NBCUniversal Names Kimberly Harris New GC
NBCUniversal Inc. announced Tuesday that Kimberly Harris, a litigation partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell and a former deputy White House counsel, will become the media company’s executive vice president and general counsel on September 3.
“With extensive experience, proven leadership ability, and a track record of success, Kim is a great choice to guide our law department,” Steve Burke, chief executive officer of NBCUniversal, said in a statement.
Harris will succeed Rick Cotton, who has served in that position since 2004. Cotton will remain at the company as senior counsel for IP protection, where he will work on antipiracy policy and advocacy, advising both NBCUniversal and parent company Comcast.
As EVP and GC, Harris will advise senior management on legal issues and lead an in-house team that handles legal matters for all of NBCUniversal’s business units, which include a film studio, two broadcast networks, 18 cable channels, over 50 digital sites, and a chain of theme parks. She will also be responsible for coordinating NBCUniversal’s global regulatory and legislative agenda.
The former litigation attorney will take the lead of the NBCUniversal legal team as the company is embroiled in several high-profile cases, including a suit brought by two former interns, one from Saturday Night Live and another from MSNBC, who filed a class-action lawsuit in a federal court in New York on behalf of unpaid or underpaid interns. The company is also facing a lawsuit brought by George Zimmerman, who is suing after the company allegedly defamed him by broadcasting an edited version of a 911 called placed on the night of his altercation with Trayvon Martin.
Harris comes to the GC post with plenty of experience with high-profile cases. At Davis Polk, she has represented the Department of the Treasury in litigation brought by Starr International Company Inc. challenging the government rescue of AIG, and advised clients under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Congress. She got her start at Davis Polk as an associate in 1997 and became a litigation partner in 2007.
She left Polk for a brief stint in government, working first at the DOJ as senior counsel to the assistant attorney general in the criminal division from 2009-2010, and in the White House Counsel’s Office from 2010-2012, where she held several positions, serving most recently as deputy counsel and deputy assistant to President Barack Obama.
At the White House, Harris advised senior executive branch officials on congressional investigations and executive privilege issues. She also advised White House officials on a range of legal matters, focusing specifically on compliance and risk management issues. In addition, she helped the White House respond to congressional investigations and managed litigation matters relating to the Office of the President.
Harris graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1992 and Yale Law School in 1996.