Published On: Fri, Jan 24th, 2014

Jeff Shell Appoints Rowan Conn to Become CFO at Universal Studios

Shell, who only took up the role  of CEO at Universal in the autumn of last year, has already begun to make some major changes in personnel.

When Jeff  Shell was handed the keys to Universal Studios by owners Comcast in September he was expected to “change some things”, both in artistic direction as well as  in personnel. And the changes were not long in coming.

One of the first major moves that Shell has made is to appoint Rowan Conn as his new chief financial officer. Shell is well aware of Conn’s  capabilities as they were colleagues for a spell,  working together in  NBC Universal’s London office, where Jeff Shell  was based while heading up the studio’s international operations.

Conn will be replacing Sean Gamble who was Universal Pictures’ Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the last five years. Gamble will be staying on for a few months to allow the incoming CFO to settle into his new post.

Jeff Shell graduated  with Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics and Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley,  later going on to  gain his MBA from Harvard University.

Shell began his professional career  with Gemstar TV Guide International, rising to the rank of CEO before leaving them to join News Corporation, where he held a number of positions  eventually rising to become  President of the FOX Cable Networks Group.

After leaving Fox, Shell served as President of Comcast Programming Group from 2005 to 2011, where he managed Comcast’s interests and investments in its national and regional television networks.    Under the Shell’s leadership, Comcast’s networks grew dramatically in distribution, viewership and profitability during his six year tenure before joining NBC Universal International, where he worked from  from 2011-2013 .he was moved upstairs to become Chairman of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group in September of 2013.

The previous month the U.S. Senate appointed Shell to become Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and independent federal agency responsible for  overseeing all of the  civilian international media in the United States.


Rowan Conn will be taking up the position as CFO from Sean Gamble, company after serving for more than five years at Universal Pictures both as executive vice president and CFO. Gamble  will be leaving the company in the spring, after Shell asked him to remain in his post to allow Conn sufficient time to settle into his new role.

Conn spent the last nine years working with NBC Universal International, was the last few years in working his way up the role of CFO., starting as VP of finance for Universal Pictures International,  where was particularly involved  in helping to smooth Universal’s potentially painful separation from its joint venture with Paramount pictures (United International Pictures- UIP).

Prior to joining Universal Pictures International, Rowan gained considerable experience over the previous 10 years in the media industry, including considerable spent time working with both Sony and NewsCorp.

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