In a lively morning of executive shuffles, AMC Networks said Sean Sullivan, chief financial officer, will be jumping to SiriusXM in mid-October, as the satellite broadcaster announced that its CEO Jim Meyer and its CFO David Frear are both stepping down.
AMC Networks said it will appoint an interim CFO or successor prior to Sullivan’s departure.
SiriusXM said Meyer will retire on December 31 and Jennifer Witz, president, Sales, Marketing and Operations, will take the reins as chief executive.
One of Meyer’s major tasks in recent months has been negotiating to keep star host Howard Stern in the house as his contract expires at year end. At a conference last week, Meyer said he’s “optimistic” about striking a new deal with Stern, whose renewal has been a focus of Wall Street and the press for months as the deadline approaches.
“I am personally deeply engaged in conversations with Howard’s team. I am very optimistic about those conversations. We continue to make progress,” Meyer said then.
But that was before Meyer’s surprise retirement. Stern has said recently that Meyer was the best boss he’s ever had. So it’s not clear if or how the executive’s exit will play into the negotiations.
CFO Frear “will be pursuing other opportunities, effective immediately,” SiriusXM said.
Witz, who has been with the company for two decades, “brings the thorough understanding of our business from every angle,” said Greg Maffei, the chairman of SiriusXM board. “She has played a key role in significantly growing SiriusXM’s subscriber base. Jennifer will lead the company’s strong executive team as it continues building out its platforms and executes on its growth strategies.”
Maffei praised Meyer for growing the company into “a diversified audio entertainment provider that is poised to reach more than 150 million people, the largest addressable digital audio audience in North America. We are a better company for his stewardship. We look forward to continuing to work with him on the Board and to build on SiriusXM’s strong momentum.”
Sullivan joined AMC Networks in 2010, prior to it becoming a separate public company the following year. In addition to his financial responsibilities, which include accounting, tax, financial planning, treasury and investor relations, he has overseen the company’s broadcast, information technology, media management and business intelligence functions.
AMC CEO Josh Sapan called Sullivan a “superb CFO” and “a critical member of the executive team and a valued business partner to me. Sean has played a key role in helping to diversify our business and maintain a strong financial profile, and the shows we’ve developed that have delighted fans were made possible in no small part by his financial planning and involvement.”
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