Pearlena Igbokwe, a Nigerian-American, has been appointed to lead NBCUniversal’s global television studio business.
The promotion of Pearlena Igbokwe will make her one of the most senior Black women in the entertainment business. She will take over from Bonnie Hammer who is now the vice-chairman of NBCUniversal.
Igbokwe takes over the company’s growing global television studio business, including Universal Television, Universal Content Productions (UCP), and NBCUniversal International Studios and she will report directly to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell.
“She has a long track record of success and is the ideal person to take the helm of the studio group,” said Hammer, who will become a corporate advisor reporting to Shell.
The moves are part of a wider reorganization of NBCUniversal’s entertainment group as it competes with a host of new and established TV streaming services.
The company under Shell has been looking to streamline operations to respond to the intensely competitive realities of the new streaming era.
“Our television studios are key growth engines for the company, and Pearlena is ideally suited to lead them,” Shell said in a statement. “She has extraordinary taste and is well-respected within NBC.”
Dawn Olmstead, president of UCP, and Jeff Wachtel, president of NBCUniversal International Studios, will report directly to Igbokwe, the company said.
Igbokwe is also the vice president of the Hollywood Radio and TV Society board and a member of the Television Academy Executive Committee. Since 2016 she has been president of Universal Television, where she oversaw all aspects of the studio business and helped shepherd such popular TV shows as “Russian Doll,” “The Good Place” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
She joined NBC Entertainment in 2012 as executive vice president for drama development after working for 20 years as a programming executive for CBS Corp.’s Showtime Networks. There, she helped develop hit series, including “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie.”