Exec helped spearhead launch of Hulu

NBC Universal chief digital officer George Kliavkoff is ankling the Peacock.

Kliavkoff told staffers on Monday that he is exercising an option in his contract that allows him to leave NBC U at the end of this year. The exec, the first in the digital job, helped spearhead the launch of Hulu, the conglom’s online video joint venture with News Corp., and served as its interim CEO before Jason Kilar took the post.

In a memo to staffers, Kliavkoff said that “much of my work here is done” and wrote about his desire to seek new challenges.

He said that his original mission upon joining the company two years ago was to accelerate the digital transition across the company. He then proceeded to outline the progress the conglom has made in the digital arena.

Besides Hulu, he singled out the company’s digital Olympics offerings and growth of various Web properties, among other accomplishments. He said that NBC U’s digital revenues should exceed $1 billion in 2009.

Most gratifying of all, the exec said, are signs that NBC Universal had developed a “digital mindset” in the past few years.

NBC U topper Jeff Zucker credited Kliavkoff for altering the company’s place in the digital world.

“George came to NBC Universal when we were nowhere in digital,” Zucker said. “We asked him to help us change the fundamental orientation of a traditional media company from an analog to a digital mindset. George did that.”

Prior to joining NBC U, Kliavkoff spent three years at Major League Baseball’s digital arm. Despite the economic downturn, he called this “the best time to start, run or invest in digital companies.”

Exec said he’ll continue on for now to help with the transition; NBC hasn’t yet named a replacement.

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