Zucker replaces Bob Wright who will remain as GE vice chairman and assist with the transition, Variety said.
Calling it "the worst-kept secret in the history of business," GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said naming Zucker naturally followed watching the former "Today" executive as he contended with some thorny issues, including NBC's fall from first to fourth in the ratings.
"He never got down in tough times; he always drove harder," Immelt said. "He is tough, passionate and the right person to lead."
Wright will remain as board chairman of NBC Universal until May 1 and Zucker will report to him. After that, Immelt will assume the chairman's position at NBC Universal.
While not offering a sweeping vision for the company and few specifics, Zucker said his priorities were to "keep the momentum we've discovered in prime time" and "make sure that content is available in as many places as possible and that we are getting properly paid for it."