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Comcast loses 2nd top-ranking tech executive in about a year

Comcast Corp. loses a second top tech executive in a year as Chris Satchell, the chief product officer, plans to depart at the end of March. His duties will be divided between two executives.

Comcast Corp. chief product officer Chris Satchell is leaving the company, leading to a reorganization of the tech leadership.
Comcast Corp. chief product officer Chris Satchell is leaving the company, leading to a reorganization of the tech leadership.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI

Chris Satchell, the former chief technology officer for Microsoft's Xbox game console who was recruited to juice up Comcast Corp.'s consumer products, is leaving the company after three years to return to the West Coast to work for a nutrition and health company, company managers have been told.

Comcast heralded Satchell's hiring in 2015 as a "cultural fit but not a cultural clone" at Comcast after a long search and as Comcast was seeking to distinguish itself for consumer products and the X1 set-top box. Satchell was part of the project team that introduced Comcast's voice-control TV remote.

Satchell, an executive vice president at Comcast, is the second key technology executive to abruptly depart the Philadelphia company in about a year. Sree Kotay, chief technology officer, left Comcast in early 2017, citing personal reasons and a desire to work at a smaller company.

Comcast officials on Tuesday confirmed Satchell's departure and said his duties would be divided between Comcast executives Matt Zelesko and Fraser Stirling.

"While I will sincerely miss Chris, he and I have been discussing for some time an evolving family situation that was requiring him and his wife Megan to make frequent trips to the West Coast," Tony G. Werner, the president of technology and product, said in a memo  Friday.

"While Chris has made it clear to me that he miss will Comcast — and particularly our vibrant product team — he has found an opportunity that's closer to family, focused on disruptive innovation in the health and nutrition space, another of his passions."

Satchell was raised in Britain and came to the United States to work in video games. His wife and her family are from the West Coast, company officials said.

In an Inquirer profile in January 2016, Werner said Satchell's "passion was contagious. We liked that."

Zelesko will take the post of senior vice president for entertainment products and chief software officer. He came to Comcast from Time Warner Cable in 2015 — about the time that Comcast was seeking to acquire Time Warner Cable. Comcast later dropped the bid because of regulator opposition. Eight Comcast executives will report to him, according to Werner.

Stirling — who joined Comcast in 2014 and previously worked at Verizon Communications and Intel, according to LinkedIn — will be senior vice president of digital home, devices, and Artificial Intelligence. Seven Comcast executives will report to him.