“Being a Gal in a Man’s World” is a lighthearted business book that Bonnie Hammer says she would like to write.
But at the moment, she’s too busy acting it out for the testosterone crowd at General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal.
Hammer runs two of the entertainment company’s most profitable businesses, the USA Network and the Sci Fi cable channels. Together they account for nearly a third of NBC Universal’s $3 billion in profit for 2005.
That makes the diminutive executive a big star in the eyes of her bosses, especially now that the company’s once-reliable cash cow, the NBC broadcast network, is hobbling and Universal Pictures’ big summer gun, “Miami Vice,” is misfiring at the box office.
“Bonnie is playing a huge role for us right now,” said Jeff Zucker, chief executive of the NBC Universal Television Group. “There is no question that Bonnie will be playing an even bigger role for us in the future.”
At GE’s leadership meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., early this year, it was Hammer who delivered the PowerPoint presentation trumpeting the highlights of the entertainment division to a sea of male faces. She focused on the USA Network, which is NBC Universal’s most lucrative asset, hauling in a profit of nearly $700 million last year.
In February, when Stacey Snider left her post as Universal Pictures chairwoman to join DreamWorks SKG, Hammer was on the short list of possible replacements even though she had no feature film experience. She didn’t get the job, but the mention of her name fueled speculation about her next assignment.