Rick Cotton Executive Vice President and General Counsel, NBCUniversal
Rick Cotton was named executive vice president and general counsel of NBCUniversal in August 2004. He supervises the NBCUniversal Law Department, which provides legal advice to all NBCUniversal business units for their ongoing operations and for new strategic plans and acquisitions. In addition, he oversees NBCUniversal’s global regulatory and legislative agenda, including the company’s worldwide anti-piracy efforts. Cotton reports to both Steve Burke, chief executive officer of NBCUniversal, and Pat Fili-Krushel, Chairman, NBCUniversal News Group.
In January 2007 Cotton was named Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cross-sector Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (CACP), which represents over 500 companies and associations who have come together to fight the vital economic battle against counterfeiting and piracy. He serves on the Steering Committee of BASCAP, Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy, an arm of the International Chamber of Commerce dedicated to the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights worldwide.
From 2000 to 2004, Cotton served as president and managing director of London-based CNBC Europe. Under his leadership CNBC Europe expanded its reach across Europe to 85 million homes; developed programming partnerships in Germany, Italy, Turkey, Russia, and the Middle East; and won brand recognition throughout the European business and financial communities.
Before joining CNBC Europe Cotton served as executive vice president and general counsel of NBC, a position he held for eleven years. From 1987 to 1989, Cotton was the president and chief executive officer of Washington-based management company HCX Inc. From 1980 to 1986, he was in private practice, specializing in health and environmental regulation, First Amendment and libel issues, and litigation in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate levels.
He was appointed the deputy executive secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Secretary Joseph A. Califano in 1977 and was named the executive secretary in 1978. In 1980 he became the special counsel to Deputy Secretary John Sawhill of the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to his government service, Cotton worked for two public interest legal organizations and taught law for a year at the Boalt Hall Law School at the University of California at Berkeley.
Cotton served as law clerk to Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1969 to 1970 and to Justice William J. Brennan Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1970 to 1971.
After completing his undergraduate degree in 1965 at Harvard, Cotton joined Newsweek magazine as a correspondent in the Chicago bureau. In 1969 he graduated cum laude from the Yale Law School, where he was the executive editor of the Yale Law Journal. He lives in New York and has two children, Rachel and Jon.