It’s an absolute shocker of a news item to drop when the CEO of one of the largest media companies in the world suddenly announces they’ve leaving their company. That’s exactly what happened on April 23rd, 2023. NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell announced his immediate departure, following what was termed an “inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company.”
Shell’s comment on the matter was all of two sentences long, and amounted to stating the reason for his departure and his apologies and gratitude to the NBCUniversal parent company, Comcast. For the time being, Comcast president Mike Cavanagh will step in to help handle operations. Prior to this, Shell had been in the position of CEO since the very start of 2020.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Comcast, Brian L. Roberts released a memo addressing his disappointment in what happened and reaffirming the company’s “culture of integrity.” He went on to add that “You should count on your leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace.” On a separate but related issue he mentions that the company itself is “performing extremely well” and projected enthusiasm for their prospects moving into the future.
This isn’t the first time a major CEO of a media corporation has been removed following allegations of inappropriate conduct. Roger Ailes, the former chairman and CEO of Fox News resigned in 2016 following numerous allegations of sexual harassment. Meanwhile, in 2018, Les Moonves, the CEO and Chairman of the CBS Corporation also resigned following numerous allegations of sexual harassment and assault. While all that’s been stated so far in regards to Shell is his “inappropriate relationship,” it’s safe to say that when you’re the CEO of one of the largest media companies in the world, any relationship you have with a fellow employee could be inappropriate given the power structure and influence.