People/Biz

NBCUniversal confirms CEO Steve Burke will leave post after Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Comcast has confirmed that NBCUniversal’s Steve Burke will formally retire from his post as CEO on Aug. 14, 2020 following the summer Olympics in Tokyo. As revealed in reports last week, ...
December 16, 2019

Comcast has confirmed that NBCUniversal’s Steve Burke will formally retire from his post as CEO on Aug. 14, 2020 following the summer Olympics in Tokyo.

As revealed in reports last week, Burke (pictured left) will officially be replaced by Jeff Shell (right), NBCUniversal’s head of film and network television operations. Shell will become CEO on Jan. 1 and reports directly into Burke, who will move to the role of chairman of NBCUniversal until his August retirement.

Upon Burke’s retirement, Shell will report directly to Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast.

“I cannot thank Steve enough for the incredible impact he has had on this entire company,” said Roberts 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.”

Burke, who has been with Comcast since 1998, has served as head of NBCUniversal since Comcast’s acquisition of the New York-based media company in 2011. The role oversees a variety of NBC’s broadcast and cable networks, including USA Network, Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen, E! and Spanish-language network Telemundo, as well as reality studio Wilshire Studios.

Prior to NBCUniversal, Burke served as chief operating officer of Comcast, following 11 years as president of the company’s cable division. Before that, he held several leadership roles at The Walt Disney Company, including as president of ABC Broadcasting, and president and COO of Euro Disney S.A.

Burke currently serves on the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

“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,” added Burke. “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.”

Shell, meanwhile, currently oversees NBCU’s film and network television businesses, including NBC Entertainment, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), Telemundo and NBCUniversal International. He was previously chairman of UFEG.

Prior to that, Shell served as chairman of NBCUniversal International where he was responsible for all aspects of the company’s international businesses, including international TV distribution, global television networks and international television production.

Before NBCU, Shell was president of Comcast Programming Group and was tasked with managing Comcast’s national and regional television networks, including E! Entertainment Network, the Golf Channel, international channel networks and Comcast Sports Group.

“Jeff Shell is the ideal executive to take the helm at NBCUniversal. He has a stellar track record across both the film and TV side of the business, as well as a wealth of international experience,” Roberts continued. “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.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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