Washington—The Republican head of Comcast Corp.'s Washington, D.C. office has left the company after five years in a shake-up that comes on the eve of an election that could put Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress for the first time in 14 years.
Comcast issued a statement Wednesday that Kerry Knott, senior vice president for government affairs, has left the company as an employee but would serve as "strategic counsel" to Comcast and act as a consultant to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
Knott was a top aide to former House Republican Majority Leader Richard Armey (Texas). He joined Comcast from Microsoft Corp.'s Washington D.C. office soon after Comcast became the largest cable company in the U.S. with the purchase of AT&T Broadband.
A Comcast spokeswoman said the company had not named Knott's replacement.
After the results are in from next Tuesday's presidential and congressional races, Comcast and other media telecommunications companies will be looking for people with contacts high up in the new political leadership.
A Comcast spokeswoman also confirmed Wednesday that senior vice president of corporate affairs David Krone had left the company.
Krone, based in Philadelphia, joined Comcast in January from NCTA where he was executive vice president, playing a behind-the-scenes role to presidents Robert Sachs and Kyle McSlarrow.
A Democrat, Krone has close ties to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.), who is reportedly in the running to be chief of staff in an Obama White House.
Comcast executive David Cohen, in a prepared statement, indicated that "budget constraints and new challenges" were related to Knott's departure.
He praised Knott's contribution over a difficult period. Since 2005, the Federal Communications Commission under chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, has adopted numerous regulations aimed at the cable industry, from ownership restrictions to set-top box mandates to compelled carriage of local TV signals in both analog and digital.
"Kerry Knott has been with Comcast for over five years, and in that time has built our federal, state and local government affairs team into a solid group, with a strong and effective presence in D.C. and the states in which Comcast operates," Cohen said. "Kerry and his team have done an excellent job building our relationships with leaders across the country. And we look forward to Kerry's continuing counsel at NCTA."
In the same statement, Knott said he "truly enjoyed working at Comcast and helping the company navigate its way through many interesting legislative and regulatory issues."
Cohen also announced a new organizational structure for Comcast's Washington D.C. office:
-- Melissa Maxfield, vice president of federal government affairs, will head congressional affairs and executive branch relations.
-- Kathy Zachem, vice president of regulatory and state legislative affairs, will oversee federal regulatory affairs and state regulatory and legislative affairs.
-- Joe Waz, senior vice president of external affairs and public policy, will oversee all of Comcast's public policy.
"All three will report to Cohen, who will continue to lead the company's government affairs function, including oversight of the Washington office," Comcast's statement said.