Mike Cavanagh, NBCUniversal’s New Leader, Overhauls Top Ranks

Mike Cavanagh is beginning to put his stamp on NBCUniversal.

Mr. Cavanagh, who took over the company in April, is expected to give Donna Langley, the company’s films chief, sweeping supervision over creative decisions for the company’s entertainment content, including films and TV shows for its Peacock streaming service, according to three people familiar with the matter. Mark Lazarus, the chairman of NBCUniversal television and streaming, is also being elevated, given wider purview over the business decisions for some of the company’s creative content.

The promotions, which could be announced as soon as Thursday, according to two familiar with the matter, would be the first major step taken by Mr. Cavanagh. The company’s previous chief executive, Jeff Shell, stepped down after an investigation into sexual harassment.

A spokeswoman for NBCUniversal had no immediate comment.

Mr. Cavanagh is essentially winnowing down the number of executives who report directly to him, streamlining the company’s leadership ranks. Other executives who will remain on his leadership team include Mark Woodbury, the company’s parks chief, and Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group, who will also oversee Telemundo. Mr. Cavanagh will also continue to work directly with Adam Miller, an executive vice president overseeing communications as well as human resources and corporate social responsibility; Kim Harris, the company’s general counsel; and Anand Kini, NBCUniversal’s chief financial officer.

Since taking over for Mr. Shell, Mr. Cavanagh has visited the company’s offices in Los Angeles, New York and London and gotten to know stars like Jimmy Fallon, the “Tonight Show” host. He has mostly sought to continue on with business as usual, telling people he works with that things would remain unchanged while the company absorbed Mr. Shell’s departure.

Mr. Cavanagh has had to deal with unexpected turmoil in his short time in the role, including the surprise departure of the company’s ad sales chief, Linda Yaccarino, who left NBCUniversal to become the chief executive of Twitter. Ms. Yaccarino exited just as the company was preparing its annual pitch to advertisers, known as the upfronts, which accounts for a hefty chunk of its revenue for the year.

In promoting Ms. Langley, NBCUniversal is betting on a seasoned creative executive with a string of recent box office successes. Along with Chris Meledandri, the chief executive of the animation studio Illumination, Ms. Langley sheparded hits like “Super Mario Bros.,” which grossed more than $1 billion, and “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which came out last year and generated more than $900 million worldwide.

Mr. Lazarus, who oversees NBCUniversal’s TV networks and the company’s streaming business, has been at the company for more than a decade. During his years at the company, Mr. Lazarus has been responsible for striking deals with the Olympics, the National Football League and the Premier League, and he has been a driving force in growing ”Sunday Night Football,” the company’s marquee N.F.L. program.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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