The New York Times today heralded Stephen Burke's ascension to the throne of NBC Universal in the aftermath of FCC approval of its takeover by Comcast. Burke succeeds Jeff Zucker.
On the front of its business page, the NYT told how NBC anchor Brian Williams was going to introduce the former Comcast COO to NBCU staffers via a close-circuit presentation. Each of the lucky 27,000 employees will receive a handsome coffee table book “NBCUniversal and Comcast: A Century in the Making.” Go, team!
Tim Arango and Bill Carter co-authored the piece. It’s not clear whether 52-year-old Burke talked to the Timesmen. They did report that the new CEO “declined to speak on the record for this article.” Off-the-record?
This blogger was intrigued by the decision of Arango and Carter to identify Burke as “an Irish Catholic.” This Irish Catholic is hard-pressed to see how Burke’s ethnic background and religion are relevant to the piece. As a faithful reader of the NYT since college, I don’t recall many business stories with such background information.
Also, it’s not that an Irish Catholic has never run a network before. Burke’s dad, Daniel, presided over Capital Cities Communications, which then acquired ABC Network. Disney, in turn, gobbled up ABC.
Neither Arango nor Carter returned an email sent this morning asking about their decision identify Burke as an Irish Catholic.
Good luck, Stephen. Perhaps we can share a Guinness or say a couple of prayers together during mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral this Sunday. St. Pat’s is only a stone’s throw from 30 Rock.