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Photo illustration of Cesar Conde

Cesar Conde will become the chairman of NBC News Group — including MSNBC, CNBC and NBC News — NBCUniversal announced Monday.

Why it matters: His promotion marks the first time that a Latino has become the head of news for NBC, and people who have worked closely with Conde say he's one of America's most underestimated media executives.

Details: Conde led Telemundo's historic turnaround over the past few years, and before that helped make Univision a global Spanish-language news powerhouse.

  • "I think he's always been underestimated because he's young and brown and doesn't come across as a pushy person, but that's also how he got into the board of directors at Walmart and PepsiCo," says a high-level media executive who has worked closely with Conde.
  • "He has a global perspective of how the world works that goes beyond that which many of us executives in the media have ever seen."

Conde, 46, has a father from Peru and a mother from Cuba. He grew up in Miami, and became a high school tennis champion before going to Harvard, and then eventually Wharton School of Business. Along the way, he served as a White House Fellow for Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002–2003.

  • People who have worked closely with Conde describe him as being a savvy and thoughtful businessperson. "He's very flexible and calm," says one source. "He thinks deeply on things and doesn't make rushed decisions."

At Univision, he led the network's primetime newscasts to be competitive with some of the major English-speaking networks in ratings.

At Telemundo, Conde is credited with having brought Telemundo from being the second-place network to Univision to a break-out network.

  • One of his biggest accomplishments has been overseeing the network through its acquisition of World Cup rights from Univision from 2018-2026.
  • He's made investments in Telemundo's entertainment programming, modernizing telenovelas and developing original series for streaming companies.
  • Telemundo has also begun to pull ahead of Univision in weekday primetime with younger audiences, although Univision still beats the network in overall viewers.

The big picture: Conde's appointment comes amid a broader executive shuffle at NBC. On Monday the company announced that longtime NBC News chairman Andy Lack is stepping down and will transition out of the company by the end of May.

  • Under Lack, NBC News was accused of attempting to scuttle journalist Ronan Farrow's investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein. Farrow also accused Lack of downplaying an internal complaint about a rape allegation against then-host Matt Lauer.
  • Sources describe Conde quite differently: "He's not a micro-manager," says a source that worked closely with Conde for several years. "He choses his team, helps them maneuver, makes bets and he pushes forward. He really doesn't drink or party, he's not into schmoozing. He's very focused on work and ethics."

Between the lines: Conde's background will help NBCUniversal rise to the moment at a time when it has never been so critical to reach Hispanics, America's fastest growing demographic.

The bottom line: "The best thing that can happen for him is that they underestimate him as has always happened," says a source close to Conde.

Disclosure: NBC is an investor in Axios.

Go deeper

Updated 30 mins ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bill Clinton hospitalized for non-COVID-related infection

Former President Bill Clinton. Photo: Win McNamee/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was admitted to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Tuesday for a non-COVID-related infection, his spokesperson Angel Ureña said Thursday.

The latest: In an update on Friday, Ureña said Clinton's health indicators are "trending in the right direction, including his white blood count which has decreased significantly."