Lauren Zalaznick's exit from NBCUniversal was inevitable. Ever since she fell out of CEO Steve Burke's favor, she's been restless to run a business.
In fact, it was a matter of when, not if, Zalaznick would leave NBCU. She lost her preeminent position there when CEO Steve Burke's shuffled his senior management last February.
As I detailed on Postcards, Burke put Bonnie Hammer, No. 33 on Fortune's MPW list, in charge of all of the cable entertainment channels in parent Comcast's (CMCSA) media empire. As Hammer advanced, Zalaznick, 50, ceded control of two major networks, Oxygen and Bravo. That stung particularly because Zalaznick built Bravo from a tiny niche cable channel into a major, high-margin network for affluent audiences.
Since the February shuffle, Zalaznick has been EVP in charge of digital strategy across NBCU--a challenging task for anyone, but particularly an anti-establishment exec who started as an independent filmmaker, says her motto is "Create, Innovate, Have Fun, Win," and proudly resists a C-suite persona. With an office—colorful and quirky, like she is—a few steps away from Burke's on the 51st floor of NBCU's Rock Center headquarters, Zalaznick has been noticeably uncomfortable there and restless to get back to running something.
Zalaznick, whom I recently interviewed at Fortune Brainstorm Tech about TV's future, has been advising a couple of tech companies and investing in startups that combine content and technology. Don't be surprised if she moves on to a job running one of them. Meanwhile, her exit from NBCU means expanded power for 39-year-old Cesar Conde, the president of Spanish-language Univision Networks who earlier this month joined NBCU as EVP in charge of global business development.
Here is Burke's email to NBCU's staff explaining the changes:
I am writing to let you know that Lauren Zalaznick will be leaving NBCUniversal after 12 successful years working in a variety of leadership roles here.
Those of you who know Lauren well know she is one of those rare executives that combine great creative instincts with a true business orientation. Her contributions to our company have been significant and far-reaching, from cable entertainment to Spanish-language broadcast, from digital initiatives to new marketing campaigns. Lauren also has been an important champion for many of our company-wide initiatives.
Moving forward, most of Lauren's current group including Lori Conkling, Tony Cardinale, Nick Lehman and Lenore Moritz will report to Cesar Conde. Russell Hampton (Consumer Products) and Paul Yanover (Fandango) will report to Jeff Shell. John Shea and the Integrated Media group will report solely to Linda Yaccarino.
Lauren will remain at the company to transition her current portfolio, and then consult with NBCUniversal on digital media content and technology marketplace trends.
I want to thank Lauren for her years of service. Her drive to innovate, her energy and her intelligence have made our company a better place. She has been an important member of our team and we wish her well in the future.
At Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Aspen this week, the most enlightening part of my interview with CBS (CBS) Interactive president Jim Lanzone and NBCU EVP Lauren Zalaznick came when they riffed on the companies that are upsetting their old TV worlds.
On Netflix (NFLX): "The future is very bright," said Lanzone. Zalaznick announced "a personal plea to Reed Hastings to keep the long tail alive."
On Amazon (AMZN): "Jealous of Prime," Lanzone MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 26, 2013 9:09 AM ET
FORTUNE -- The Fortune Most Powerful Women list includes, among its 50 execs, three stars at NBC Universal. The most powerful of the trio has just gained more ground.
NBCU's announcement yesterday that Bonnie Hammer, No. 33 on Fortune's power list, is now in charge of all of the company's cable entertainment channels is not such a great surprise. Hammer reprogrammed and built USA Network and Syfy into two of the MOREPatricia Sellers - Feb 5, 2013 12:40 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
If you're a TV fan or any sort of media maven, check out this story about NBC Universal's (GE) study of viewer emotions toward the most-watched shows of the past 50 years.
NBCU surveyed some 3,500 heavy TV watchers and asked what emotions they felt viewing each program. Lauren Zalaznick, President of NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, presented the findings, with cool moving graphics, at the TEDWomen MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 22, 2010 2:40 PM ET
With Comcast (CMCSA) finalizing its deal to buy 51% of NBC Universal from General Electric (GE), skeptics are asking: Why would Comcast CEO Brian Roberts put his faith in Jeff Zucker, the NBCU chief who has dragged the NBC broadcast network from first to fourth place?
Because Jeff Zucker is one of the most determined, driven, ambitious, ingenious, competitive, compelling, resilient people you will ever meet.
Read "Life imitates TV," a Fortune MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 3, 2009 1:15 PM ET
Seventy of New York's top women in media joined 160 aspiring young women for a "Mentors Walk" in Central Park this morning. It was drizzly and great. NBC Universal (GE) and Step Up Women's Network, a non-profit group all about advancing women and girls, hosted. The Mentor Walk's creator, former Oxygen Media CEO Gerry Laybourne, was there along with J. Crew (JCG) President Tracy Gardner, Bank of America (BAC) Merrill MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 11, 2009 3:15 PM ET
|Boost for trade as global deal struck|
|Someone bought a $100,000 Tesla with Bitcoins|
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Five key numbers behind the jobs recovery|
|Economy is improving but why doesn't it feel that way?|