Hadley Gamble, a CNBC anchor and international correspondent, accused former NBCUniversal chief executive Jeff Shell of sexual harassment and sex discrimination in a complaint to the media company, her lawyer told NBC News on Monday.
Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, announced Sunday that Shell was exiting "effective immediately" after an outside legal counsel investigation into "inappropriate conduct." NBC News and CNBC are both units of NBCUniversal.
The corporation did not specify how Shell had violated company policy. In a separate statement, Shell said that he had had an "inappropriate relationship with a woman at the company."
Gamble's claims appear to go further than that characterization. In a statement, Gamble's lawyer, Suzanne McKie, said "the investigation into Mr. Shell arose from a complaint by my client of sexual harassment and sex discrimination."
"Given these circumstances," McKie added, "it is very disappointing that my client’s name has been released and her privacy violated." (Gamble's name was first reported by the entertainment news website Deadline.)
Comcast did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on the apparent discrepancy in the language used by Shell and Gamble's lawyer.
In a Securities and Exchange Commission document filed on Monday, Comcast wrote: "Following a complaint that Jeffrey Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, engaged in inappropriate conduct with a female employee, including allegations of sexual harassment, Comcast Corporation (the “Company”) retained outside counsel to investigate the allegations. During the investigation, evidence was uncovered that corroborated the allegations. As a consequence, on April 23, 2023, the Company terminated Mr. Shell’s employment With Cause under his employment agreement, effective immediately."
Gamble covers energy, geopolitics and financial markets, according to a profile on CNBC's website. She is the anchor of CNBC's "Capital Connection," a show that broadcasts daily from the network's Middle East headquarters in the United Arab Emirates.
Shell did not immediately reply to an email requesting comment on McKie's statement. In the statement he released Sunday, Shell apologized for his conduct and said: "I'm truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down."
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell out after ‘inappropriate relationship’April 24, 202300:56
Shell was named as successor to former NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke in late 2019 and formally stepped into the role in January 2020. He was previously the chairman of the company’s film and entertainment unit.
He oversaw a sprawling portfolio of media assets that includes the Universal Pictures film studio, the Peacock streaming service and cable channels such as Bravo, E! and the USA Network.
Shell's tenure as CEO was defined in large part by the pandemic. Universal theme parks and movie theaters shut down just months after he took over, upending the leisure industry and entertainment business.