Surprising few, word got out today that former NBC News Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel is leaving NBCUniversal in November. She has had more than one position at NBCU, but it’s as head of NBC’s news operations — including NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC, from 2011 until March — that she became a headline.
During her whirlwind tenure, in an effort to restore the shine to the division that NBCU chief Steve Burke called Comcast’s “crown jewel,” Fili-Krushel became known for having appointed the controversial Brit Deborah Turness to be the first female network news president in the U.S. and overseeing the unceremonious dumping via Twitter of NBC News veteran David Gregory as host of NBC’s lauded Sunday Beltway show Meet The Press. She also presided over the very public punishment of the country’s No. 1 evening news anchor Brian Williams after it became public he’d mistaken himself for a star of some news events he was covering, which, in turn, led to the naming of the first African-American solo anchor of a broadcast network evening newscast, Lester Holt.
“It was a mad five years. I just feel like I need some time,” Fili-Krushel said today – which pretty well sums it up – in an interview she gave to New York magazine by way of announcing her exit.
Burke took her out of the role in order to give a version of it to former NBC News president Andy Lack, who was returning to the company to see if he couldn’t goose ratings where Fili-Krushel had been thwarted. And, it was widely presumed at the time, Lack was being brought in to sort out the Williams mess, having mentored Williams during his previous tenure at NBC News. At the time, Burke said in the announcement, “Pat Fili-Krushel, who has been one of my most trusted advisors since she joined NBCUniversal four years ago, will move into a new corporate role on my executive team.”
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Fili-Krushel was not able to identify any role in which she was interested, post-NBC News. And, while she could have stayed at the company, she wants to next do something she wants to do, as opposed to sticking around for its own sake. She’s leaving NBCU on good terms, the source said.
Before heading news operations, Fili-Krushel was EVP of NBCUniversal, with operations and technical services, business strategy, human resources and legal all reporting to her.
Prior to NBCU, she was EVP Administration at Time Warner Inc. From July 1998 to April 2000, she was President of the ABC Television Network, after a stint as President of ABC Daytime, where she was credited with introducing viewers to The View, among other things.