Jeff Shell takes over day-to-day operations at Universal

jeffshell.jpgSurprising news out of Hollywood - Shell was most recently chairman of NBCUniversal International, but he's not well-known among the studio crowd (old-timers might recall his work for the Fox sports channels in the 1990s). He has been named chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, while Ron Meyer, who had been running the film and theme park operations for 18 years - an eternity for that kind of role - will become vice-chairman of NBCUniversal, which of course is all part of the Comcast empire. The short stick goes to Adam Fogelson, who has been Universal Pictures chairman for four years and is leaving the company. Shell, who had been based in London, purchased a home locally several months ago, signalling that he was on tap for some sort of switch. Replacing Meyer, however, doesn't seem to have been on many radar screens. From the NYT:

Mr. Shell has most recently served as chairman of NBCUniversal International, where he helped manage overseas film marketing and distribution but has largely focused on television. He previously ran Comcast's cable networks. By choosing one of its own executives to succeed Mr. Meyer -- rather than promote from within Universal -- Comcast would be signaling that the studio is now firmly nested inside a corporate structure that cares as much about funneling content to cable and video-on-demand services as it does about theatrical hits. Comcast has made multiple changes on the television side of NBCUniversal, but has largely left alone the film and theme park unit, leading to speculation about its future.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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