EXCLUSIVE: Two high-level Nickelodeon executives, EVP’s Bronwen O’Keefe and Lee Ann Chmielewski-Larsen, have been quietly let go from the Viacom network group, I have learned. Both are Nickelodeon veterans: O’Keefe had been with the company for 20 years; Chmielewski-Larsen had been with Nick for 27 years.
O’Keefe was most recently EVP, Live Action and Movies, Nickelodeon Group, a position she was promoted to in January 2018. Chmielewski-Larsen was most recently EVP of Production, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group, a post she held for the past two years. A rep for Nickelodeon said that the company does not comment on personnel issues.
I hear the departures happened a few weeks ago, before Brian Robbins was named President of Nickelodeon Group earlier this week. They are believed to be part of the continued restructuring at Nickelodeon as well as the entire Viacom cable group that has been ongoing since new Viacom CEO Bob Bakish announced his reorganization plans in Feb. 2017.
The process has involved the departures of a slew of veteran top Viacom executive from the company’s previous regime, including Cyma Zarghami, who stepped down as president of Nickelodeon Group after more than 30 years with the network, and of Debra Lee, who exited as chairman and CEO of BET Networks after three decades this past summer.
While, as part of the reorganization, Viacom also has implemented a series of rounds of layoffs, eliminating hundreds of jobs across the compony as a cost-cutting measure, I have not heard that O’Keefe and Chmielewski-Larsen’s exits were part of a major new wave of layoffs but it’s unclear whether they were isolated.