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Cesar Conde leaves Univision for senior role at rival network NBCUniversal

Cesar Conde, president of Hispanic media giant Univision, has resigned to become a network executive with the parent company of Univision’s chief rival.

NBCUniversal, which owns Miami-based Telemundo, announced Friday that Conde has been named executive vice president of the parent network, with a focus on business development, strategic priorities, and special business projects. He will also lead NBCUniversal’s international group and will serve on the network’s executive committee, reporting to NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, according to a release by the network.

Conde, who will be based in New York City, will not oversee NBCUniversal’s Telemundo, which will remain under Joe Uva, a former Univision executive who is NBCUniversal’s chairman of Hispanic Enterprises and Content and also reports to Burke.

“Cesar is an impressive business executive with both traditional and emerging media expertise...His experience leading multiple domestic and international businesses will be instrumental in maximizing all the opportunities to grow our portfolio,” Burke said in a statement. Neither Conde nor NBCUniversal executives would grant an interview Friday.

Conde was named president of Miami-based Univision in 2009 after a half-dozen years with the company. During his tenure at Univision, Conde championed multimedia platforms and pushed Univision into top ratings regardless of language. In July for the first time, Univision’s main broadcast network ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in the 18-49 prime-time ratings category, regardless of language. Univision also recently cut the ribbon on facilities for its first-ever English language network, Fusion, a joint venture with Disney’s ABC News.

He is married to Pamela Silva Conde, co-anchor of Univision’s popular weekday news magazine, Primer Impacto.

Some media watchers expressed surprise at the move.

“[Conde] has been in the press a lot with Univision’s success at the July sweeps and Fusion,” said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media in New York. One reason for Univision’s success, he pointed out: It doesn’t run repeats in prime time, a practice common among mainstream networks — including NBC. Networks are already beginning to experiment with more original programming during the summer, for instance, but Conde could put that strategy on the fast track. Also, if Conde can tap into that bilingual youth culture that Univision has been so successful in reaching, that is a large part of that younger demographic — the 18-49 group — all networks covet, Adgate added.

Veronica Villafañe, editor and publisher of Media Moves, a popular blog following the Hispanic media industry, said that with Conde’s move, NBCUniversal now has former Univision executives in two key roles, “putting the network in a much better position to gain a larger foothold in the Hispanic market.”

Conde’s appeal, she said, is his broad multimedia approach at Univision. “Univision has really fanned out, they have a lot of properties. They are trying to give a little to everybody,” Villafañe said.

In his role overseeing “special business projects,’’ she speculated that Conde might be “taking a look at all of NBC’s assets and how they can grow those assets for the Latino community.”

Univision Communications announced Friday a reorganization of the Univision Networks team. Alberto Ciurana (president of programming and content), news president Isaac Lee and sports president Juan Carlos Rodriquez will now report directly to Randy Falco, president and chief executive officer of Univision Communications.

“We are appreciative of Cesar’s contributions to Univision over the last decade,” said Falco in a statement.