The coronavirus is quickly making its way across the United States — and even Hollywood’s elite aren’t immune to the pandemic.
Jeff Shell, the newly appointed CEO of NBCUniversal, revealed in a memo to network staff that he has tested positive for COVID-19, Variety reported Thursday.
Working through the crisis
According to Variety, Shell is now self-quarantining in light of his diagnosis. In his memo to staff Thursday, the 54-year-old said he’d “been feeling under the weather” before announcing that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Although the virus has been tough to cope with, I have managed to work remotely in LA and am improving every day,” Shell wrote, according to Reuters.
Other NBCUniversal employees were asked to work from home starting last week, Variety reported, as the coronavirus outbreak became more widespread in the United States. Shell explained in his memo that this move will help mitigate further spread of the disease.
“Taking care of each other means working from home,” he wrote to NBCUniversal employees, according to Variety. “In the event you contract the virus, it will limit the number of your colleagues you inadvertently expose. As some of you now know, I myself am in this category.”
Shell went on to note that one staffer at NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, has already died from the disease.
“Last week we learned Larry Edgeworth, a beloved audio technician at NBC News, passed away, and our hearts go out to his family, friends and co-workers,” Shell wrote. He also praised employees across the network’s array of channels who he said are working hard to ensure that broadcasting continues without interruption, “despite the circumstances,” Variety reported.
Big plans ahead
According to Reuters, Shell was “previously chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment,” but “took over the CEO spot in January, replacing Steve Burke.” Though he’s only been in the role a short time, however, Shell was optimistic about the company’s future.
“While the short term is challenging, what comes after looks incredibly bright,” Shell wrote, according to Variety. “Our parent company Comcast is strong and is doing a great job keeping a large part of this country connected. And when we think ahead to 2021, we have a lot to look forward to. The virus will pass, our world will return to normal, and when it does, we will be poised to have one of the busiest and most exciting years in our company’s history.”
The company is also committing over $150 million to “help our employees and other workers, and to at least partially bridge the period before normal operations can restart,” Shell said, according to Variety.
“In the meantime,” Shell concluded, “please continue to take care of yourselves. I recognize how challenging these times are for everyone — both professionally and personally — and appreciate all that you do for this company.”