Jeff Shell’s firing at NBCUniversal a ‘tough moment

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts admitted Thursday that the abrupt firing of NBCUniversal boss Jeff Shell over a sexual harassment complaint filed by CNBC anchor Hadley Gamble was a “tough moment” for the media giant.

NBCUniversal is in turmoil following last Sunday’s shocking announcement that Shell, 57, had been fired for cause.

Comcast said he was ousted after a company investigation “led by outside counsel into a complaint of inappropriate conduct.”

His dalliance with Gamble led the CNBC anchor to file a sexual harassment and sex discrimination lawsuit.

“Let me just acknowledge the news that you all saw earlier this week — obviously a tough moment,” Roberts said at the start of Comcast’s first-quarter earnings call. “But we are so fortunate to have a fabulous and tenured leadership team at NBCUniversal.”

“If you go down the list, you’ll see many of them have been leading their divisions within the company for at least 10 years and are truly the best in the business,” Roberts added.

Comcast stock was up nearly 8% Thursday after the company beat Wall Street estimates with reported earnings of $3.83 billion, or 91 cents per share, compared with $3.55 billion, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier. 

Roberts announced Comcast president Mike Cavanagh will serve as interim head of NBCUniversal following Shell’s exit.

Jeff Shell
Jeff Shell was fired last Sunday.

Roberts said the company was “lucky” to have Cavanagh to serve in the job and that he would play a key role in the company’s earnings calls going forward.

Cavanagh addressed his new responsibilities later in the call.

“While it’s unfortunate to have an unexpected change in leadership, I would tell you, there’s no reason for anyone to think that we’re going to be revisiting strategy as a result of that all by itself,” Cavanagh said.

Hadley Gamble
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts described Jeff Shell’s ouster as a “tough moment.”
Getty Images

“Job No. 1 for me is just to settle things down and make sure the businesses and the business leaders at NBCU remain focused on the jobs at hand. I don’t think the business is going to miss a beat,” he added.

Shell had worked at the company for nearly two decades and was tapped as NBCUniversal’s CEO in 2020.

“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.”

An attorney for Gamble — a longtime CNBC correspondent — confirmed that her client was behind the complaint that led to Shell’s dismissal.

Hadley Gamble
Hadley Gamble filed a formal complaint against Jeff Shell.
Hadley Gamble/Instagram

“The investigation into Mr. Shell arose from a complaint by my client of sexual harassment and sex discrimination,” attorney Suzanne McKie, a managing partner of the United Kingdom-based firm Farore Law, said in a statement obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

“Given these circumstances it is very disappointing that my client’s name has been released and her privacy violated,” McKie added.

As The Post reported, Gamble, whose relationship with Shell stretched for more than a decade until 2019, was also linked during the same period to David Bonderman, the billionaire chairman of private equity firm TPG.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
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