In Depth

Charles Kennedy Named EVP, Research and Insights, and Liz Mahaffey Appointed to EVP, Brand Strategy, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group

Press release from NBCUniversal:

NEW YORK -- August 8, 2013 -- Charles Kennedy has been named Executive Vice President, Research and Insights, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group. Kennedy joins from ABC Television Network where he served as Senior Vice President of Research. Also announced today is the appointment of Liz Mahaffey to Executive Vice President, Brand Strategy, where she’ll oversee strategic planning initiatives across the portfolio of networks. The announcements were made by NBCU Cable Entertainment Chairman Bonnie Hammer to whom they both will report.

“Charles is at the top of his field, a talented executive with a deep knowledge of the business,” said Hammer. “His keen insights, opinions and feedback are invaluable assets to our future growth.”

Kennedy will be charged with oversight of primary, programming, ad sales and digital research for the cable entertainment portfolio. He will lead the overall business of interpreting and adapting consumer intelligence and marketplace trends for the division.

Kennedy previously lead all of ABC’s research activities, including analysis and forecast, brand and program primary research as well as support for the sales, marketing, syndication and affiliate strategies. He focused on cross-platform consumer initiatives by studying the emotional drivers of audience behavior.

Prior to joining ABC, Kennedy was senior vice president at DYG, a research firm specializing in social trends. He consulted Fortune 500 companies on product development, marketing and emerging trends. His media clients included Meredith Communications, National Geographic, Saatchi & Saatchi, NBC, Fox and ABC. He also worked with high-profile companies such as Mercedes, Toyota, Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate and JC Penney. Earlier in his career Kennedy spent more than a dozen years at Fox Broadcasting, where he advanced from manager of Research to vice president, Program Research. Kennedy is a graduate of Mary Washington College and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Future Studies from the University of Houston.

Mahaffey will be focused on the strategic positioning of the brands across the cable entertainment group, partnering with the channel leaders on long term planning and major strategic initiatives.

“Liz is one of the best big picture thinkers in the business,” said Hammer. “She will play a pivotal role in making the whole of this portfolio greater than the sum of its parts.”

Mahaffey has served as executive vice president since 2011 where she had oversight of all research initiatives at the networks, which included USA, Syfy, E!, G4, Sleuth, Chiller and UniHD. Mahaffey was previously Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning for USA, Syfy and Emerging Networks, in which capacity she oversaw brand strategy and consumer intelligence initiatives. Prior to that, she was Senior Vice President of Programming Research for USA. She came to USA from Comedy Central, where she was Vice President of Programming Research and before that held programming research roles at MTV. She is a graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business.

The NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group is one of the industry’s most successful media entities, made up of 12 leading cable networks, including USA, Bravo, Syfy, E!, Oxygen, Style, Esquire Network, Sprout, TV One, Chiller, Cloo and Universal HD, as well as production entities Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios.