Jeff Shell is leaving NBCUniversal after the investigation

Comcast Chairman Michael Cavanagh will take over Shell’s duties while the company searches for a replacement.

SUN VALLEY, IDAHO - JULY 6: Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, walks away from the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference luncheon on July 6, 2022 in Sun Valley, Idaho.  The world's richest and most powerful business people from media, finance and technology are meeting at Sun Valley Resort this week for an exclusive conference.  (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

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Jeff Shell is stepping down as CEO of NBCUniversal following an internal investigation into 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. “I am truly sorry to have let my colleagues at Comcast and NBCUniversal down, they are some of the most talented people in the business and it has been a privilege to work with them for the past 10 years.”

Shell has held the position of CEO since January 1, 2020. His tenure led to a deal that brought all of the company’s new films, including those from Illumination and Focus Features, to Peacock upon theatrical release. Comcast Chairman 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 the company on a culture of integrity. Nothing is more important than how we treat each other. Count on your leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace. When our principles and policies are violated, we always take appropriate action quickly, as we did here.”

The memo continued: “Please know that NBCUniversal is performing extremely well both operationally and financially, and we could not be more excited about our position and future prospects. We are fortunate to have an experienced, world-class management team leading this incredible company.”

Shell is pulling out of NBCUniversal, just three years after Ron Meyer left the company under similar circumstances. The longtime vice president (and co-founder of CAA) resigned after it was revealed that he paid money to cover up an extramarital affair with an employee. In 2019, Kevin Tsujihara was also the president and CEO of WarnerMedia at the time due to a relationship with the same woman.

Additional reporting by Tony Maglio.

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