Longtime civic leader Steve Nissen has announced he will retire at the end of January as senior vice president of legal and government affairs for NBCUniversal. Nissen, however, will continue his relationship with the Universal City media company as a consultant and principal of Nissen Consulting Group. “That will free up opportunities to devote more time to various professional and passion pursuits including my old organization Public Counsel and my fairly new service on the board of the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation,” Nissen, 68, wrote in an email to friends and associates. Overseeing government relations for NBCUniversal has been immensely challenging, endlessly interesting and always rewarding, Nissen said in the email. “I cherish my more than a decade of rich experiences, civic engagement on behalf of the company and a great many smiles on the faces of children and grownups alike who’ve been dazzled by the creativity that emanates from NBCUniversal,” he added. In addition to serving at Public Counsel, a pro bono public interest law firm where he was once president, and the Parson Foundation board, Nissen has also been involved with the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, serving on the board and now the executive committee of the Van Nuys business advocacy group. Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Nissen worked in the private sector as a partner in the law firm of Manatt Phelps and Phillips and in the public sector as chief executive of the California State Bar and a senior official for former Gov. Gray Davis.