It was announced separately today, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, that the presidents of two high profile cable networks are leaving.
In one article, Multichannel News reports that "Eric Kessler, president and COO of HBO, will leave the company, CEO Richard Plepler said in an internal memo Friday. ‘After careful consideration we have decided that the COO position does not best serve the most effective management process at HBO,’ said Plepler. Kessler had been with HBO for 27 years."
In another story, Multichannel News reports that "Emilio Romano has resigned as president of NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo Media, and NBCU intends to search for a replacement immediately, Multichannel News has learned. In an internal memo to NBCU and Telemundo employees, Joe Uva, NBCU’s chairman, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, wrote that ‘after a successful two years, Emilio Romano has decided to leave the company.’ "
These announcements come on the heels of the announcement earlier this week that Kim Martin is exiting as president of WE tv.
Kessler, who for years headed up HBO’s marketing efforts, is one of the most-respected, best-liked executive in the cable industry. Here, from the Multichannel article, is Plepler’s internal memo about Kessler’s departure from the company:
It is with mixed emotions that I announce that Eric Kessler will be leaving HBO. After careful consideration we have decided that the COO position does not best serve the most effective management process at HBO.
It is important to say that this in no way reflects on the extraordinary talents that Eric has so ably demonstrated in his 27 years at HBO. His accomplishments have helped shape the company throughout its modern history. Eric has been an uncommonly valued colleague and friend to all of us at HBO. While his many contributions could not adequately be reflected here, they are indeed numerous and lasting – in fact, we are currently completing one of our strongest years ever. Eric launched several iconic marketing and advertising campaigns – most notably the award winning "It’s Not TV. It’s HBO" – and his influence is visible on screen through HBO’s lauded on-air promotional efforts. Since 2007, Eric has overseen the distribution of the HBO and Cinemax networks in both domestic and international markets. In addition to the pay television channels, he oversaw the worldwide sale of HBO’s programming through licensing, DVD and digital distribution.
Eric was an early champion of our digital future – he was central in establishing our relationship with iTunes (Apple), driving the exploration of mobile experiences, and ultimately leading the development and worldwide launch of HBO GO. HBO GO is an essential innovation for HBO and without Eric and his team, it would not have emerged as what is widely regarded as television’s most elegant digital product.
Eric’s grace and professionalism are a tribute to his passion and commitment to HBO. He has agreed to work with us during a transition period to ensure continuity. During this period, Rob Roth, Otto Berkes, Shelley Brindle, Pam Levine and Simon Sutton will report to me.
Words are insufficient to express our gratitude, appreciation and respect for a beloved colleague. It is indisputable that he will immediately be inducted into the HBO Hall of Fame.
In its story about Telemundo president Emilio Romano leaving, Mutichannel continues, "According to the memo [from Joe Uva], NBCU will begin a search for his replacement ‘immediately,’ and until a new leader has been found, Uva says he will spend more time in Hialeah, Florida, which is where Telemundo Media is based and where Romano informed staff members today of his decision. The unit includes the Spanish-language broadcast network Telemundo, production studio, the cable network mun2 and digital properties.
"Romano, who was hired in October 2011, came to the Spanish-language media company after spending years in the media, aviation and Internet industries. In the 1990s he had also spent time in Grupo Televisa, where he was director of mergers and acquisitions and later vp of international operations.
"Uva said in his memo: ‘I want to personally thank Emilio for his contributions to Telemundo Media. His focus on positioning Telemundo to take share from Univision, and mun2 to better resonate with the rapidly growing millennial population has established a foundation for growth. As a result, he has been instrumental in elevating the perception of Telemundo in the marketplace. Most recently, he has been a good partner to me.’ "