Comcast's Steve Burke is the man to watch if NBC deal comes off
If Comcast Corp.'s push to acquire control of NBC Universal is successful and create a new entertainment conglomerate, Steve Burke will probably play a huge role in shaping the entity.
Currently Comcast's chief operating officer and the second-highest-ranking executive at the company, behind Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, Burke has a strong pedigree in entertainment and business. His father, Dan Burke, was the longtime No. 2 at Capital Cities/ABC, and his uncle Jim Burke was a CEO of Johnson & Johnson.
Burke, an avid runner, has been instrumental in Comcast's rise to the nation's largest cable operator. Prior to joining Comcast 10 years ago, Burke climbed the ranks of ABC and Disney. He joined Disney in 1986 after getting his MBA from Harvard Business School. He founded Disney Stores, then served as president of Euro Disney. He was president of ABC as well. When Comcast made its unsuccessful play for Disney, it was Burke who led the charge and his inside knowledge of the company that laid the groundwork for Comcast's plan.
It does not seem to be a reach to bet that if Comcast ends up with control of NBC, much if not all of it will report to Burke.
Other Comcast executives to keep an eye on include Jeff Shell, who oversees Comcast's entertainment assets, and David Cohen, whose title of executive vice president understates his role as consigliere for the cable behemoth.
Like his father, Steve Burke keeps a low profile and shuns the limelight. Even his corporate biography is just four paragraphs.-- Joe Flint
Photo: Comcast COO Steve Burke. Credit: Reuters