In another executive fallout from the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, Peter Smith, the popular president of NBCU International, is leaving the company at the end of this month. I’m told that Smith felt edged out by former Comcast Programming Group President Jeff Shell who’s been brought in from the U.S. to oversee international TV production division of NBC Universal as chairman of NBCU International. “He could have taken a lesser job but it’s a bit of a shame,” says a friend. “This kind of thing always goes on whenever you have new management.” Smith, whose resume also includes a stint at PolyGram, tells me he hasn’t decided what to do next. At NBCU International, Smith was behind the company’s acquisition of Carnival Film & Television in 2008, which brought to the fold the ITV/PBS hit Downton Abbey. As part of the post-merger top management restructuring, Steve Burke, chairman of the combined NBCUniversal, announced in November that Smith would be reporting to Shell.
NBCU International has been expanding recently as Smith had said he wanted to achieve $5 billion a year in non-U.S. revenues. Last month NBCU International signed a TV first-look deal with Sam Worthington’s Los Angeles-based Full Clip Prods. It acquired U.K. independent production company Monkey Kingdom in November following the launch of WTTV, NBCU’s joint venture with Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (Love Bites).
Other notable executive departures after the Comcast-NBCU merger was completed last month include NBC’s president of primetime entertainment Angela Bromstad and head of scheduling Mitch Metcalf.