NBCUniversal’s C.E.O. Was Fired After Harassment Complaint

Jeff Shell, the NBCUniversal chief executive who stepped down from his role on Sunday, was fired from the company after an anchor at one of its news networks lodged a sexual harassment complaint against him, according to a lawyer for the anchor.

The lawyer, Suzanne McKie, said her client, Hadley Gamble, a senior international correspondent at CNBC, had produced messages to investigators at NBCUniversal that documented instances of harassment by Mr. Shell.

The details were confirmed by another person with knowledge of the investigation, who also said Mr. Shell was fired for cause and would not be receiving severance. The person requested anonymity to discuss a personnel matter.

Comcast, the owner of NBCUniversal, said Sunday that Mr. Shell was leaving the company after what it described as an investigation into a complaint about an inappropriate workplace relationship, without specifying details. Mr. Shell had led NBCUniversal since 2020.

A representative for Mr. Shell did not immediately comment on the sexual harassment claims. In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Shell said that he had “an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret.”

“The investigation into Mr. Shell arose from a complaint by my client of sexual harassment and sex discrimination,” Ms. McKie, Ms. Gamble’s lawyer, said in a statement on Monday.

Mr. Shell’s ouster from NBCUniversal was an abrupt reversal for the media chief, who had risen steadily through the ranks at the company for nearly two decades.

Earlier this year, CNBC decided it would not renew Ms. Gamble’s contract, which expires in 2023, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. Ms. Gamble lodged her complaint sometime after that, in late March, the people said.

Mr. Shell’s firing prompted a flurry of follow-up meetings at NBCUniversal’s headquarters Monday. Michael Cavanaugh, the Comcast president who was put in effective control of NBCUniversal, huddled with senior executives at the media division to discuss next steps after the weekend’s turbulent events.

In Mr. Cavanaugh, NBCUniversal gets a leader with vast experience overseeing large company divisions, but very little experience operating film and TV studios.

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