Viacom announced Thursday that Judy McGrath is resigning
from her position as chairman and CEO of its MTV Networks division.
The company said a successor would not be named. Van Toffler, Doug Herzog and
Cyma Zarghami, who head Viacom's major cable network groups, will all report
directly to Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman.
"The people of MTV Networks have always been singularly
important to me," said McGrath in a statement. "Together we have built
world-class brands that connect with fans from kid to adulthood, from SpongeBob
to Hot In Cleveland, from Unplugged to The Daily Show.
We have attracted and nurtured the best talent in the world, and I know
that will always be a hallmark of the company. Creatively, financially,
all the brands and businesses are in wonderful shape today. I leave with
pride, joy and gratitude for the ride of a lifetime. I especially thank my
friends and colleagues on the senior team, who will continue to lead a kick-ass
organization. They have my respect and affection, always."
McGrath has been with MTV since the year of its launch in
1981, starting as a copywriter and rising through the ranks. She was named CEO
in 2004, reporting to her mentor, MTV co-founder Tom Freston, before he was
fired as Viacom co-president and co-COO in 2006.
She is leaving MTV as the company's flagship channel as
it is enjoying resurgence in ratings thanks to the success of reality shows
like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom.
"Judy has long been the creative heart and inspiring soul of
MTV Networks and has deservedly been associated with so much of the great
entertainment, cultural relevance, social significance and business success
that have defined our media networks over the years," said Dauman in a
statement. "Her positive and passionate spirit has helped create an
organization that is recognized for truly listening to its audiences, not only
about their entertainment choices, but also about the social issues and the
causes that matter to them most. We will all miss Judy enormously, but we
respect her decision and understand her desire to leave at the very top of the
game with a legacy of success that stretches from the earliest days of cable
television to current season highlights."
The Viacom statement did not give a reason for McGrath's
departure or suggest her future plans.