“He’s not a chest-thumper,” Mr. Dimon said of Mr. Cavanagh in an interview. “He works hard, he sweats the details, and he gives a damn.”
Though he has spent much of his professional career rubbing shoulders with the ultrawealthy, Mr. Cavanagh, a Long Island native and father of three, comes from a middle-class background. He spent the summer before college pumping gas at a filling station and covered expenses at Yale by working summer construction jobs.
He has become one of the few Comcast executives whom Brian Roberts, the company’s chief executive, regularly consults on the most sensitive matters. Mr. Cavanagh was involved in discussions last year to combine NBCUniversal with the video game studio Electronic Arts, a deal that never came to fruition.
Comcast has not named Mr. Cavanagh as the permanent head of NBCUniversal, a media empire that includes the Universal Pictures movie studio, the NBC broadcast network, NBC News and MSNBC. But Comcast has described his job as a long-term appointment — and he has been acting as if he plans to be in charge for the long run.
Since taking over for Mr. Shell last month, he has traveled to Los Angeles to meet with film executives, including Donna Langley, the head of Universal Studios, and Chris Meledandri, the chief executive of the animation studio Illumination. While in Los Angeles, he had dinner with Jason Blum, the horror maestro behind Universal hits like “Get Out” and “Paranormal Activity.” He has also toured the “Today” show and visited the late-night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and he is planning a tour of an NBCUniversal theme park under construction in Orlando, Fla.