Jeff Shell NBC Universal CEO forced to resign after revelations of inappropriate love relationship with CNBC anchor, Hadley Gamble.
When there is more drama behind the scenes rather in front of the scenes… NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell has been asked to resign after the head honcho admitting to ‘an inappropriate relationship’ with a CNBC anchor at the media giant.
The alleged affair was exposed during an investigation by an outside counsel after a complaint against him, according to sources close to parent company, Comcast said.
‘Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal,’ Shell said in a statement Sunday. ‘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,’ the statement said. ‘They are the most talented people in the business and the opportunity to work with them the last 10 years has been a privilege.’
Not immediately clear is what instigated the complaint against the executive and what abuse of power at the media outlet may have occurred.
ATTENTION: Monday’s Countdown podcast will be delayed by TOO MUCH SCHADENFREUDE after the breaking news of the firing of a “friend” who misled me for 2 years, EX NBC Chairman Jeff Shell for reportedly having an affair with a CNBC anchor 🤦🏼♂️
It’ll be up about 1 AM EDT
So to SPEAK pic.twitter.com/7tjmcC4CO3
— Keith Olbermann↙️ (@KeithOlbermann) April 24, 2023
Sex decoy/sex appeal?
The woman Shell had an affair with was identified by Deadline.com as anchor and Senior International Correspondent Hadley Gamble. The outlet said the pair started a relationship 11 years ago and continued sporadically for years.
Shell, who is married, has been with the company for a total of two decades.
He ran the media giant’s entertainment wing and left with Comcast’s Peacock streaming service struggling to keep up with competitors, The Wall Street Journal said.
Peacock clocked more than 20 million new subscribers in the fourth quarter but still lost nearly $1 billion, the WSJ reported.
Comcast did not reveal details of Shell’s relationship with the staffer, nor identify her role in the company.
Gamble previously made news when she was accused by Russian state media of acting like a ‘sexual object’ to distract Russian President Vladimir Putin with state outlets even suggesting she was part of a US ‘special operation.’
The allegations came after she interviewed Putin at a Russian Energy Week panel in Moscow in October 2021. Vladimir Soloviev told his state radio show back then Gamble distracted Putin with her ‘sex appeal’ while Russian official, Dmitry Kiselyov accused the veteran journalist of having ‘behaved boldly, openly positioning herself as a sexual object,’ according to a translation from a 2021 Daily Beast report.
Money before sex please
Before taking over as CEO in January 2020, Shell served as chairman of NBC Universal’s Film and Entertainment, where he was charged with creating content and overseeing programming at various operations.
That included film and network businesses, such as the company’s Spanish-language Telemundo network.
In May 2020, Shell cut senior management salaries by 20% and rolled back pay for employees making more than $100,000 a year by 3% to stave off financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shell rose to the top job at NBC Universal after former CEO Steve Burke resigned in December 2019.
Under Burke, revenue rose to nearly $35.9 billion in 2018, up from almost $31.4 billion in 2016, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
The imbroglio comes days ahead of Comcast reporting its first quarter results on Thursday, including a conference call with Wall Street analysts. It’s also shaking out weeks before the TV industry’s annual upfront ad sales season, which could raise eyebrows and questions from advertisers.
Latest executive casualty in new politically correct environment
NBC Universal is one of the largest media companies in the world, encompassing film and television studios, theme parks, NBC News and cable television networks. It is not yet known who Shell’s successor will be.
Mike Cavanagh, Comcast’s president, will take over Shell’s duties until a replacement is named, with NBC Universal’s TV and streaming head, Mark Lazarus, and theatrical operations boss Donna Langley, reporting directly to Cavanagh during the transition.
Shell joins other senior executives who have lost their jobs in recent years following allegations of inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment. Shell’s abrupt ouster is another sign that the standards for corporate office behavior have changed over the past six years since the #MeToo reckoning began.
In 2019, Warner Bros Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara resigned. He is said to have inappropriately helped an actress get roles at the studio.
NBC Universal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer, was also forced to resign after revealing that he was being threatened with extortion by a former love interest.
Last year, CNN President Jeff Zucker suddenly quit after admitting a relationship with another executive at the news network — which came to light during a probe into former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
And former CBS boss Les Moonves resigned in 2018 after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct were made public.