Dec 17, 2010

African American Leadership Organizations and Comcast/NBC Universal Announce Memorandum of Understanding

I have had the pleasure of working on some very interesting projects during my tenure at Comcast. But nothing I've worked on up to this point has been as compelling, and has the potential for positive impact, as my participation in the negotiation of the Comcast-NBC Universal African American Memorandum of Understanding ("AAMOU").

During the past several months, I have been working with three of the most prominent civil rights organizations in the country to develop a comprehensive framework that expresses the combined company's commitment to diversity.

Shortly after Comcast announced its intention to acquire 51% of NBC Universal, our chairman Brian Roberts and EVP David Cohen received a letter from National Action Network Founder and President Rev. Al Sharpton, National Urban League CEO Marc Morial and NAACP President Ben Jealous requesting a meeting to discuss Comcast's continued commitment to diversity. Comcast has had a long and mutually respectful relationship with these organizations and their leadership for many years. What resulted from the meeting was a commitment on the part of all who attended to diligently work toward making the combined Comcast/NBCU an industry leader in diversity and a model twenty first century company. This commitment has now been memorialized in the AA MOU.

The MOU is a comprehensive commitment covering all business units and focusing on the following five areas: corporate governance, employment/workforce recruitment and retention, procurement, programming and philanthropy and community investment. It is important to note that the level of voluntary engagement with third party organizations that Comcast has committed to is unprecedented. We are establishing independent diversity councils that will work with us to ensure that we are expanding existing opportunities and creating new opportunities for diverse employees.

In the area of programming, we have committed to carry ten new independent channels, four of which will be African American owned or managed. We will also be expanding distribution of two existing African American channels. Creative executives will benefit from training and mentoring programs created by the AAMOU. In recognition of the lack of early stage capital available for minority media and tech entrepreneurs, we are establishing a $20 million investment fund.

There are also commitments to expand opportunities for minority providers of banking, legal and other professional services. Truly, as anyone who reviews the AAMOU will understand, these commitments are unprecedented.

This agreement along with similar agreements reach with the Hispanic and Asian leadership will pave the way for Comcast to be a true leader, not just in the media and communications space, but in all of American industry.

These are very exciting times at Comcast, and I am glad that as the company continues to grow, our executive team recognizes the value of creating and expanding opportunity for all of its employees and for the diverse communities we serve. I believe that's a model for success.

Tags : African American Leadership Organizations, Comcast, Memorandum of Understanding, NBCUniversal

 
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