NBCU Execs Donna Langley, Mark Lazarus Promoted in Restructuring; Susan Rovner Exits

The shake-up marks the first major move from Comcast president Mike Cavanagh, who assumed ousted CEO Jeff Shell’s duties in April

Universal's Donna Langley at CinemaCon
Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Film Entertainment Group, speaks onstage during a presentation at the 2023 CinemaCon event. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CinemaCon)

Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley has been promoted to chairman and chief content officer of the new NBCUniversal Studio Group, where she will oversee content strategy across all of the company’s film and TV studios, TheWrap has confirmed.

“Donna has been shaping the cultural conversation and creating the framework for what a modern-day studio can accomplish through bold content, impactful marketing and business model innovation,” Comcast president Mike Cavanagh said in a memo to employees. “She will leverage her longstanding relationships with the creative community and ability to partner with the most prolific storytellers in our business to unlock a seamless cross-portfolio creative strategy including programming, distribution and marketing across Film, Television and Streaming.”

Additionally, Mark Lazarus has been promoted to NBCUniversal Media Group chairman. Lazarus will continue to run the company’s TV networks, direct to consumer business including Peacock, as well as the NBC Sports Group and NBC affiliate stations. In addition, he will oversee advertising sales, which will continue to report to interim chairman of global advertising and partnerships Mark Marshall, and content distribution, which will continue to report to the division’s chairman Matt Bond.

“Together, these businesses comprised more than $20 billion in revenue last year,” Cavanagh added. “Mark’s decades of experience running television, sports and advertising sales — both within NBCUniversal and earlier in his career — will be critical to the long-term growth of NBCUniversal’s media business.”

As part of the restructuring, Susan Rovner, who had overseen entertainment content for the TV and streaming division, is exiting the company.

“Susan has agreed to remain with us for a bit to help ensure a smooth transition for her team and our creative partners,” Cavanagh said. “During her time here, Susan and her team have played an integral role in developing and greenlighting hit programming across NBCU’s entertainment portfolio, including brand-defining series for Peacock as well as breakout hits for NBC and the continued success of our Bravo franchises, almost all of which have seen year-over-year growth under her leadership. We appreciate all of Susan’s valuable contributions and thank her for all she’s done during her time at NBCU.” 

Additionally, Frances Berwick is being elevated to NBCUniversal Entertainment chairman, a new role that will report to Langley and Lazarus, and NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde is expanding his oversight to include NBCUniversal Local and NBCU Telemundo Enterprises Group. Pearlena Igbokwe will continue to lead the company’s four TV studios under the Universal Studio Group umbrella and Mark Woodbury will remain as Universal Destinations & Experiences chairman and CEO.

The executive-shakeup marks the first major move since Cavanagh assumed the duties of former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, who was ousted from the company in April.

Cavanagh noted in the memo that he would continue to lead NBCU and that a new CEO would not be named. Instead, he will hand over responsibility to Langley, Lazarus, Conde and Woodbury, as well as NBCU’s general counsel Kimberley Harris; chief financial officer Anand Kini; executive vice president Adam Miller, who oversees communications, human resources, operations and technology; and chief diversity officer Craig Robinson.

“This new structure will facilitate a streamlined decision-making process and foster even more collaboration across our company,” he said. “I’m very excited to work with this team to build on our great momentum and drive NBCU forward. Thank you to all for your efforts and hard work.”