Rather than promote from within, NBC Universal today is expected to name a GE executive to replace departing sales chief Keith Turner.
Turner ankled the Peacock on Friday, two weeks after his former boss, former NBC U president and chief operating officer Randy Falco, jumped to AOL.
Turner was the third major NBC U exec to leave in recent weeks. In addition to Falco, NBC U cable, domestic TV distribution and new media president David Zaslav left the company to take the helm of Discovery Networks two weeks ago.
A memo from chairman Bob Wright said the 20-year NBC U veteran was leaving “to pursue career opportunities outside the company.”
Turner was closely tied to his former boss, and it was widely expected that if Falco left the company, Turner would follow. Turner’s departure removes a Falco loyalist from the executive suite, just as NBC U Television CEO Jeff Zucker restructures after the departure of both Falco and Zaslav.
Zucker is spearheading a company-wide reorg dubbed NBC U 2.0, which will cut 700 positions across the company in a bid to save $750 million by the end of next year.
As top sales exec at first NBC and then NBC U, Turner led the network through both its “must see” heyday, when the Peacock had the highest ad rates in the biz, and its dramatic fall from first to fourth in the ratings, which resulted in a $800 million hit to the bottom line.
Turner headed sales for both broadcast and cable for NBC, including networks like Bravo, USA and Sci Fi, as well as Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo.