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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell steps down after investigation into inappropriate conduct

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell steps down after investigation into inappropriate conduct

Jeff Shell, the CEO of NBCUniversal, is leaving the company “effective immediately” after an investigation into “inappropriate conduct,” the media company’s owner, Comcast, announced Sunday.

Comcast did not specify in a statement how Shell violated company policy. Shell said in a statement that he had “an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company.”

As CEO, Shell oversaw a sprawling portfolio of entertainment and news assets that includes the Universal Pictures film studio, NBC News and MSNBC, the cable channels Bravo and E! and other well-known brands.

In a joint statement sent to Comcast and NBCUniversal employees, Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts and Comcast President Mike Cavanagh said they were “disappointed to share this news with you.”

“We built this company on a culture of integrity,” Roberts and Cavanagh said. “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.”

Jeff Shell in Los Angeles in 2019.Rob Latour / Variety via Getty Images file

Comcast said the investigation was led by outside legal counsel.

In his statement, Shell said Sunday was his last day as CEO and apologized for his conduct.

“I’m truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down,” Shell said.

Shell was named as successor to former NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke in late 2019 and formally stepped into the role in January 2020. He was previously the chairman of the company’s film and entertainment unit.

Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of NBC News.

The news comes at a key time for NBCUniversal, which is trying to grow the audience for its Peacock streaming service as ratings for traditional television channels continue to decline. Universal Pictures recently released the year’s highest-grossing film, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” but the future of American movie theaters remains uncertain.

Shell previously worked at Fox Corp., where he was a television executive, according to his company profile.

Ali Gostanian contributed.

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