Andy Lack’s NBC Exit May Spell the End for Controversial Executive Noah Oppenheim

NBC News and MSNBC Chairman Andy Lack’s long-predicted retirement, just days short of his 73rd birthday, was confirmed Monday with a press release from newly installed NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell, who named Telemundo head honcho Cesar Conde as the new executive in charge of Comcast-owned NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC.

The move—which brings the CNBC financial network under control of the news division, having been outside Lack’s purview and reporting to NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke—effectively reverses a core personnel decision by Shell’s predecessor, who publicly tapped Lack’s deputy Noah Oppenheim for the top news job even amid a storm of criticism both inside and outside NBC News.

NBC News staffers had been critical of Oppenheim—occasionally to his face at staff meetings—over his handling of Ronan Farrow’s reporting on disgraced and now-imprisoned movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Oppenheim’s boss, Lack, was also widely blamed for perceived journalistic failures at the news division.

People familiar with the situation told The Daily Beast that Lack was blindsided by Shell’s announcement. An NBC News spokesperson declined to comment. 

The re-shuffle gives a vote of limited confidence to NBC news president Oppenheim, who had reported to Lack and was long expected to succeed him in the executive echelons of NBC. One highly placed company insider speculated that Oppenheim, a successful Hollywood screenwriter who has been privately musing with colleagues about returning to his first love, might not stay long at NBC News. 

“He’s the big loser,” this person said.

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