Petrick Departure Spurs WB Shuffle
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/11/2004 7:00:00 PM
With Jed Petrick stepping down as president and chief operating officer of The WB in April and Jamie Kellner retiring from the network he founded at the end of May, Co-CEO Jordan Levin suddenly has the network practically to himself.
The WB doesn't plan to replace Petrick, who had advertising sales, distribution, Kids' WB!, The WB 100+, standards and practices, and research all reporting to him.
Instead, WB Co-Chairman Garth Ancier will oversee network distribution and The WB 100+, while Levin takes over sales, standards and practices, research, and Kids' WB! Ancier and Levin will drop the "co" titles at the end of this broadcast season.
Petrick's departure adds four new direct reports to Levin's roster of charges: Bill Morningstar, The WB executive vice president, sales; John Hardman, Kids' WB! senior vice president, programming; Mary Hall, senior vice president, research; and Rich Mater, senior vice president, broadcast standards. Ken Werner, executive vice president, network distribution, and Russ Myerson, executive vice president and general manager of The WB 100+, will report to Ancier.
"The reason the new structure works is because you have really solid people in place under Jed," Kellner says. "The WB philosophy on management always has been to give people autonomy in operating their areas. If it's not working, you watch it carefully and then make a change."
Kellner also says that, when he decided to retire, he gave Levin the big job because "it was my instinct that Jed could do all the other jobs but he didn't have the creative background. So I felt more comfortable going with Jordan, who did have the creative background. Jordan has upside growth potential. He's always been able to figure out how to complete any assignment he's been given."
With all his new responsibilities, Levin, 36, still must handle his most important task—creating hit shows with considerable buzz—if The WB is going to grow and thrive. His new duties could divide his attention too much, making it likely that The WB will eventually bring in a president of programming to take some of the pressure off Levin.
"It's personally hard to see people go," Levin says, "but Jed's legacy is one of very strong department heads underneath him who are each capable and confident of being able to run their own departments."
Petrick says he's departing because he's more of a start-up guy, looking for enterprises to create and develop, rather than someone who wants to hang around established businesses.
"I've been with the company for a little over nine years, and it just felt like it was time to look for what's next," he says. "I've spent most of my career at new businesses. I really like it and think I've had some success in it. About six months ago, new opportunities started coming across my desk, and the idea of doing something new bit me."
Petrick has been at The WB since 1994, when Kellner brought him on as head of media sales. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer in January 2001.
From 1988 to 1992, he worked for Kellner in sales at Fox, helping the team of Kellner, Ancier and Barry Diller start up the network.
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