Executive Vice President, CFO
Jeff Shell recently sat across from Peter O’Malley, listening to the owner of the Dodgers reminisce about his years with the baseball team. For a lifelong Dodger fan like Shell, it was a very emotional experience. But the 32-year-old executive vice president of Fox/Liberty Networks was not there to celebrate Dodger history he was there to make it. Shell was helping hammer out the details of Rupert Murdoch’s offer to purchase the team.
Described as a dealmaker shrewd beyond his years, Shell has moved up quickly. In February, he was named the chief financial officer and executive vice president of Fox/Liberty Networks, the company that runs cable networks Fox Sports Net, FX, and Fit TV.
Shell joined Fox Television in 1994 as vice president of business development. During his tenure he has directed several acquisitions and other deals, including the 1995 creation of Fox/Liberty Networks, which is a joint venture of News Corp., Tele-Communications Inc. and Liberty Media.
In 1996, Shell was promoted to vice president of finance and development, directing the financial operations of the joint venture he helped build. He will continue with these duties under his new position.
Shell’s aggressive style makes him a fitting lieutenant for Murdoch. David Hill, chairman and chief executive of the Fox Networks, describes Shell as a man who will do anything necessary to make a deal.
“Jeff has a remarkably facile mind, has rational business judgement, thinks very entrepreneurially and always gets the big picture,” Hill said. “And no matter how tense the negotiating environment gets, he keeps his sense of humor. That’s remarkable in this business.”
Shell agrees that he’s found a good match in Fox. “Unlike different corporate environments,” he says, “I have the freedom to act quickly, be creative and not go through 10,000 people to get approval.”
Shell, who got his MBA in 1991 at the Harvard Business School and his undergraduate degrees in mathematics and economics from UC Berkeley, came to Fox Television from Walt Disney Co., where he worked on theme park development in the strategy and planning department.
While his foreseeable future is tied to Fox, Shell eventually wants to throw his hat into the political ring.
“At some point I’m gong to take a crack at politics,” he said. “But it is going to be in Los Angeles. I’m very much a native.”