Jeff Shell is stepping down as CEO of NBCUniversal following an internal investigation for what has been described as an “inappropriate relationship” with an employee. The “mutual” decision was announced by NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast on Sunday afternoon.
“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret,” Shell said in a statement. “I’m truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down, they are the most talented people in the business and the opportunity to work with them the last 10 years has been a privilege.”
Shell had served as CEO since January 1, 2020. His tenure notably resulted in a deal that brought all of the company’s new film releases, including titles from Illumination and Focus Features, to Peacock following their theatrical releases. Comcast president Michael Cavanagh will take over as interim CEO of the entertainment company.
“We are disappointed to share this news with you,” Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts and Cavanagh wrote in an internal memo to employees obtained by IndieWire on Sunday. “We built this company on a culture of integrity. Nothing is more important than how we treat each other. You should count on your leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace. When our principles and policies are violated, we will always move quickly to take appropriate action, as we have done here.”
The memo continued: “Please know that NBCUniversal is performing extremely well operationally and financially, and we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about our position and prospects going forward. We are fortunate to have an experienced, world-class group of executives leading this incredible company.”
Shell’s exit from NBCUniversal comes just three years after Ron Meyer departed the company under similar circumstances. The longtime vice chairman (and CAA co-founder) stepped down after it was revealed that he paid money to cover up an extramarital affair that he had with an employee. An affair with the same woman also cost Kevin Tsujihara his job as chairman and CEO of what was then known as WarnerMedia in 2019.
Additional reporting by Tony Maglio.