NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell has resigned from his position after confessing to an “inappropriate relationship” with a woman at the media giant, according to parent company Comcast.
The revelation came to light during an investigation by an outside lawyer in response to a complaint against Shell.
“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal,” Shell said in a statement Sunday. “I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret.”
“I am deeply sorry to have let my colleagues at Comcast and NBCUniversal down,” the statement said. “They are the most talented people in the business and the opportunity to work with them for the past 10 years has been a privilege.”
Shell, who has been with the company for 20 years and is married, had been in charge of the entertainment division, which includes streaming service Peacock which has faced fierce competition from rivals, The Wall Street reports Journal. Despite adding more than 20 million new subscribers in the fourth quarter, Peacock still incurred losses of nearly $1 billion.
Comcast has not disclosed the details of Shell’s relationship with the staff member and his role within the company. A replacement for Shell has not yet been announced. Meanwhile, Mike Cavanagh, president of Comcast, will assume Shell’s responsibilities, with Mark Lazarus, NBCUniversal’s head of television and streaming, and Donna Langley, head of theatrical operations, reporting directly to Cavanagh during the transition period.
News of the departure of NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell sent shockwaves through New York and Hollywood, where he had overseen Comcast’s vast entertainment empire. Shell’s exit comes at a crucial time for Comcast as it navigates the difficult transition from traditional television and cable to a future focused on streaming video, broadband Internet and wireless services.
NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, has gained some momentum in recent months, but remains considerably smaller compared to its competitors. With just over 20 million paid subscribers, Peacock falls behind streaming giants like Netflix with 232 million subscribers and Warner Bros.’s HBO Max and Discovery+. Discovery with 96 million subscribers. Like the streaming businesses of other major media companies, Peacock has also suffered losses, with an estimated loss of around $2.5 billion in 2022 and projected losses of another $3 billion in 2023.
In addition to Peacock, NBCUniversal also owns several cable networks, including Bravo, E!, MSNBC and USA, which have been struggling with declining traditional TV viewership.
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