When Jeff Zucker is named the new chief executive of NBC Universal today, succeeding Bob Wright, he will be completing one of the most spectacular ascents of any recent media executive: from part-time sports researcher in 1986 to corporate C.E.O two decades later.
And now for the hard part.
According to NBC executives, Hollywood producers and agents, and many of the financial analysts who follow NBC, Mr. Zucker, 41, faces many pressing issues. Foremost among them: how he will deal with the rapid technological and financial changes that are throwing many traditional media businesses into upheaval. He will also have to choose a team of executives to back his efforts as he sets a new direction for the company.
Mr. Zucker will answer questions about his supporting cast today shortly after he is formally named C.E.O., a senior NBC executive said yesterday.
Mr. Zucker is leaving the job he currently holds, president of the NBC Universal Television Group, but no one will be named to fill that job, the NBC executive said.
But Mr. Zucker is expected to elevate three other senior NBC executives, effectively dividing many of his current responsibilities among them.
Marc Graboff, who is now president of NBC Universal Television West Coast, will be given added supervisory duties over NBC’s entertainment division in California. Beth Comstock, who is president of NBC’s digital and marketing division, and Jeff Gaspin, who heads up the company’s cable operations, will also take on new responsibilities.
Another important NBC West Coast executive, Kevin Reilly, is in talks to extend his contract as president of NBC’s entertainment division.