NBC Universal Chief Executive Steve Burke is expected to step down next year, 2020. He is likely to be succeeded by Universal film-and-entertainment boss Jeff Shell. Shell will become CEO on Jan. 1, at which point Burke will become chairman of the company until he retires in August 2020.
Burke, who is also a Senior Vice president of NBCUniversal has been planning his exit for some time after a two-decade run at the cable and entertainment giant.
As NBCUniversal chief, a position he has held since Comcast acquired control of the company in 2011, Burke oversees a sprawling operation that includes the NBC broadcast network, the Universal studio and theme parks, cable channels such as MSNBC, USA Network and Bravo and Spanish-language network Telemundo.
Burke’s primary intent during his remaining time at NBCUniversal will oversee next April’s launch of Peacock, the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, and coverage of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the people familiar with the matter said. Peacock will be a relatively late entrant in a field that includes juggernauts Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ and Hulu, as well as Amazon.com Inc. and others.
Two sources familiar with Burke’s decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to comment publicly said he made the decision to leave and that Shell’s appointment was part of a succession plan that has been in motion since January, when Shell’s role was expanded to add NBC Entertainment, Telemundo and the company’s international division.