After nearly a decade at The WB, Jed Petrick resigned last week from his position as president and chief operating officer.
Mr. Petrick, a senior executive at the network since its founding in 1994, guided the sales team through six upfronts during which The WB received the largest cost-per-thousand increases of any network. He also ironed out an agreement with affiliates giving the network the right to program an “Easy View” block on Sunday evenings before prime time and negotiated the acquisition of “Pokemon,” which turned Kids’ WB into the top children’s network.
Mr. Petrick, who had two years left on his contract, said he started thinking about leaving the network last summer because he missed working at a start-up company. “I’m a builder,” he said. “I love start-ups. I’ve had a lot of things come across my desk during my time at the network, but [last summer] they just started to intrigue me a little bit about what’s out there next. I couldn’t do anything because I was contractually obligated to the company. The more I thought about it, it just kind of dawned on me that it was time for me to move on.”
The move comes four months after The WB announced a restructuring plan to replace outgoing Chairman and CEO Jamie Kellner. WB Entertainment President Jordan Levin was upped to CEO, and Garth Ancier, who recently returned to the network, was named chairman. Mr. Petrick’s title remained the same, but the restructuring meant he now reported to Mr. Levin.
Not getting the top job at The WB isn’t the reason he decided to leave, Mr. Petrick said.
“The management change didn’t come as a real surprise to me,” he said. “[Last spring] I told [Garth] that I thought he was going to be the guy running the company and I’d be happy to work for him because I loved The WB and I really like what I do. I had a great role in the company. The three of us were set up to run it. I was hoping that would re-energize me a little bit and take my mind away from the little wanderlust itch I was developing.”
However, the itch continued, and Mr. Petrick asked Mr. Levin right before the holidays to be released from his contract.
“Jed Petrick has made as big a contribution to The WB as any executive we have ever had,” Mr. Levin said. “Without his vision, business acumen and stellar relationships, we would not be where we are today. When he approached me right before the holidays to tell me of his desire to pursue new challenges, I was surprised and disappointed, but we didn’t want to stand in his way. He was my partner for the past three years and I will miss him greatly.”
Mr. Petrick will stay with the network through April and after that pursue other business opportunities, whether that will be signing to run a new start-up company or starting his own business. While he enjoys working in television, Mr. Petrick said he’s not limiting himself to television.
“I’ve spent 15 years helping advertisers maximize their ad budgets,” he said. “Without having a specific plan for you, I would be surprised if that wasn’t in some fashion a big part of what I wanted to do.”
Mr. Petrick will not be replaced at The WB. Most of his duties, including oversight of advertising sales, Kids’ WB and standards and practices, now will go to Mr. Levin. Mr. Ancier picks up oversight of the network’s distribution systems, including affiliate relations and The WB 100+ Station Group.