MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath Resigns

It’s an end of an era at MTV – after what has been years of speculation, Viacom today announced that veteran Judy McGrath is resigning from her position as Chairman and CEO of its MTV Networks. McGrath, who had been at MTV almost from the beginning, starting as a copywriter at the music channel in 1981, and was named Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks in July 2004 by then-Viacom co-president and co-COO (and McGrath mentor) Tom Freston, to whom she reported. But after the abrupt firing of Freston in 2006, there was rampant speculation that she would leave too. She ultimately made peace with the new top management, but rumors about her leaving persisted. Three years ago, she was rumored to run Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, where Freston works as an adviser. And last year, NBCUniversal’s Lauren Zalaznick explored the possibility of taking McGrath’s position before re-upping with the newly merged Comcast-NBC Universal. There will be no replacement for McGrath as Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman reportedly wanted to have direct oversight of the company’s cable divisions. Following McGrath’s departure, Doug Herzog, President, MTVN Entertainment Group; Van Toffler, President, MTVN Music & Logo Group; and Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon & MTVN Kids & Family Group, who used to report to McGrath, will report directly to Dauman. Below are McGrath’s statement and Dauman’s memo on her exit: (more…)

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