Comcast said Monday that NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke will step down from that role on Jan. 1, replaced by NBC Film and Entertainment head Jeff Shell, and becoming chairman of NBCU until his retirement in August.
Burke, who has been at Comcast for more than 20 years, will officially step down on August 14, after the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. After that date, Shell will report directly to Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.
Variety first reported that Burke would retire and be replaced by Shell.
“I cannot thank Steve enough for the incredible impact he has had on this entire company,” Roberts said in a press release. “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. ”
Shell, who joined Comcast in 2005 from News Corp. (Now Fox Corp.), to lead the company’s Programming Group, has served in several roles at the company, most recently overseeing the company’s film and network television businesses including NBC Entertainment, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), Telemundo and NBCUniversal International. Prior to that, he served as Chairman of UFEG and led the film division to record profit crossing the $5 billion mark in global box office in both 2015 and 2017.
Since 2005, Shell has led several different Comcast units, serving as chairman of NBCUniversal International, where he managed International TV Distribution, Global Television Networks and International Television Production, as well as CNBC International, International Theatrical Marketing and Distribution, International Home Entertainment and International Theme Parks Operations.
“Jeff Shell is the ideal executive to take the helm at NBCUniversal,” Robert 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.”
Burke’s departure come as NBCU readies the launch of its streaming video service Peacock in April. Burke took the helm of NBCU after Comcast purchased a majority interest in the programmer in 2011, leading it through an unprecedented period of growth.
“This is a very special company and I am proud of the people I have worked with and the things we have accomplished together,” Burke said in a press release. “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.”