Jeff Zucker to Leave NBC

(Zucker article updated with his career and information from his email to NBCU employees.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Jeff Zucker is leaving NBC.

Zucker will step down from his position as the president and CEO of NBC Universal after Comcast ( CMCSA) completes its takeover of NBC.

Zucker has been the CEO since February 2007 and has spent his entire career at NBC Universal.
Jeff Zucker
Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal

In 1986 he started out at NBC's Olympic unit, then moved his way to a field producer position on Today. In 1992, Zucker became the youngest executive producer in the history of Today at age 26.

Zucker remained at Today through 2000, leading the show to be the most-watched morning news show across the nation as well as the most profitable program at that time.

In 2001 Zucker took his powers to the entertainment segment of NBC where he put his mark on several hit shows including Fear Factor, Friends and Scrubs. He is also attributed for signing Donald Trump for the reality show The Apprentice. Zucker was soon promoted to president of the company's entertainment's news and cable group.

From May 2004 until January 2007 Zucker served as president of the NBC Universal television group.

"Jeff has been a tough-minded, inclusive and innovative leader of NBC Universal," General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement on his leaving the company. "He has always stepped up when the company needed him. He never blinked when it came to tough decisions."

In Decemeber 2009, General Electric ( GE) announced a joint venture agreement with Comcast. Through the deal Comcast would own 51% of NBCU and 49% would be owned by GE, but managed by Comcast.

"It has not been an easy or simple decision," Zucker said in an email 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."

Rumors had been swirling that Comcast was planning to get rid of Zucker after the deal was complete. In June, Comcast and GE offered Zucker a three year contract that would keep him as a CEO of the new venture. Many speculated that the contract was merely a gimmick, and that Comcast COO Steve Burke intended to stay in control.

"In the last nine months it became increasingly clear that they did want to put their own team in place -- and I didn't want to end up being a guest in my own house," Zucker said in an interview with The New York Times.

Soon after, the New York Post reported that Zucker had finalized terms of an exit package somewhere between $30 million and $40 million.

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

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2010 at which time the 45-year-old CEO will step down from his position.

Now that Zucker has announced his departure, we'd like to know what you think. Will NBC be better off without Zucker at the helm?

Will NBC be better off without Jeff Zucker running the show?

Yes
No

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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