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Paula Madison, executive vp and chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal, on Monday announced her retirement.
Her last day at the company will be May 20, following the completion of Comcast and NBCUniversal’s first Joint Diversity Advisory Council meeting in Philadelphia. Her successor is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Madison, a 22-year veteran of the company, served as NBCUniversal’s first chief diversity officer, a post that then-NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker appointed her to in 2007.
In that role, she serves as the liaison between the company and key national and local leaders and the company’s diversity spokesperson. She also is responsible for working with the business executives in developing programs as well as a workplace that reflects diversity.
Madison told the Los Angeles Times that the decision is a result of her wanting to be more involved in Williams Group Holdings, her family’s company that is majority owner in the Los Angeles Sparks women’s professional basketball team and the largest investor in the Africa Channel.
In a statement, Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal and executive vp at Comcast Corp., thanked Madison for her contributions to the company.
“Paula has had an extraordinary career from her early days as an award-winning journalist and station manager up to and including her appointment as the first chief diversity officer in the history of NBCUniversal,” he said. “Her leadership and counsel throughout the course of the integration were invaluable.”
Added Madison: “I’ve spent the best years of my career at NBCUniversal and the last four, serving as the company’s chief diversity officer, have been my most memorable. I am proud about what we’ve been able to accomplish and under Steve Burke’s leadership, I am confident that NBCUniversal will be an industry leader in the area of diversity. I will miss working with my team and colleagues but know that our friendships will carry on.”
Madison got her start as a newspaper reporter in New York and Dallas/Fort Worth and spent time at TV stations in Texas in Oklahoma before joining NBC’s owned-and-operated station WNBC New York in 1989 as assistant news director. She rose up the ranks to vp/news director in 1996.
Four years later, she was named president/GM of NBC’s O&O KNBC Los Angeles, becoming the first African-American woman to hold the post of general manager at a network-owned station in a top five market.
In 2002, when NBC purchased Telemundo, Madison added the title of regional general manager for the Spanish-language network’s stations KVEA and KWHY. She also held the positions of vp and senior vp diversity for NBC before taking on her current title.
Throughout her career, she has won several awards, including a Peabody Award, the Anti-Defamation League’s Deborah Award, the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s First Amendment Service Award and the National Association of Black Journalists’ Legacy Award.
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