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Zucker to leave NBC Universal

By Charles Riley, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Jeff Zucker, the President and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal, said Friday that he will step down as the head of the media giant when Comcast assumes control of NBC.

Comcast agreed in December to buy NBC Universal from parent company GE for $30 billion.

"It has not been an easy or simple decision," Zucker said in an email sent to NBC Universal employees. "I have spent my entire adult life here, more than 24 years. This is the only place I have ever worked. The only professional thing I have ever known."

Zucker said the timing was right for him to leave the company, noting that his departure will likely not take place for another six months.

"Now, it is clear to me that this is the right decision for me and for the company. Comcast will be a great new steward, just as GE has been, and they deserve the chance to implement their own vision," he said.

Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming at Katz Television Group said Zucker's departure is not a shock -- and that it would have been more surprising if Zucker had remained at the network following its acquisition by Comcast.

Carroll said Zucker's legacy at NBC will be a mixed one.

"There are two sides to the coin. One side is that in his tenure there, certainly on the cable side, they have been very successful. On the broadcast, side they made bold moves, which have not always been as successful," Carroll said.

Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts wished Zucker well in a statement.

"Jeff Zucker has devoted his entire professional life to NBC, and he has led the company with integrity and purpose. The success of NBC Universal puts us in a wonderful position as we plan for our joint venture with GE. We wish Jeff well in his future endeavors," Roberts said.

Zucker is a twenty-four year company veteran, starting at NBC's Olympic unit in 1986, before making the jump to the news division. At 26, Zucker was named executive producer of Today, a signature NBC program.

He was named CEO in February 2007.

Zucker was vague about his next step, saying that NBC is all he knows.

"I don't yet know what my future will bring. I've spent the last 24 years thinking only about NBC Universal, and never contemplated anything else. I haven't even begun to think about the next chapter," he said.

Representatives from GE were not immediately available for comment. To top of page

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