Professional Development
Entrepreneurs / Internet Essentials / Leadership

David Cohen, one of Comcast’s top execs, will step down from his role in 2020

Cohen has been with the company for nearly 20 years.

Comcast's David Cohen. (Technical.ly file image)
Update: Comments from Bryan Mercer and Liz Dow have been added. (12/5/19, 1:05 p.m.)

David Cohen, Comcast‘s senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer, announced to employees Thursday that he will begin transitioning away from the operation duties of his role in 2020.

Cohen and CEO Brian Roberts said in an email to employees that after next year, Cohen will become senior advisor to the CEO, “continuing to provide advice and support to me and the other senior executives in the company,” the Inquirer reported.

Cohen has been with the broadcast giant for nearly two decades. Over the years, his role has included corporate communications, government affairs and corporate administration, among other duties. He was integral in the company’s launch of the Internet Essentials program, which allows folks to purchase a computer for less than $150 and get internet access for $9.95 a month plus tax.

That program started in Philadelphia in 2011, following FCC requirements made in response to Comcast’s purchase of a majority stake in NBCUniversal. It has since since multiple expansions across the country, and included programs for veterans, folks with disabilities and people in public housing.

“As I look toward my 65th birthday next year, I recognized that I needed to focus on Comcast’s next 10 years — who was going to be by Brian’s side as he continues to lead our company into the future — and on my own personal life which has candidly taken a back seat to my professional life,” read Cohen’s email to staff. “So I’ve decided that it’s time for this transition.”

A few leaders in Philly’s tech and broadcast scene chimed in on Cohen’s leaving, with mixed reactions.

The Media Mobilizing Project and our community partners will continue to advocate for all Philadelphians to get affordable broadband internet, because communications is a human right,” MMP Executive Director Bryan Mercer wrote in an email. “David Cohen has made a profitable business out of the necessary ways we use the internet to connect to education, work, and entertainment. We look forward to working with elected officials to make sure all corporations, including Comcast, go beyond charity and pay their fair share to truly support turning things around in the poorest big city in America.”

Liz Dow, the CEO of Leadership Philadelphia, said that Cohen’s influence over the city is unlike most other executives’.

“David Cohen is larger than life, and has cast a shadow on this City like few others,” she wrote. “He knows the chessboard of public/private partnerships and astutely moves the pieces — earlier to serve the City and now to serve Comcast. In a world where it is harder and harder to find heroes, David has been an inspiration for decades.”

Companies: Comcast
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