Former NBC SVP to run J. Walter Thompson's comms

NEW YORK: NBC Universal is searching for a replacement for SVP of corporate communications and media relations Cory Shields, who left the company to join the WPP-owned advertising firm J. Walter Thompson as EVP and chief communications officer.

NEW YORK: NBC Universal is searching for a replacement for SVP of corporate communications and media relations Cory Shields, who left the company to join the WPP-owned advertising firm J. Walter Thompson as EVP and chief communications officer.

Dave Frail, director of financial communications at GE, NBC Universal's owner, is temporarily assuming Shields' duties, according to Shannon Jacobs, NBC Universal's senior manager of media relations.

Shields, who reported to EVP Anna Perez, referred to the transition as amicable and is aiding the network with the changeover. "Both jobs focus on strategic communications, but the assignment [at JWT] was much more global and it appealed to me tremendously," Shields said.

He will start the new job August 2. He had served as NBC SVP since July 2002 after joining the department as VP in October 2000. Shields participated in the communications strategy surrounding NBC's acquisitions of Vivendi Universal Entertainment.

At WPP-owned JWT, he replaces Owen Dougherty, who was EVP and director of corporate communications worldwide. In June, Dougherty joined Euro RSCG Worldwide as chief communications officer.

Shields will be responsible for the company's overall corporate communications strategy, including marketing and managing the agency's brand, running media relations and internal communications, and planning its philanthropic activities.

NBC Universal has seen significant changes in its PR operations since the recent merger. Earlier this month, it announced numerous changes in the NBC Universal Television Group.

Kathy Kelly-Brown, formerly head of publicity for prime-time series, was promoted to head NBC Entertainment PR. Curt King, who helped integrated PR functions during the merger, will now oversee PR for the NBC Universal Television Studio. In addition, Jennifer Skorlich now heads PR for all cable entertainment channels.

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