Steve Burke is expected to step down as CEO of NBCUniversal next year and is likely to hand the reins to Jeff Shell, who is now chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, multiple sources tell Variety.
Burke’s NBC contract formally expires in August 2020, but sources say he could depart earlier in the year. Shell, who is now based in Los Angeles, will split his time between New York and the West Coast should he assume the CEO post, according to people familiar with his plans.
In January, Burke enacted a dramatic shakeup of NBCUni leadership that placed Shell in prime position to succeed him, industry insiders noted at the time.
In the shakeup, Shell gained oversight of NBC Entertainment, Telemundo and NBCUni’s international operations, in addition to overseeing the Universal Studios outfit. Shell’s colleague Mark Lazarus was also upped to chairman of NBCUniversal broadcast, cable, sports and news in January.
Lazarus has largely been viewed as another potential successor for Burke, however, as speculation about Burke’s future has increased internally over the past few weeks. Insiders say they’re confident that Shell is the heir apparent. Burke, who has elected to leave , is working on formalizing his exit plans. No deals are yet in place for Burke or a successor, another insider added.
An NBCUniversal spokesman declined to comment on the matter.
More to come.
(Pictured: Steve Burke and Jeff Shell)
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