NBCUniversal fires CEO following sexual harassment allegations 

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NBCUniversal Media fired CEO Jeff Shell after sexual harassment allegations were brought against him.

This decision came after an employee filed a complaint against Shell a month prior. The filing led Comcast Corp., NBCUniversal’s parent company, to initiate an investigation using an outside counsel.     

“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal,” Shell said in an April 23 press release. “I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret.”

Shell was employed by NBCUniversal for about 19 years, succeeding Steve Burke as CEO in January 2020. His main responsibilities revolved around the company’s streaming service Peacock, which launched under his leadership in April 2020. Shell also oversaw the production of NBC News and the Universal Destinations and Experiences, which were closed for a limited amount of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following Shell’s dismissal, the person who had filed the original complaint against him was revealed to be Hadley Gamble, a CNBC news anchor and international correspondent. On April 24, Gamble allowed her attorney Suzanne McKie to release a public statement on her behalf.

“The investigation into Mr. Shell arose from a complaint by my client of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination,” McKie said in a statement, as reported by The New York Times, adding that it was “very disappointing that my client’s name has been released and her privacy violated.”

Not much is known about the relationship between Shell and Gamble, but Gamble provided emails with her complaint.

As of May 2, Gamble is still employed at NBCUniversal, as her profile still remains on CNBC’s website.

Comcast temporarily placed its president, Mike Cavanagh, to oversee Shell’s duties. Cavanagh is also expected to share this position with Comcast CEO, Brian Roberts.

NBCUniversal said that it has not begun a search for a permanent successor to Shell as of May 2. 

These allegations against Shell come only three years after Ron Meyer was fired from his vice chair role for a similar case. Meyer had paid off a woman he was with in an extramarital affair.

During the incident, Shell gave a public statement where he said that Meyer “acted in a manner which we believe is not consistent with our company policies or values.” 

Similar to Meyer, Shell had also been married to his wife, Laura Fay Shell, at the time of the alleged relationship.

NBCUniversal fired Shell “with cause” and with no severance payments.

Although it is unclear whether Shell will file a lawsuit to get a severance payment, it is a possibility, considering that former CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves did when he was ousted in 2021.

While Moonves denied the allegations, Shell said in a press release that he was in “deep regret,”  adding, “I’m truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down.”