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Lazarus Out at Turner, Three Move Up

Jan 15, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Mark Lazarus, president of Turner Entertainment Group, is leaving the company as part of a reorganization.
Three senior Turner executives have been promoted to president of their divisions, reporting to Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting.
The three executives moving up are Steve Koonin, now president of Turner Entertainment Networks; David Levy, now president of Turner Broadcasting Sales, and Stuart Snyder, president and COO of Turner Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media.
Mr. Levy also remains president of Turner Sports.
Previously, those three executive reported to Mr. Lazarus, who may have represented an extra layer of management at a time when all media companies are continually tightening their belts.
In an interview, Mr. Lazarus said Turner Entertainment had an excellent year in 2007, exceeding its financial targets.
But the ratings of some Turner Networks, including TNT and Cartoon Network, were down last year. Time Warner also has a new boss, CEO Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner, who is no doubt looking for signs that his managers are controlling costs.
Mr. Lazarus said the new structure wasn’t the one he would have selected.
“I didn’t want to take a smaller role in this company,” he said.
Mr. Lazarus said he was excited about his future, with his experience in the sales, entertainment and sports phases of the business.
He said he hasn’t sought a new job yet, but people already are reaching out to him.
“That’s very gratifying,” Mr. Lazarus said.
In an internal memo, Mr. Kent said that he had been discussing the future structure of the company for some time.
“In the new structure that I have decided upon, there was not a role of scale that Mark was interested in,” Mr. Kent said. “There are a great many options available to someone with Mark’s accomplishments and reputation.”
On Mr. Lazarus’ watch TNT got into original programming, Turner added major sports properties, and expanded Adult Swim into a top network for young adult viewers.
“I feel a great sense of pride in what we have accomplished in my 18 years at Turner Broadcasting,” said Mr. Lazarus, who has been with Turner since 1990.
“Leading and managing a group of people and a portfolio of businesses, we have achieved innovative success in the sports, entertainment and kids arenas for both television and the digital market,” he said. “Having built long and enduring relationships throughout these industries, I look forward to my next challenge and opportunity.”
Mr. Kent said the new organizational structure will result in more collaboration among Turner’s operating units.
“These changes further empower three executives whose respective and collective businesses are critical components of our company,” said Mr. Kent in announcing the changes. “Steve, David and Stu are close colleagues whose individual leadership and professional collaboration have significantly increased the profile and value of Turner’s multi-platform media brands.”
(Editor: Baumann. Updated 10:05 a.m.)

One Comment

  1. What goes around comes around!

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