Comcast Cable CEO David Watson Shares His Own Coronavirus Recovery Story

Courtesy of Comcast
David Watson

The cable exec on Monday told an investors conference he and his wife, Ellen, were "extremely lucky."

Comcast Cable CEO David Watson, who oversees the media giant's traditional cable TV business, on Monday said he and his wife, Ellen, both tested positive for the novel coronavirus and survived the health crisis.

"I tested positive, as did my wife, and came out of it. I did not have any of the more serious issues," Watson told the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Conference. "But it put an immediate perspective to me in terms of what was most important and what was most important for our people in making sure they could pivot and start working from home," the exec added.

That included Comcast within a month moving 95 percent of its cable call center staff to working remotely, and changing safety protocols to ensure front line workers had protective gear, including masks and gloves.

Watson recalled being able to remain in close contact with senior executives during his coronavirus recovery via daily phone calls. "We were lucky — Ellen and I — extremely lucky, for this, but it did add a personal perspective throughout," he told investors.

Watson is the latest Comcast senior exec to battle COVID-19 since April 26 when NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell confirmed he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while noting at the time his health was already on the mend.

Comcast, led by chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, on April 30 reported lower earnings for entertainment unit NBCUniversal for the first quarter as the pandemic started hitting TV advertising revenue and the firm's theme parks unit.