Comcast's Cohen Stepping Down

Will transition to counselor role
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David Cohen

David Cohen

Comcast senior executive vice president David Cohen, the company's chief diversity officer, is stepping down from that operational post at the end of the year, but will remain a top adviser to the company and CEO Brian Roberts. 

That is according to a Comcast filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which must notify the agency of the departure of top officers. 

"On December 5, 2019, David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast, announced that he will step down from his operational responsibilities effective January 1, 2020, and then transition from Senior Executive Vice President to Senior Counselor to Comcast’s Chief Executive Officer beginning December 31, 2020," the filing said. 

Related: Cohen Says Unserved Are Critical for Broadband Expansion

Cohen, who joined the company in 2002, has overseen corporate communications, government relations, regulatory and public affairs, corporate administration, real estate and security, 

Karen Buchholz, senior VP of administration, will succeed Cohen as chief diversity officer.

Buchholz, who has been with the company for 19 years, has been deeply involved with Comcast's diversity inclusion initiative.

Various Comcast D.C. execs with lead duties in legislative, regulatory, legal will remain in place, reporting to Tom Reid, general counsel. 

“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.” 

"Joining the company before the AT&T Broadband transaction closed, David literally built and oversaw much of our corporate administrative infrastructure, including our corporate communications, government affairs, public policy, external affairs, and community impact functions," Roberts said in an internal memo on the move. "David’s passion for diversity and inclusion has helped transform the culture of our company as he has pursued a vision of making Comcast NBCUniversal the leading company for diversity and inclusion in corporate America."

In that memo, Roberts further laid out how Cohen's responsibilities would be reapportioned.

"Going forward, Comcast Corporate will be structured as follows:

• "Government and Regulatory Affairs and Political Affairs will report to Tom Reid, who reports to me. 

• "International Government and Regulatory Affairs will continue to be overseen by Kim Harris, who reports to me in this area. 

• "Finance and Legal will continue to report to Mike Cavanagh and Tom Reid, respectively.

• "Corporate Communications, led by D’Arcy Rudnay, will continue to report to me.

• "Diversity & Inclusion under Juan Otero’s leadership will continue to report to Karen Buchholz. Karen will become Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation reporting to me in this capacity. Karen and Craig Robinson, the Chief Diversity Officer for NBCUniversal, will become co-chairs of the Comcast NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Advisory Council. 

• "Community Impact/Corporate Social Responsibility at both Comcast and NBCUniversal will report to Adam Miller, who will report to me and also maintain his current role at NBCUniversal. 

• "Internet Essentials will report directly into the Connectivity and Home function in Comcast Cable, with a dotted line reporting relationship to Adam Miller. 

• "Sustainability will continue to report to Karen.

• "Corporate Administration, including Corporate Facilities, the Campus Experience, Campus Events, and Security, will continue to report to Karen, who will now report to Mike Cavanagh and also continue to report to me. 

• "Local Media Development will report to Karen."

"Laudatory statements are customary when a major figure steps aside, but in this case, they are fully justified," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior counselor at the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society. "David has been a formidable opponent who has given Comcast and the cable industry more than they have often deserved. He has played a significant role in Comcast’s success over several decades, and I have the scars to prove it."

Jon Lafayette contributed to this story