1999, where his team was responsible for providing aircraft leases and loans to the aviation industry for the US and Canada.   During the eight years in this role, he led GECAS growth in North America and helped GECAS become the leading financing company to the aviation industry.  Chen assumed his most recent position in December 2006, and was then named an Officer of GE.

Chen serves on the Advisory Board for Sodexo Corporation (Paris: SW.PA) and the Board of Directors for the Norwalk Community College Foundation.  In addition, he sits on the Advisory Council for the Johnson School at Cornell University and co-chairs the Diversity Council for Asia Society.

Chen was born in New York City.  He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester in 1983 and an MBA in finance from the Johnson School at Cornell University in 1985.