Fates Roundup, Feb. 4, 2014

Nadella tapped as Microsoft CEO, Gail Berman leaves BermanBraun, and more

Below is a compilation of the latest executive moves in the industry.

Microsoft announced on Feb. 4 that Satya Nadella has been named CEO and a member of the company’s board. Nadella, who previously served as executive VP of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, succeeds Steve Ballmer, who announced his retirement in last August. It was also announced that Microsoft’s founder and first CEO Bill Gates will step down as board chairman and assume a mentoring-focused board role as found and technology advisor. John Thompson will become the board’s chairman and continue as an independent director on the board.

Coleman Breland has been promoted to president of Turner Network Sales, Turner Broadcasting’s distribution unit, the company announced on Feb. 4. Breland will continue to oversee all affiliate sales, marketing promotion, interactive television and new technology business development for the company’s 10 networks, and will also continue to report to Turner President David Levy. The company additionally upped two distribution executives who report to Breland. Richard Warren was elevated to executive VP of negotiations and strategy and associate general counsel, while Jennifer Mirgorod was upped to executive VP of brand distribution.

Sean Hancock has been tapped as VP of alternative programming for FremantleMedia North America, it was announced on Feb. 4. Hancock, who joins FremantleMedia from BBC Entertainment, will oversee unscripted entertainment at the studio, including reality competitions and game shows. He will report to Toby Gorman, executive VP of alternative programming. His appointment is effective April 28.

Jonathan Davis and Michael Thorn have been upped at 20th Century Fox Television, the studio announced on Feb. 4. Davis, who most recently served as senior VP of comedy development, has been named president of creative affairs, reporting to chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. Thorn, who previously worked as senior VP of drama development, has been appointed executive VP of development and will report to Davis. The moves are part of the studio’s restructuring of its creative-development unit.

Peter Tanner has joined Southpaw Technology to lead the development of product modules on the TACTIC platform. Tanner created the open-source DAM and TACTIC. Southpaw has also opened a new office in Los Angeles.

Al Roker Entertainment has tapped Lauren Burger as director of development, the company announced on Feb. 4. Burger, who previously served as manager of programming and development at the Game Show Network, will oversee the company’s current roster of programming, including development, research and the acquisition of new projects and talent. Roker Creative Media, a unit of ARE, has signed a deal with John West and Obsession Meida, LLC to pursue brands for creativity and messaging.

WNJU made two executive appointments on Feb. 3. The NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo station, which airs in the New York area, named Cristina Schwarz president and general manager and promoted Liliana Aristizabal to VP of sales. Schwarz previously served as VP and general manager of three New York area Univision stations, WXTV, WFUT and WFTY. Aristizabal most recently served as local sales manager WSCV Miami.

Ann Schick has been appointed VP of affiliate relations for AWE and One America News Network, announced parent company Herring Networks, Inc. on Jan. 3. Schick most recently served as director of consumer acquisition and marketing at Verizon. Prior to that, she was director of affiliate sales and marketing at Starz Encore Group.

NBC Connecticut / WVIT on Feb. 3 named Matt Piacente VP of news. Piacente will oversee the NBC-owned station’s news team. He previously served in various posts at NBC 5 / WMAQ in Chicago.

Mara Schiavocampo will join ABC news as a New York-based correspondent, ABC News President Ben Sherwood announced on Feb. 3 in a memo to the company’s news division. Schiavocampo previously served as an anchor on NBC’s Early Today and MSNBC’s First Look. The longtime reporter got her start at ABC News, working as a radio desk assistant in 2001.

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead on Feb. 2. He was 46. The actor, who won a best actor Oscar for his turn as Truman Capote in 2005’s Capote, died from what investigators believe to be a drug overdose. Hoffman was in post-production on the Showtime comedy Happyish and was filming the final installment of The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay - Part 2.

Rob Weisbord has been tapped to head Sinclair’s new digital business unit, the company announced on Jan. 31. Weisbord, who served as VP of new media at the broadcaster, will oversee all digital interactions at Sinclair, including web, mobile app, and social media creation. He will report to Sinclair President and CEO David Smith and Executive VP and CFO David Amy.

Revolt TV made a number of executive announcements on Jan. 31. The appointments include: James G. Brown, Jr. as senior VP of content distribution and marketing; Angela Bundrant Turner as VP of affiliate marketing; Kenny Burns as VP of marketing; and Angela Northington as VP of content licensing and acquisitions. Brown previously served as senior VP of content development at ESPN. Turner has held positions at TNT, Fox, UPN and Sony Pictures Television. Burns served as VP of Mariah Carey’s Monarch Music, VP of Roc-A-Fella Records, and designed a line of clothing for Saks Fifth Avenue. Northington worked at Codeblack Entertainment, Simmons Lathan Media Group, and Urban Entertainment.

Mark Tatum has been named deputy commissioner and COO of the NBA, it was announced on Jan. 30. Tatum will replace Adam Silver, who is taking over David Stern’s post as NBA commissioner. The NBA also upped three league executives. The promotions are: Bill Koenig as president of global media distribution, Sal LaRocca as president of global operations and merchandising, and Danny Meiseles as president and executive producer of content. All executive moves are effective Feb. 1.

Elli Hakami has been appointed executive VP of current series and programming at MTV, the network announced on Jan. 30. Hakami will manage the net’s East Coast reality series, reporting to Susanne Daniels, MTV programming president. She most recently served as senior VP of programming and production at BBC Worldwide Productions.

Ann Ellis has been tapped on Jan. 30 as group manager at Sinclair Broadcast Group, overseeing western market stations. Ellis previously served as VP of sales at Communications Corporation of America, which was acquired by Nexstar in 2013. She joins former CCA CEO Steve Pruett at Sinclair. Pruett serves as co-COO at the company.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) announced on Jan. 30 that he is retiring from his post at the end of his current term this fall. Waxman has spent 40 years in the House, and has served as the ranking member and former chairman of the House Energy & commerce Committee.

Myles Fuchs has been tapped as VP of North American sales at digital publishing developer Aquafadas, the company announced on Jan. 31. Fuchs has held executive sales roles at NewsStand.com (now RR Donnelley’s LibreDigital), CareerBuilder.com, RocketMail.com (now Yahoo! Mail) and Financial News Network (now CNBC).  

Justin Cole has been named director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Federal Trade Commission. Acting director Peter Kaplan will return to his role as deputy director. Cole previously served as the press secretary to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Howard Symons has been appointed vice chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force. Symons previously served as chair at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, representing cable and wireless communications companies and trade associations.

Gail Berman is exiting BermanBraun, the media company she founded with Lloyd Braun in 2007, she announced on Jan. 29. Berman, who served as co-owner and founding partner, did not reveal her next move. Braun is still with the company. Prior to BermanBraun, Berman served executive roles at Fox Broadcasting, Paramount Pictures and Regency Television.

Kathy Kelly-Brown has been tapped as senior VP of global talent booking at NBCUniversal, the company announced on Jan. 29. Kelly-Brown, who will report to NBCU Executive VP Adam Miller, will oversee the development of strategic, customized appearance opportunities across NBCU’s brands. She most recently worked as senior VP of corporate communications and media relations at the company.

Howard Kurtzman and Mark Pearson were promoted to president and executive VP, respectively, at 20th Century Fox Television. Kurtzman’s expanded responsibilities as president of business operations includes oversight of production units Fox 21 and Fox Television Studios in addition to continuing to oversee the company’s business and legal affairs. Pearson will serve as executive VP of brand management and digital media, managing brand management, strategy, marketing, research and music operations for the company, emphasizing on digital media.

Christian Sarabia has been upped to president of 51 Minds Entertainment, announced Cris Abrego, co-chairman and co-CEO of Endemol North America, on Jan. 29. Sarabia will helm the production company’s roster of original programming, development and new content. He replaces 51 Minds cofounder and managing director Mark Cronin, who is leaving to start Little Wooden Boat Productions. Cronin will stay involved with several projects at 51 Minds as executive producer. 51 Minds, which is a subsidiary of Endemol North America, has produced multiple unscripted series, including The WB’s/VH1’s The Surreal Life, VH1’s Flavor of Live and VH1’s Rock of Love.

Masahiro Sawa has been named president of Leader Instruments Corporation, it was announced on Jan. 29. Sawa, who joined the company 20 years ago from Japan-based parent company Leader Electronics, succeeds George Gonos.

Yevgen Khovanskyi has been tapped as sales director for the Russian Federation at Ross Video, the company announced on Jan. 29. Khovanskyi comes to Ross Video from Riedel Communications where he served various roles, ultimately working as sales director for Russia.

Scott Barash said on Jan. 29 that he is leaving his post as acting CEO of the Universal Service Administrative Company, the nonprofit corporation the runs the Universal Service Fund. Barash, who joined USAC in 1999 as general counsel, is heading to the University of the District of Columbia as general counsel. Richard Belden, the current USAC COO, will serve as interim CEO.

Pete Koat joins Incognito Software as chief technology officer, the company announced on Jan. 29. Koat, who cofounded Skitter.TV, will oversee the strategic agenda for Incognito Software’s product line.

Crown Media Family Networks upped two executives on Jan. 29. Darren Melameth was promoted to senior VP of program planning and acquisitions, while Randy Pope was elevated to senior VP of programming and development. The company also announced the appointment of Laurie Ferneau as director of programming, scripted series. Ferneau previously served as director of development and current programming at Prospect Park Television. She will report to Pope. Both Melameth and Pope will report will continue to report to Michelle Vicary, executive VP of programming and network publicity.