Longtime Comcast executive David Cohen is stepping down from his operational role overseeing public policy, government relations, diversity and other key corporate functions for the media giant.
Comcast said Thursday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Cohen, senior executive VP and chief diversity officer, will step down from his operational responsibilities as of Jan. 1, and transition to serving as senior counselor to Comcast chairman-CEO Brian Roberts as of Dec. 31, 2020.
Comcast said the plan is for Cohen to gradually transition his responsibilities to other senior managers in the company during the next year. As of 2021 he will segue to an advisory role for Roberts.
Cohen has been with Comcast since 2002. He’s been the face of the company in Washington, D.C. as it has waged a range of regulatory battles, from net neutrality to lobbying for Comcast’s M&A priorities over the years. He has also become a trusted advisor to Roberts.
In a statement, Cohen said his executive transition plan has been in the works for some time.
“It has been extraordinary to work with Brian and our senior leadership team for the past 18 years to help grow Comcast into one of the largest media and technology companies in the world,” Cohen said. “After a great deal of discussion with Brian and after much thought, I’ve decided to transition my operational roles and make way for the many talented executives who I have had the privilege of working with at Comcast and provide the opportunity to lead and grow their careers. During the coming year, effective January 1, 2020, I’ll continue in my current position as Senior Executive Vice President of the company and my major role will be to ensure a smooth transition of all of the functions that I have overseen.”
Cohen also said he plans to dedicate “more of my time to civic and charitable activities that I have been so involved with” after he shifts to an advisory role in 2021.
“It is impossible to overstate David’s value to Comcast NBCUniversal,” Roberts said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful to him as we have partnered together with a handful of executives to grow Comcast into the great company it is today. His impact on Philadelphia cannot be understated and his passion for diversity and inclusion has helped transform our company and our industry.”
Before joining Comcast, Cohen was chairman and partner in the law firm Ballard Spahr. He served as chief of staff to Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell from 1992 to 1997. Cohen is well-connected in Democratic Party circles, leading to speculation that he may run for office. Comcast insiders downplayed those rumors.
(Pictured: David L. Cohen, left, testifying before Congress with Time Warner Cable executive Arthur Minson in 2014)