Burke began his career as an associate product manager in the breakfast food division at General Foods. In January 1986, Burke joined The Walt Disney Company. From 1992 to 1996, Burke served as President and COO of Euro Disney. In 1996, Burke was named executive vice president of ABC after the Walt Disney Company purchased the network. The following year, Burke was named President of ABC Broadcasting.
In 1998, Burke left Disney and became President of Comcast Cable. In 2004, he was named Chief Operating Officer of Comcast Cable, in addition to his title of President. In 2010, it was announced that Burke would become CEO of NBCUniversal after Comcast and General Electric completed a merger. When Comcast and General Electric finished merging the assets of NBCUniversal with Comcast's programming assets the following year, Burke resigned his position as COO of Comcast before becoming CEO of NBCUniversal.
Burke's current contract as a CEO of NBCUniversal expires in August 2020.  In December 2019, it was reported that Burke planned to step down from his position at NBCUniversal by the time his contract expires following the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Steve Burke married his wife, Gretchen (née Hoadley) on July 23, 1983 and together they have five children. Burke has homes in New York City and Los Angeles.
^U.S. Public Records Index Vol 2 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.