Comcast’s David Cohen, Diversity Exec And Adviser To Brian Roberts, Stepping Down

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David Cohen, a key adviser to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and a notable fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, has announced his plan to step down from his operational role at the company.

He will end his operational responsibilities as of January 1, 2020, transitioning from Senior EVP to Senior Counselor to Roberts starting December 31, 2020.

In recent years, Cohen has led Comcast’s diversity efforts and also guided its lobbying troops in Washington. He also has been involved in Byron Allen’s discrimination lawsuit against Comcast, which is now before the Supreme Court. (Allen issued a not-terribly-cordial statement about Cohen’s exit, urging Roberts and the company to alter their stance now that Cohen is “out of the way.”)

Cohen’s purview is broad, spanning corporate functions such as communications, public policy, regulatory and government affairs, lobbying, real estate, security. In a memo to employees announcing the move, Roberts announced the new division of responsibilities across various areas of the company. (Read the memo below.) Karen Buchholz will become Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast, reporting to Roberts in this capacity. Buchholz and Craig Robinson, the Chief Diversity Officer for NBCUniversal, will
become co-chairs of the Comcast NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Advisory Council.

Comcast has employed more lobbyists in Washington that virtually any other company in America. Those forces were put to the test in 2014 when the company made an unsuccessful bid to acquire Time Warner Cable, a proposed merger that was abandoned when regulators raised monopoly concerns. Time Warner Cable wound up being acquired by Charter Communications, which vaulted to the No. 2 position among cable operators behind Comcast.

Beyond any individual deal, Cohen has been regularly involved at a high level in major industry conversations around net neutrality, broadcast spectrum and other aspects of the media landscape.

In a statement, Roberts said it is “impossible to overstate David’s value to Comcast NBCUniversal,” adding that his “passion for diversity and inclusion has helped transform our company and our industry.”

Cohen joined Comcast in 2002 after a stint as partner and chairman at the Ballard Spahr law firm. He has also been chief of staff to former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell. In political circles, Cohen has been a prominent Biden supporter, throwing the first major fundraiser for the vice president as soon as he announced his 2020 candidacy.

Cohen issued a statement indicating the time had come for a change. (He will turn 65 next year.) “It has been extraordinary to work with Brian and our senior leadership team for the past 18 years to help grow Comcast into one of the largest media and technology companies in the world,” he said. “After a great deal of discussion with Brian and after much thought, I’ve decided to transition my operational roles and make way for the many talented executives who I have had the privilege of working with at Comcast and provide the opportunity to lead and grow their careers.”

Here is the memo from Roberts to employees:

After almost 20 years as a senior executive of Comcast, David Cohen will be stepping away from
his many operational roles, effective January 1, 2020. Fortunately, for all of us, David is not
leaving the company – he will continue to serve as a senior counselor and advisor to me and
the other senior executives. This succession process is something that David and I have been
discussing for more than a year and is designed to set the company up for the next generation of
leadership.

As we all know, David oversees a vast array of corporate functional areas so there will be quite
a bit of change. At the highest level, David’s day-to-day operating responsibilities will shift to
a variety of executives, including Mike Cavanagh, Tom Reid, and Adam Miller. Through 2020,
David will remain Senior Executive Vice President, focused on facilitating an efficient and smooth
transition. After 2020, David will become Senior Advisor to the CEO, continuing to provide advice
and support to me and the other senior executives in the company.

Going forward, Comcast Corporate will be structured as follows:

• Government and Regulatory Affairs and Political Affairs will report to Tom Reid, who
reports to me.
• International Government and Regulatory Affairs will continue to be overseen by Kim
Harris, who reports to me in this area.
• Finance and Legal will continue to report to Mike Cavanagh and Tom Reid, respectively.
• Corporate Communications, led by D’Arcy Rudnay, will continue to report to me.
• Diversity & Inclusion under Juan Otero’s leadership will continue to report to Karen
Buchholz. Karen will become Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation reporting to me
in this capacity. Karen and Craig Robinson, the Chief Diversity Officer for NBCUniversal, will
become co-chairs of the Comcast NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Advisory Council.
• Community Impact/Corporate Social Responsibility at both Comcast and NBCUniversal
will report to Adam Miller, who will report to me and also maintain his current role at
NBCUniversal.
• Internet Essentials will report directly into the Connectivity and Home function in Comcast
Cable, with a dotted line reporting relationship to Adam Miller.
• Sustainability will continue to report to Karen.
• Corporate Administration, including Corporate Facilities, the Campus Experience, Campus
Events, and Security, will continue to report to Karen, who will now report to Mike Cavanagh
and also continue to report to me.
• Local Media Development will report to Karen.

It is hard for me to express how much David has meant to Comcast and to me personally. Joining
the company before the AT&T Broadband transaction closed, David literally built and oversaw
much of our corporate administrative infrastructure, including our corporate communications,
government affairs, public policy, external affairs, and community impact functions. David’s
passion for diversity and inclusion has helped transform the culture of our company as he
has pursued a vision of making Comcast NBCUniversal the leading company for diversity and
inclusion in corporate America. David has mentored and sponsored countless young people
at our company. Even before he joined Comcast, he helped facilitate the regulatory approvals
that enabled us to acquire AT&T Broadband. And he led the regulatory approval process for our
NBCUniversal transaction.

It is impossible to overstate David’s value to Comcast NBCUniversal – his judgment especially in
times of crisis – his loyalty – his representation of the company in public appearances around the
country – how passionately he has focused on the culture of our company. He is one of a handful
of senior executives who have been at my side and who have partnered with me as we have grown
Comcast into the great company it is today.

Please join me in thanking David for his leadership and his service.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/12/comcasts-david-cohen-diversity-exec-and-adviser-to-brian-roberts-stepping-down-1202801392/