NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer Exits After Revealing Affair, Extortion Attempt

Behavior was 'not consistent with our company policies or values,' said CEO

ron meyer
"I am sorry for all the people in my life I may have let down," said Ron Meyer. Getty Images
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There’s yet another huge exec exit at NBCUniversal, but this time it’s not because of new CEO Jeff Shell’s ongoing reorganization of the company.

Vice chairman Ron Meyer has resigned, after revealing that “other parties” had “attempted to extort” him as a result of an “affair” several years earlier, and threatened to “falsely implicate” the company, he said in a statement to staff.

Shell shared the “unfortunate news” in a staff memo today, writing, “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. Based on Ron’s disclosure of these actions, we have mutually concluded that Ron should leave the company, effective immediately. We thank Ron for his 25 years of service, and for his significant contributions to NBCUniversal.”

Meyer elaborated on the exit in his own statement to employees:

“I 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. 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 was promoted to vice chair in 2013, after serving as president and COO of Universal Studios since 1995.

“I’ve spent 25 years helping to grow and support an incredible company in a job I love. It is the people at this company that I will miss the most. I regret what has happened and I am sorry for all the people in my life I may have let down, especially and most importantly, my family,” said Meyer.

His exit continues a major exodus at NBCU as Shell reshapes the company. Earlier this month, NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy departed as part of a new NBCU TV and streaming reorganization that created three horizontally integrated units, all of them reporting to Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal television and streaming.

Lazarus was promoted in May as part of a separate NBCU reorganization that saw the departure of embattled NBC News Group president Andy Lack.

Meyer becomes the latest exec to depart the company in the wake of allegations about their behavior.

Telegdy’s exit came less than a week after an explosive Hollywood Reporter story in which more than 30 producers, executives and other current and former NBC insiders alleged that Telegdy presided over a toxic environment, frequently violating workplace conduct norms. NBCUniversal said it would investigate the allegations, while Telegdy told the outlet, “The nature of these allegations flies in the face of everything I stand for.”

Meanwhile, Lack left NBC News after weathering several major controversies in recent years, including the workplace culture that led to the November 2017 firing of Today anchor Matt Lauer for what Lack called “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”

Shell has been overhauling the company since taking over as NBCUniversal CEO in January, succeeding Steve Burke, who transitioned to chairman and will leave NBCU this month.

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.