Thursday, July 1, 2010

Comcast to add Hispanic to board of directors

PHILADELPHIA — Comcast Corp. will appoint a Hispanic to its board of directors within 24 months of closing a deal to acquire control of NBC Universal Inc., the Philadelphia cable company said Wednesday.
Having a Hispanic director is part of a broader agreement with Hispanic groups to win support for the NBC Universal deal. Comcast corporate directors earn about $300,000 a year, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Comcast reached an agreement in December to acquire control of NBC Universal, one of the nation's largest entertainment companies and owner of Hispanic programmer Telemundo, from General Electric Co. The $30 billion deal now faces regulatory reviews in Washington.

Lillian Rodriguez, chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, said Wednesday that the Hispanic groups did not commit to specific employment or procurement goals for Hispanics because they needed first to obtain information from Comcast.

Other Hispanic groups that signed the agreement were the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, the National Council of La Raza and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Rodriguez said.

Diversity issues have gained attention in the regulatory review. Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters, a prominent African-American Democrat, held a public hearing in California in early June over diversity at Comcast and NBC Universal. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., has scheduled a hearing on July 8 in Chicago that is expected to address diversity issues. As part of its agreement with Hispanic groups, Comcast said it will form a Hispanic Advisory Council that will focus on Comcast's and NBC Universal's employment, procurement, programming, philanthropy and corporate governance practices. Details of the agreement were posted on Comcast's blog on Wednesday afternoon.

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