Kent Replacing Kellner at Turner Broadcasting
AOL Time Warner announced today that it is replacing Jamie Kellner, who headed its networks, with Philip I. Kent, a Turner Broadcasting System veteran, who rejoins Turner as its chairman/CEO. He will report to Jeffrey Bewkes, Chairman of AOL Time Warner's Entertainment & Networks Group. Jamie Kellner, who has led Turner for the past two years in Atlanta, will return to California and continue as chairman/CEO of The WB Network through the end of his employment agreement in the summer of 2004, according to the AOL Time Warner release. Kent, who left CNN in September 2001, is now in charge of the CNN News Group; Turner's entertainment networks, including TNT, TBS Superstation, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, Turner South and Boomerang; and Turner Sports, as well as the Turner Sports properties. He begins to work immediately with Kellner on a transition plan and then formally take over on March 10, 2003. As president of Turner Broadcasting Systems International, Kent shifted the international strategy of the Turner news and entertainment networks toward a more regional and local focus. As president of the CNN News Group, he was instrumental in the recruitment and retention of key on-air and executive talent. Bewkes said Kent "deserves much credit for making CNN and Cartoon Network such strong and profitable global brands. Dick Parsons and I are confident that Phil's leadership, vision and expertise make him the right person for this job and we extend our gratitude and deep respect to Jamie for his many accomplishments at Turner." AOL Time Warner reports that Kellner recently notified Bewkes of his desire to return home to California, rather than to extend his contract to work in Atlanta. Kellner will move back to Santa Barbara, California, with his family in the near future. "I'm at a time and place in my life and career where my family's desire to go back home to the West Coast and my desire for us to spend more time together makes this the right decision for us," said Kellner. In addition to his role as chairman/CEO of The WB, Kellner will continue to be the chairman/CEO of ACME Communications, The WB's third-largest station group. ACME Communications is not a part of AOL Time Warner. The WB Network will once again report to Warner Bros. chariman/CEO Barry Meyer. Kent also served as president of Turner Home Entertainment, the former Turner division comprised of the company's home video, new media, licensing and merchandising, feature distribution and book publishing operations. Before joining Turner in March 1993, he spent six years with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) as a packaging agent in that company's television department. Kent began his career at Blair Television, and in 1981, helped start Blair Entertainment, a major television and radio production and syndication company, overseeing production of a variety of live concerts, game and talk shows and daytime dramas. A number of top executives have left AOL Time Warner recently. Walter Isaacson resigned as chairman of the cable news unit last month. America Online co-founder Steve Case announced last month he would give up his position as chairman of the overall company. This was followed by Ted Turner announcing he would give up the vice chairmanship. These departures will take effect with the May shareholders' meeting.