MTV Networks President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Wolf said he is leaving after 15 months in the job, becoming the latest senior Viacom Inc. executive to leave the company in recent months. A former consultant who led the media practices at both McKinsey & Co. and Booz Allen Hamilton before joining Viacom in 2005, Wolf said he decided to leave because he had accomplished everything he set out to do at the cable network operator.
Wolf's goals reportedly included getting canned by an axe-happy Viacom, which is apparently picking out balls with its employees names on it at this point. Full "everything's fine" e-mail from MTVN Chair Judy McGrath after the jump.
From: Office of Judy McGrath
Sent: Thu 1/11/2007 8:51 PM
Subject: Important News
As we enter a new year, I wanted to let you know about some significant changes at the top of our company.
Michael Wolf, our President and Chief Operating Officer, has decided to leave the company. Michael joined us in late 2005, bringing aboard his acute understanding of the media landscape, his deep relationships with the dealmakers and influencers in our industry, and his passion for the behind-the-scenes strategy of creating and distributing content. Michael and I accomplished everything we set out to do together, restructuring our Ad Sales and Affiliate Sales and Marketing teams for the multiplatform world by bringing in digital sales expertise and expanding the reach of our distribution strategy to include VOD, wireless, and internet partners.
Along the way, Michael helped put us on track to achieve our strategic goals, having completed a strong and actionable long-range plan, and introduced us to some of the best and brightest new minds in our company, including Colette Chestnut, our CFO; Nada Stirratt, our head of Digital Ad Sales; and Adam Cahan, our EVP of Business Strategy and Development. Michael has made a real impact on our company, and it is with the utmost respect and gratitude that we support his decision to leave, and wish him all the very best of luck in his next venture.
Also leaving the company is our longtime colleague and champion Nicole Browning, President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing. Over the 25-year history of this company, few have made the mark that Nicole has in establishing and building the distribution for all of our channels, across the map. For 21 years, she has masterfully and strategically led our Affiliate Sales and Marketing team, delivering tremendous results financially and operationally, and expanding the reach of our brands across platforms. She is a tireless advocate for MTV Networks and our people, a strategic innovator, and a model of leadership and integrity for employees everywhere. Although I will personally miss her terribly, I know that her contributions will live on at this company for years to come. I know she will bring the same energy, business savvy, and commitment to her next chapter, and we all wish her all the best.
In addition, Peter Low, Executive Vice President, Cable TV Distribution and Affiliate Marketing, will be leaving MTVN. For years, Peter has been among our most shrewd and talented dealmakers. He is a great strategic thinker, and he's helped lead the organization as we grow our distribution across platforms. We will miss his influence and his contributions, and we wish him well.
I've asked Rich Eigendorff, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, MTVN Music, Logo and Films Group and former Chief Financial Officer of MTVN, to take on additional responsibilities and to partner with me for a short transition period. His firsthand, intimate knowledge of every part of our business makes him the best person to help me lead the company and make sure we don't miss a beat. Our Ad Sales, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Business and Strategy Development, Business and Legal Affairs, and Finance units will report to me and to Rich.
Our culture here is incredibly rich and diverse, but it is equally tight and close-knit. I know the departures of these close friends and colleagues aren't easy for anyone, but I respect their decisions. Our company will continue to evolve and grow in this new era of great change and opportunity in media. MTV Networks content and culture continue to be relevant around the globe, and each of you is a great contributor to our success.
Please join me in thanking Michael, Nicole, and Peter for their hard work, and wishing them the very best of luck for success in the future.