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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell Ousted Over Sexual Harassment Claim

The former exec left his position on Sunday after admitting to an ‘inappropriate relationship,’ reportedly with Hadley Gamble, a CNBC news anchor and international correspondent.

Former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell left his position on Sunday after admitting to allegations of inappropriate conduct with a then mystery woman in the company.

“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret. 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 said in a statement.

After a month-long private investigation into the allegation, it was revealed on Monday that the initial complaint came from Hadley Gamble, a CNBC news anchor and international correspondent. Speaking on behalf of Gamble, attorney Suzanne McKie of Farore Law stated, “The investigation into Mr. Shell arose from a complaint by my client of sexual harassment and sex discrimination. Given these circumstances It is very disappointing that my client’s name has been released and her privacy violated.”

Shell became CEO of NBCUniversal in January 2020, and his duties included overseeing the company’s theme parks, its Peacock streaming service, sports production operations, television stations group, and entertainment and news television networks. Going forward, Shell’s wayward team will now report to Comcast President Mike Cavanagh. So far, no plans to replace Shell are under way as NBCUniversal execs already report to the Comcast exec. Shell’s exit does not yet appear to have thrown many wrenches into daily activities.

In a separate Sunday statement, Cavanagh and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said, “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. 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.”

This unfortunate news comes at a pivotal time NBCUniversal, as it tries to improve the declining audience for the Peacock streaming service previously helmed by Shell. However, Shell did previously promise that 2023 would be the peak of losses for the platform (approximately $3 billion), after which it would generate a healthy return.

In better news, NBCUniversal’s Universal Pictures and Illumination recently released The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which remains a high-grossing feather in the company cap. Illumination is also focused on the upcoming animated comedy Migration, while Universal Pictures subsidiary DreamWorks Animation recently revealed plans for a Shrek 5 film as well as a ‘Puss and Boots’-style spinoff for Donkey.  Time will tell how Shell’s ousting may affect NBCUniversal’s many divisions.

Laurén Alexa's picture

Cybersecurity specialist by day, investigative journalist by night.