Steve Burke

Steve Burke will replace outgoing NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker once he steps aside, Comcast and General Electric announced Sunday.

Burke, the chief operating officer at Comcast, was widely expected to fill the role. Zucker announced Friday that he was asked to leave his post once Comcast's acquisition of 51 percent of NBC Universal was complete. The deal is expected to close by year's end.

NBC Chief Jeff Zucker exiting network

"Steve Burke is an experienced, talented and visionary leader with over 25 years in the media and entertainment industry," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said. "Steve is one of the most well-respected executives in the industry, and I am confident that he will lead NBCU forward to a new era of growth."

More personnel shifts are expected, but Sunday's news release said no further announcements would be made  "until the deal closing process and timing is certain."

Zucker became president and CEO of NBC Universal in 2007 after 21 years working for NBC. He steered Bravo into a successful cable network, but NBC languished as a fourth-place network under him. Industry observers' comments ranged from characterizing his reign as "mixed" or "a failure."

Most recently, Zucker earned negative attention by announcing that the Jay Leno Show would move to the 11:35 timeslot, shifting Conan O'Brien's new The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien back to 12:05 a.m. O'Brien objected, and eventually accepted a buyout from the network to leave.

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Burke and Zucker met last week, after which Zucker announced he was leaving his post.

"He made it clear that they wanted to move on at the close of the deal and I was completely comfortable with that," Zucker said.