Powering up to full throttle in preparation for its merger with Universal, NBC announced Thursday that it has hired former Condoleezza Rice adviser Anna Perez — who also has strong Hollywood ties — to be the conglom’s top communications strategist.
Once she assumes her duties as NBC exec veep of communications on May 1, Perez will oversee media relations, executive communications, internal communications, corporate philanthropy and community relations.
NBC chair-CEO Bob Wright said Perez has the respect of people in government, business and the media.
The job facing Perez is likely to be complex and thorny as the NBC U marriage is blessed and the television empire picks up a movie studio and theme parks.
“With the broadening of the company, there will be a whole new set of challenges and opportunities, and I certainly like to think that I can help them with that,” Perez said in a telephone interview.
Current NBC exec veep of communications Patricia Steele will work with Perez through the transition, then depart the Peacock by summer.
Perez arrived at the White House in late summer 2001 as counselor of communications to Rice, who is national security adviser. She left in mid-December.
“I started two weeks before Sept. 11. It seems like dog years since. The first year seemed like seven,” Perez said.
It’s nothing new for media conglom to tap execs with close ties to Washington.
Perez’s career has been almost evenly split between the private and public sector. After serving as press secretary to former first lady Barbara Bush, she moved to Los Angeles, where she was Walt Disney VP of California government relations. Before that, she was head of media relations at Creative Artists Agency.
From 1998-2001, she was general manager for corporate communications at Chevron.
“It’s all been strategic communications,” Perez said.