Comcast has gone outside the cable realm to find the exec who will head up its consumer product strategy.
Chris Satchell, a former Nike and Microsoft executive, has joined Comcast Cable as executive vice president and chief product officer, where he’ll lead the company’s product team in Philadelphia, Denver and Silicon Valley to develop and design Comcast’s consumer products. Satchell succeeds Charlie Herrin, who is now Comcast’s EVP of customer experience.
At Nike, Satchell served as the sports footwear and apparel giant’s consumer technology officer, where he was responsible for the strategy and execution related to all consumer-focused technology and digital asset, and led a team of 1,600 employees within Nike’s Consumer Digital Technology unit.
Before Nike, he was chief technology officer and EVP of R&D at IGT (Internal Game Technology), a global gaming and lottery systems company; and, before that, was CTO for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, where he was responsible for product and technical development across multiple areas of the gaming business, including Xbox, Games for Windows, Xbox Live and Microsoft Game Studios. At Microsoft, he also held other roles, including General Manager and Chief Software Architect for Microsoft XNA, the unit responsible for developing tools that facilitate video game development and management.
He joins Comcast as the MSO continues to put its own stamp on the development and design of consumer-facing products, including its coming DOCSIS 3.1-powered “Gigabit Home Gateway,” an emerging line of next-gen smart home products, and devices that run Comcast’s X1 platform, including a 4K-capable client device called the Xi4.
Satchell is also coming on board as Comcast gets more heavily involved with connected wearables (it introduced an X1 app optimized for the Apple Watch in April) and the broader Internet of Things. Of recent note, Satchell told a tech conference in Las Vegas why Nike pulled the plug on its FuelBand fitness wearable in 2014 and opted for a broader partnership strategy. "There was nothing when we started, but now there's sensors everywhere," he said. "We're doing it to build a connection to our consumers."
Notably, Comcast is in the process of opening up its Xfinity Home platform to a broad set of device partners in the form of a coming software development kit (SDK) and a “Works with Xfinity Home” certification program. Comcast has already identified several partners, including August (smart locks and car adapters); Cuff (smart jewelry); Leeo (maker of a connected nighlight); Lutron (dimmers, remote controls and battery-powered shade); Rachio (sprinkler controllers); SkyBell (video doorbells); and Whistle (pet monitors). Comcast is also working on integrating Xfinity Home with Google's Nest Labs.
“Chris is a world-class technologist with a track record of creating products that consumers love,” Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “Chris and his team will work across the company to create, design and build exceptional product experiences for customers, and I am thrilled to have him on board.”
“Chris’s depth of product development experience across a variety of leading technology companies makes him uniquely qualified to lead this important work,” added Tony Werner, Comcast’s EVP and CTO. “There’s never been a more exciting time for product innovation, and I look forward to continuing to build on the great foundation that our product team has established.”