Jeff Shell, the chief executive of NBCUniversal, is leaving the company after an investigation into an inappropriate workplace relationship by the company’s owner, Comcast. said in a statement on Sunday.
In that statement, Mr. Schell said Sunday was his last day and that he “had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company.”
“I regret letting my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down, they are very talented in the business and it has been a privilege to work with them for the past 19 years.”
At NBCUniversal, which he has been leading since 2020, Mr. Comcast’s terse statement did not say who would replace Shell.
But in a memo to employees Sunday, Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, said Mr. Shell’s senior team will report to Comcast’s chairman, Mike Kavanagh, and Mr. Cavanagh also said that NBC would effectively control Universal.
“We are disappointed to share this news with you,” said Mr. Roberts wrote. “We built this company on a culture of integrity. Nothing is more important than how we treat each other.
Mr. from NBC Universal. News of Shell’s departure sent ripples across New York and Hollywood, where he commanded Comcast’s vast entertainment empire. His departure comes at a pivotal time for Comcast, which is leading a tricky transition from traditional TV and cable businesses to a future anchored by streaming video, broadband Internet and wireless services.
Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, has gained some momentum in recent months, but remains small compared to its peers. Peacock has more than 20 million paid subscribers, more than Netflix (232 million) or Warner Bros. Significantly less than Discovery’s HBO Max and Discovery+ (96 million). Some major media companies’ streaming businesses are still losing money, and Peacock is no exception. It lost about $2.5 billion last year and is projected to lose another $3 billion this year.
NBCUniversal also owns several cable networks, including Bravo, E!, MSNBC and USA, which have faced declines in traditional TV viewership.
According to two people familiar with the timeline of the investigation, Mr. The investigation into Shell began in recent weeks. While the investigation continues, Mr. Shell continued her duties, making previously scheduled meetings with lawmakers in Washington and working on other matters. At the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington next Saturday, Mr. Schell had planned to attend with his wife.
The investigation, conducted by an outside law firm, was not widely known throughout Comcast until its conclusion, according to three people familiar with the matter. Mr. Roberts and Mr. Cavanagh said this weekend Mr. Calling executives working directly with Shell, Mr. Tell them Shell is leaving and inform them of the sudden leadership change.
While not the biggest movie studio in Hollywood, Universal Pictures is the most successful. Highlights for 2022 include “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Minions: Rise of the Crew.” “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” opened the year as the company’s highest-grossing animated film in its history, reaching $900 million in worldwide ticket sales after three weekends in theaters.
Other highly anticipated films coming out this year include the 10th iteration of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, along with Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated “Oppenheimer,” about the legendary nuclear physicist. The studio has also embarked on a flexible distribution strategy that uses a staggered release between big films between theaters and its streaming service, Peacock. Smaller titles like Jennifer Lopez-starrer “Marry Me” and last year’s horror film “Firestarter” have simultaneous theatrical and streaming debuts.
The company’s theme parks have also been a bright spot, with higher attendance and guest spending leading to record profits last year. The company plans to open theme parks in Las Vegas and Frisco, Texas in the next few years.
The company is set to report quarterly earnings this week, which will be closely scrutinized in a conference call.