NBCU confirms CEO’s exit after Summer Olympics

Steve Burke will move from CEO to chairman of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast. (Comcast)

After reports surfaced last week suggesting NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke was on his way out, parent company Comcast has now confirmed the leadership change.

The company announced Burke will retire on August 14, 2020, after the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Before that, on January 1, 2020, Burke will move over to the role of chairman of NBCUniversal, and Jeff Shell – who currently oversees the company’s film and network television businesses, including NBC Entertainment, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), Telemundo and NBCUniversal International – will take over as CEO of NBCU.

Shell will report to Burke until his retirement, at which point he will begin reporting to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

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

Burke is credited with sparking steady growth at NBCUniversal since the media giant was acquired by Comcast in 2011. Under his leadership, NBCUniversal increased its adjusted EBITDA from $3.4 billion to $8.6 billion since the Comcast acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011 through 2018.

He’s handing over the chief executive position as the company is getting ready to launch its ad-supported streaming service, Peacock, in April. The company is planning an investor day for mid-January to offer more details about the service.

Shell is taking over after years with Comcast and NBCUniversal. He previously served as chairman of NBCUniversal International and president of Comcast Programming Group.