The chief executive of NBCUniversal has left the US entertainment giant after admitting to an “inappropriate relationship” with a colleague at a parent company, Comcast announced on Sunday.
“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal,” Jeff Shell wrote in a statement, acknowledging his relationship with “a woman at the company.”
“I am truly sorry to have to let my colleagues at Comcast and NBCUniversal down, they are some of the most talented people in the business.”
Comcast said in a statement that it had made a “mutual decision” with Shell to resign “effective immediately” and “following a company investigation led by outside counsel into a complaint of inappropriate conduct.”
NBCUniversal has a broad portfolio of television news and entertainment networks, a movie studio, theme parks and a premium streaming service.
Shell, 57, has been with the New York conglomerate for just under two decades, and has been CEO since January 2020.
During his career at Universal Films, Shell oversaw some of the studio’s biggest franchises, such as Fast & Furious and Jurassic World.
Comcast did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment on Sunday.
The website of financial news channel CNBC, which is part of NBCUniversal, cited unnamed sources as saying that the complaint against Shell was “filed by the woman with whom Shell shared an ‘inappropriate relationship’.”
Shell is the second top executive to leave the company in three years for misconduct, as Hollywood continues to clamp down on unchecked misconduct by its moguls.
In 2020, the company’s vice president, Ron Meyer, left the company after admitting to having an affair and paying the woman a settlement.
Comcast will report its first quarter results on Thursday morning. Analysts will be watching closely for its streaming platform, which has struggled to compete with rivals Peacock, Netflix and Disney+.
Entertainment giants are under increasing pressure to maintain subscriber growth for their streaming services.
Disney announced the layoffs of 7,000 workers in February after the famous company founded by Walt Disney saw its first drop in subscribers.
For its part, arch-rival Netflix said last week that its number of subscribers reached a record 232.5 million in the first quarter of the year, and it posted a quarterly profit of $1.3 billion.