Comcast Corp. has hired Kyle McSlarrow, head of the cable industry's trade group, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, to lead its lobbying and government-affairs office in Washington, a 40-employee unit on Capitol Hill that now includes NBC Universal Inc. lawyers and lobbyists.

McSlarrow also will have operational responsibilities related to customer service and product innovation, according to a Comcast statement. He begins in early April.

McSlarrow will report to David L. Cohen, executive vice president, and will work with Neil Smit, president of the cable division, and Steve Burke, the chief executive officer of NBC Universal.

Comcast has been a major force and the largest funder of the Cable & Telecommunications Association, which McSlarrow has headed since 2005. There is a separate trade association for small cable operators.

The former deputy chief of staff and chief counsel for Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott, McSlarrow announced last fall that he would step down at the cable association, which employs 100. His replacement has not been named.

McSlarrow was not available for comment Wednesday. Comcast did not say how much he would be paid in his new position. The trade association's most recent 990 filing says McSlarrow earned $2.7 million in compensation for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009.

Brian L. Roberts, Comcast chief executive officer, said McSlarrow had been a "tireless advocate for the cable and media industry."

This was the second announcement related to Comcast's Washington office this week. On Monday, Comcast said it had promoted Kathy Zachem and Melissa Maxfield to senior vice president. Both were involved in the company's successful regulatory approval for its deal to acquire a controlling interest in NBC Universal.

Contact staff writer Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or bob.fernandez@phillynews.com.