NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke is expected to leave his post next year at a crucial time for the media giant, according to news reports.
The exact timing of Burke’s departure is uncertain. His current contract runs out in August 2020, but he may leave earlier in the year, according to Variety, which first reported on the impending change.
Burke’s contract is slated to end after NBC’s coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which is expected to be a big moneymaker for the network. It will also follow the planned April launch of Peacock, NBC’s foray into the streaming-service market.
Burke’s most likely successor is Jeff Shell, the chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, multiple reports said. Burke reportedly gave Shell a larger portfolio when he reorganized NBCUniversal’s leadership in January.
An NBCUniversal spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning.
Burke became NBCUniversal’s chief executive in January 2011, when Comcast took over the company’s assets in a deal with General Electric, after serving as Comcast Corporation’s chief operating officer. He’s also on the board of directors for banking giant JPMorgan Chase and Warren Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.
NBCUniversal’s revenue has risen on Burke’s watch to nearly $35.9 billion in 2018, up from almost $31.4 billion in 2016, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Burke was paid about $39.9 million last year, filings show.
Reports of Burke’s departure came amid a controversy over sexual misconduct at NBC News, whose chairman Andy Lack has been accused of relentlessly pursuing relationships with underlings. The allegations came out in the book “Catch and Kill” by journalist Ronan Farrow, who has accused NBC of stymying his reporting on disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
NBC News is part of the NBCUniversal Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News arm.