NBCUniversal’s Chief Executive has left the company after news emerged of an “inappropriate relationship” with a female employee.
Jeff Shell issued a statement to the workforce that read: “Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret.”
He went on: “I am 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.”
The statement did not elaborate on the nature of the relationship or what constituted ‘inappropriate’ conduct. However, CNN reports that the NBC employee involved in the relationship had filed a complaint against Shell.
Shell, who had been CEO since 2020 and worked with Comcast (NBC Universal’s parent company) for about two decades, quit with immediate effect.
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Comcast had not named a successor at the time of publication, nor had the firm responded to multiple news outlets' requests for comment. However, the firm’s President Mike Cavanagh issued a company-wide email in the wake of the news, telling employees: "When our principles and policies are violated, we will always move quickly to take appropriate action, as we have done here."
As reported by Reuters, Shell joins other high-profile executives who have lost their jobs in recent years over accusations of improper conduct or sexual harassment.
Most recently, the Confederation of British Industry’s director-general, Tony Danker, was ousted following complaints into his behaviour towards CBI employees.
The news prompted several more women to come forward with similar accusations levelled at senior leaders within the CBI, including claims of attempted sexual assaults, explicit images being sent to young female staff and even a report of rape.
Following his dismissal, Danker said he was "truly sorry" that he had "unintentionally made a number of colleagues feel uncomfortable” but added: "I was nevertheless shocked to learn this morning that I had been dismissed from the CBI, instead of being invited to put my position forward as was originally confirmed. Many of the allegations against me have been distorted.”
In 2019, Warner Bros Chairman and Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara resigned as one of Hollywood's most powerful studios investigated a report that he improperly helped an actress obtain roles at the studio.
And in 2018, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook was sacked after having a consensual relationship with one of his employees.