NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell Steps Down After Misconduct Investigation

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell has exited the company following an investigation of inappropriate conduct. Shell's sudden exit is effective immediately, parent company Comcast told employees Sunday. "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 19 years has been a privilege." Shell was named CEO of NBCUniversal in January 2020, replacing Steve Burke, and his team will now report to Comcast President Mike Cavanagh.

"We are disappointed to share this news with you. We built this company on a culture of integrity. Nothing is more important than how we treat each other," reads a company-wide memo issued by Cavanagh and Comcast chairman-CEO Brian Roberts. "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 continues: "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."


As CEO, Shell oversaw the company's portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, the Universal Pictures film studio, the studio's television and sports production operations, the company's global Universal Studios theme parks, and the Peacock streaming service.

Shell previously served as Chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, overseeing content creation and the programming and distribution engines behind NBCUniversal's film and network television businesses, including NBC Entertainment, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), Telemundo and NBCUniversal International. During Shell's six years as Chairman of UFEG, the company saw four years of record profit from Universal Pictures, including the two most profitable years in the studio's 107-year history with blockbusters from the Fast & FuriousJurassic World, and Despicable Me franchises.

During his nearly 20 years with Comcast Corporation, Shell served as Chairman of NBCUniversal International, managing all aspects of the company's international television businesses, and as President of Comcast Programming Group, managing Comcast's national and regional television networks including E! Entertainment Network, the Golf Channel, International Channel Networks, and Comcast Sports Group.

Shell's exit comes just days before Universal Pictures and Focus Features will host a presentation featuring footage from their upcoming slate at CinemaCon, the annual convention for theater owners, in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Scheduled presenters include Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Film Entertainment Group; Peter Levinsohn, Vice Chairman and Chief Distribution Officer, UFEG; Jim Orr, President, Domestic Distribution, Universal Pictures, Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President, International Distribution, Universal Pictures International; Peter Kujawski, Chairman, Focus Features; and Lisa Bunnell, President, Domestic Theatrical Distribution, Focus Features.