Ron Meyer, a veteran NBCUniversal executive and one of Hollywood’s top power players, is leaving the company after disclosing that he was under an extortion threat because of a private settlement he reached with a woman after they had an extramarital affair.
NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell informed employees of Meyer's departure on Tuesday in an email.
"Late last week Ron Meyer informed NBCUniversal that he had acted in a manner which we believe is not consistent with our company policies or values," Shell wrote.
"Based on Ron’s disclosure of these actions, we have mutually concluded that Ron should leave the company, effective immediately," Shell continued. "We thank Ron for his 25 years of service, and for his significant contributions to NBCUniversal."
NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News.
In his own statement, Meyer, the vice chairman of NBCUniversal and one of its highest-ranking executives, said that he "recently disclosed to my family and the company that I made a settlement, under threat, with a woman outside the company who had made false accusations against me. Admittedly, this is a woman I had a very brief and consensual affair with many years ago."
"I made this disclosure because other parties learned of the settlement and have continuously attempted to extort me into paying them money or else they intended to falsely implicate NBCUniversal, which had nothing to do with this matter, and to publish false allegations about me," Meyer wrote.
"After I disclosed this matter to the company, we mutually decided that I should step down from my role as Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal."
Meyer, 75, got his start in Hollywood as a talent agent and went on to co-found Creative Artists Agency in 1975, where he would help guide the careers of A-list actors like Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep.
Meyer joined NBCUniversal 20 years later as president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, a position he would hold until 2013, when he was promoted to vice chairman of NBCUniversal. At Universal Studios, he produced several major hits, including “Erin Brockovich,” “Gladiator,” “The Fast and the Furious” and “Despicable Me.”
“Ron is an extremely well-liked guy across the business,” said one veteran Hollywood executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern for business relationships. “He’s also untouchable, a survivor of every corporate ownership change going back two decades. He was the consummate entertainer, with Friday night screenings at his home and July 4th parties. Beloved by his staff. One of the Hollywood 'good guys.'"
Shell did not say if he would announce a new vice chairman.