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NBCUniversal Unveils Steve Burke’s Retirement Date, Jeff Shell’s Succession Timing

Outgoing CEO will bid farewell following Summer Olympics — but the new guy won’t wait for August

NBCUniversal has announced CEO Steve Burke’s retirement and successor Jeff Shell’s takeover date.

Burke will depart on Aug. 14, 2020, following the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the company said on Monday. However, Shell will become CEO of NBCU eight months earlier, on Jan. 1, 2020, which is when Burke will switch his title to chairman.

In that interim period, Shell will report to Burke. When Burke steps down in mid August, Shell will begin reporting directly to Brian L. Roberts, the chairman and CEO of NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast.

“I cannot thank Steve enough for the incredible impact he has had on this entire company,” Brian Roberts, Comcast chairman and CEO, said Monday in a statement. “I will miss Steve’s trusted partnership, and I know I speak for both myself and my late father Ralph when I say that we will be forever grateful to him for shaping first Comcast and then NBCUniversal into the great companies they are today. When Comcast acquired NBCUniversal in 2011, I never imagined it would become the fastest growing media company. Steve’s leadership and the team that he built has had everything to do with this outstanding performance.”

Burke was chief operating officer of Comcast before its big NBCU acquisition. A few jobs before that, he was president of ABC.

“Jeff Shell is the ideal executive to take the helm at NBCUniversal,” Roberts continued. “He has a stellar track record across both the film and TV side of the business, as well as a wealth of international experience. I have worked closely with Jeff for many years and he is an extraordinary leader who inspires loyalty, delivers strong results and cares deeply about our company, its employees and partners. I could not be more confident in his ability to lead NBCUniversal into the future.”

“It has been a privilege to work so closely with Brian for the last 22 years, and particularly to have had the opportunity to lead NBCUniversal for the last nine,” Burke said. “This is a very special company and I am proud of the people I have worked with and the things we have accomplished together. While this has been a dream job, it has always been my plan to hand off the baton at the right moment and move on to the next chapter of my life where I can pursue a different set of interests. It is great to know I am leaving the company in terrific hands with Jeff, who is the right leader to usher in the next phase of growth and success for NBCUniversal.”

“It is truly an honor to step into this role, and I am excited that Brian and the Comcast board are giving me the incredible opportunity to help steer the future of NBCUniversal,” Shell said. “I’m sincerely grateful to Steve, who has been an amazing boss and mentor for the last 15 years and leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of visionary leadership and success. I look forward to building on this strong track record and partnering with the many talented leaders across the company.”

Shell currently oversees the company’s film and network television businesses including NBC Entertainment, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), Telemundo and NBCUniversal International.