Colleagues say exec is right for Comcast's top spot

Steve Burke has the temperament and training for the times. That’s what friends and colleagues are saying about Comcast’s longtime No. 2 exec who will take the reins of NBC Universal once the transaction with General Electric is complete.

Burke spent a dozen years as a business and operations-oriented exec at Disney and ABC before joining Comcast in 1998. That mixed background will serve him well as he takes on the formidable task of leading NBC U in the Web 2.0 world.

“He’s a phenomenal executive,” said former Disney Studios chief Rich Frank, who had a production venture with Comcast in the mid-1990s. “He’s the kind of person you can sit down and talk to. He’s tough but he’s a good listener.”

Burke was literally raised in the broadcasting biz as the son of Daniel Burke, who was the No. 2 exec at Capital Cities/ABC from the 1970s through the mid-1990s. He surprised the biz when he left a top job at ABC for Comcast. Since then, he’s been a “true partner,” in Frank’s view, to chairman Brian Roberts in building the family-controlled firm into the largest and most forward-looking cable operator in pushing digital cable, broadband services and most recently, on-demand access.

“Steve has the right temperament to run an entertainment company in today’s world, where business models change every week,” Frank said.

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