Jeff Shell was forced out as CEO of NBCUniversal after an internal investigation into his relationship with Hadley Gamble, an overseas correspondent for CNBC, two sources confirmed to Variety on Monday.
In a securities filing on Monday, Comcast said that the company received a complaint of “inappropriate conduct,” including sexual harassment. During the investigation, “evidence was uncovered that corroborated the allegations,” leading to Shell’s termination “with cause.”
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Gamble is based in Abu Dhabi, where she anchors the “Capital Connection” broadcast. She has worked for the network since 2010. Her previous jobs included stints at CNN in Abu Dhabi and at ABC News and Fox News in Washington.
In a statement, Gamble’s attorney said that Gamble had lodged a complaint against Shell for sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
“The investigation into Mr. Shell arose from a complaint by my client of sexual harassment and sex discrimination. Given these circumstances it is very disappointing that my client’s name has been released and her privacy violated,” said attorney Suzanne McKie of Farore Law.
Shell apologized Sunday for having had an “inappropriate relationship” with an unnamed company employee. Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, and Shell announced in a joint statement that he would be stepping down immediately, following the results of an internal investigation.
“Following a complaint that Jeffrey Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, engaged in inappropriate conduct with a female employee, including allegations of sexual harassment, Comcast Corporation (the “Company”) retained outside counsel to investigate the allegations,” the company said in the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “During the investigation, evidence was uncovered that corroborated the allegations. As a consequence, on April 23, 2023, the Company terminated Mr. Shell’s employment With Cause under his employment agreement, effective immediately.”
Deadline was first to identify Gamble as the employee on Sunday.
Shell is married and resides in Beverly Hills.
A spokesperson for Shell declined to comment.
Gamble continues to report for CNBC. Last week, she interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In October 2021, she interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin at an energy forum in Moscow, and asked him about his succession plans, cryptocurrency, and the wellbeing of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny.
Shell has been with Comcast since 2004, and was named CEO of NBCUniversal in 2020. He was previously chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, overseeing Universal Pictures.
Shell’s team will now report directly to Comcast President Mike Cavanagh. No interim CEO of NBCUniversal was named.
In August 2020, Shell was involved in the ouster of Ron Meyer, the vice chairman of NBCUniversal, over a brief affair that led to an alleged extortion plot. In a statement released at the time, Shell said that Meyer had informed the company “that he had acted in a manner which we believe is not consistent with our company policies or values.”
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