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Jeff Shell Out As NBCUniversal Boss After ‘Inappropriate’ Relationship

  • Shell has served as NBCUniversal’s CEO since January 2020.
  • Comcast boss Brian Roberts likely to take reins of NBA bid.
Comcast
Comcast

Jeff Shell is out as boss of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal after admitting to an “inappropriate” with an unidentified female employee.

Comcast dropped the bombshell announcement Sunday as NBCUniversal gears up for a possible bid on the NBA’s multi-billion media rights. 

With Shell out the door, Comcast chairman and chief executive officer Brian Roberts is likely to call the shots on any possible NBA negotiations, said sources.

Roberts and Disney chief executive officer Rober Iger have had a personal and business rivalry for two decades. The Comcast chief would like to send Iger into retirement by taking the NBA away from Disney.

The Philadelphia-based Comcast said Sunday that Shell would depart “effective immediately” following an investigation by an outside counsel into a complaint of inappropriate conduct.

“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret,” said Shell in a statement. “I’m truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down.”

Shell’s executive team will now report to Comcast president Mike Cavanagh. But his sudden departure could create a “Succession”-like a scramble to succeed him.

The NBA’s Media Future Could Be Decided by a Bitter CEO Rivalry

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Among the potential candidates are: Mark Lazarus, the widely respected chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, and Matt Strauss, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international.

In a separate memo, Roberts and Cavanagh said they were “disappointed” to share the news with employees 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,” they said.

Shell has served as NBCUniversal’s CEO since January 2020. Ironically, it was Shell himself who announced the departure of longtime NBCUniversal executive Ron Meyer due to an extramarital affair and alleged extortion attempt.

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