57 year old Mr. Shell’s shock departure marks an about-face for Comcast after nearly two decades in the ascendancy. Mr. Shell rose steadily through the ranks of the cable-turned-media-behemoth, becoming chief executive of NBCUniversal in 2020.
Before becoming a top executive, Mr. Shell has held several senior positions in the media division. In 2013, he was tapped to lead Universal Film Studios, which Comcast recently acquired in a megadeal with GE, succeeding longtime Universal executive Ron Mayer, who left the company in 2020. Extort money related to past extramarital affair.
Mr. Kavanagh, at 57, Mr. Roberts has returned to a close confidant whose stock in Comcast has risen steadily since joining the company in 2015. Last year, Mr. Kavanagh was named chairman of Comcast — the third person to hold that position. In the history of the company – and Mr. Roberts is widely seen internally as a potential internal candidate to succeed him as chief executive.
Before his sudden departure on Sunday, Mr. Shell’s status was at times uncertain. Last year, Comcast discussed merging NBCUniversal with Electronic Arts, a deal that could lead to a new role for Mr. Schell at Comcast, according to two people familiar with the talks. Ultimately, that deal never materialized, and Mr. Shell continued as head of the media division.
Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, has gained some momentum in recent months, but remains small compared to its peers. Peacock has more than 20 million paid subscribers, more than Netflix (232 million) or Warner Bros. Significantly less than Discovery’s HBO Max and Discovery+ (96 million). Some major media companies’ streaming businesses are still losing money, and Peacock is no exception. It lost about $2.5 billion last year and is projected to lose another $3 billion this year.