By the way, the latest news I hear from Comcast insiders is that it’ll take NBC Universal’s soon-to-be-owners “minutes, not months” to ax Strangelove Zucker after regulators approve the takeover. Here’s his latest I’m-still-in-charge-even-though-I-zucked-up-NBC-late night email to staff:
From: Jeff Zucker (NBC Universal)
Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2010 10:53 AM
To: NBC Universal Employee Communications (NBC Universal)
Subject: NBCU/Comcast Transition Team Update
As you probably know, we have a Comcast-NBCU team working together on the transition process. Yesterday, we brought together about 120 people from both companies who will be working on the transition to talk about our vision for the New NBCU, our approach to the effort, and the teams’ plans.
Our vision is to create the best entertainment, sports, news and information company in the world. We are proud of the rich histories of NBC, Universal and Comcast and together we want to grow our content and create new ways for consumers to experience it anytime, anywhere. We are interested in long-term value creation and will not shy away from risks or investment to achieve it.
Our Approach to the Overall Transition
After close, NBCU will operate as a separate company that will be consolidated with Comcast, but not integrated into Comcast. We believe decentralized decision making is the best road to success. We will all be part of the same Comcast family and one of our goals is to have content and distribution work together to create new options for consumers that benefit the entire organization. We expect every part of the company to have the highest ethical standards, treat people with respect, and communicate honestly about business challenges.
Our Approach to Integrating Comcast’s Content Assets with NBCU
We plan to create one “integrated” NBCU content company post-close. The Comcast programming, sports and digital assets will be fully integrated into the new NBCU and those employees will become part of this new content company. Our approach will be objective and fact-based – we’ll gather facts and learn about each others’ organizations, focus on the right long-term solutions, determine the best structural options before tackling staffing, and then endeavor to ensure that great people have great opportunities. As the larger content organization, NBCU will tend to lead much of the work.
A Unique Opportunity to Get this Right
While we recognize that transactions create uncertainty, they also provide unique opportunities to rethink how we do business and how to win in the future. We are excited about the opportunities in front of us and we want to make sure our approach sets us up for long-term success. We want to be deliberate, thoughtful and practical in our decision-making.
Two Teams to Lead the Effort
We’ve divided the work into two. The Operations team will identify growth opportunities across both organizations, determine business priorities and focus, and ultimately recommend organizational structures. The Administrative team will plan how we put in place the right infrastructure (HR, Finance, IT, Legal, Real Estate, etc.) to support a transition of NBCU from GE to Comcast and support the integration of Comcast’s and NBCU’s content assets. Salil Mehta from NBCU, working with Joe Donnelly from Comcast, will lead the Operations team. Bob Victor from Comcast, working with John Eck from NBCU, will lead the Administration team.
Expectations around Timing
We expect the regulatory approval process will take 9 to 12 months. During this time, both companies must continue to run as independent entities. Therefore, the implementation of our plans cannot start until the transaction closes. This creates uncertainty, but it also gives us time to get our planning right. Accordingly, we do not expect to begin making significant structural and post-close staffing decisions until summer at the earliest. While as the larger organization, NBCU will be leading much of the content integration work, we will take a thoughtful and informed approach to staffing decisions. We are also committed to making the new NBCU organization the best place for great people to work in the industry.