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Phil Kent To Step Down as CEO Of Turner Broadcasting, John Martin To Assume Top Role

Phil Kent, John Martin

Breaking: The chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting, Phil Kent, will step down from the CEO role when his contract ends next year, he announced in a memo to staff today.

Time Warner CFO John Martin will take over as CEO of the unit on January 1, 2014, with Kent staying on as chairman for a transition period. Time Warner owns Turner Broadcasting, a unit that includes the CNN networks, TBS, TNT, Turner Sports, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

“A dozen years is a long run in a top leadership position, particularly in such a dynamic and fast-changing industry as ours,” Kent wrote in a memo to staff today, obtained by TVNewser. “I’m very proud of Turner’s business results over the past decade. But I’m equally proud of the culture that we have built together to foster creativity, collaboration and risk-taking in the pursuit of excellence.”

Martin, like Kent, will report to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.

“John is one of the most capable and strategically-minded executives I know,” Bewkes said in a statement. “As CFO, he led the design and implementation of our financial strategy that has helped Time Warner deliver superior shareholder returns. But he is also a broad and thoughtful business thinker whose inclusive management style and focus on driving the business forward will fit well with the Turner tradition. I have great confidence he will build on the success Phil has achieved to take Turner to even greater heights.”

More below, including Kent’s letter to staff.

Kent’s memo:

Dear Colleagues;

I wanted you to hear directly from me of a decision I’ve made, in the course of many conversations with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, that concerns long-term leadership planning for Turner Broadcasting. With Jeff’s concurrence and support, I do not plan to enter into another employment agreement with the company after my present contract ends next year.

A dozen years is a long run in a top leadership position, particularly in such a dynamic and fast-changing industry as ours. I’m very proud of Turner’s business results over the past decade. But I’m equally proud of the culture that we have built together to foster creativity, collaboration and risk-taking in the pursuit of excellence. I’m also proud of our great management team—those with me from the beginning and those who have joined more recently.

I’ve told Jeff and John Martin that they have my full and enthusiastic support, and that I’ll do whatever I can to assist when John assumes the title of CEO next January, and I remain chairman. Nothing changes for me or any of you until then. I’ll come in tomorrow and be on the job with the same enthusiasm as today, just as I know you will. So let’s all keep doing the great work we do every day at and for Turner Broadcasting.

Phil Kent

Bewkes memo:

To: Time Warner Colleagues

From: Jeff Bewkes

Subject: Phil Kent and John Martin

For the past decade, much of Time Warner’s success has come from the efforts of Phil Kent, who has ably led Turner Broadcasting as its Chairman and CEO. He has guided the company through a period of rapid change with an unwavering focus on both driving the business forward and making sure that Turner remains a place that nurtures and rewards talent. With his contract expiring in 2014, Phil recently began discussing with me his decision to not extend his service to Turner beyond then. As a result of those conversations, he and I have agreed that now is the right time to announce the transition to the next generation of leadership at Turner. Both Phil and I are delighted to let you know that John Martin will become Turner’s next CEO beginning on January 1.

As so many of you have come to appreciate, John possesses many of the qualities of a great leader. He has one of the sharpest financial and analytical minds I have seen, is a broad and strategic business thinker, is both a great listener and communicator, and has boundless energy. John is currently Time Warner’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer. He has spent more than a decade at Time Warner in a variety of positions, and spent three years as CFO of Time Warner Cable, before becoming CFO at Time Warner Inc. in 2008. Two years later he added the role of Chief Administrative Officer, and has played a driving role in a variety of organizational, development and diversity issues. As CFO, he led the design and implementation of our financial strategy that has helped Time Warner deliver superior shareholder returns. More broadly, John has been a great partner not just to me and the executive team at Time Warner, but to all of our divisions’ senior management as we have successfully repositioned our company as the world’s leading storytelling company. John’s successor as Time Warner’s CFO will be announced in the coming weeks.

Phil will serve as Turner’s Chairman beginning in 2014. Until then, he will continue to lead the company in his current capacity as Chairman and CEO. Please join me in acknowledging his many accomplishments and great legacy as Turner’s CEO, and in congratulating John on his well-deserved appointment.

Official announcement:

Time Warner Inc. Announces Changes to Turner Broadcasting Leadership

Phil Kent to serve as Chairman in 2014; John Martin named next Chief Executive Officer

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Time Warner Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes today announced that John K. Martin will be the next Chief Executive Officer of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Mr. Martin will become CEO beginning January 1, 2014, succeeding Phil Kent, who will serve as Chairman for a transition period in 2014.

“John has a thorough understanding of and respect for Turner’s position and significance in the Time Warner portfolio. He is highly regarded at Turner and will be a strong leader for our company.”

In making the announcement Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said: “Phil Kent’s exceptional leadership at Turner has driven much of Time Warner’s recent success. For the past decade, he has expertly guided the Turner networks through a period of rapid change, all the while building on each network’s leading position with viewers and advertisers and forging stronger relationships with distributors. At Phil’s initiation, he and I agreed that now is the right time to announce the next generation of leadership, and I am pleased that he will serve as Chairman.”

Commenting on John Martin, Mr. Bewkes said: “John is one of the most capable and strategically-minded executives I know. As CFO, he led the design and implementation of our financial strategy that has helped Time Warner deliver superior shareholder returns. But he is also a broad and thoughtful business thinker whose inclusive management style and focus on driving the business forward will fit well with the Turner tradition. I have great confidence he will build on the success Phil has achieved to take Turner to even greater heights.”

Since the beginning of 2003, Mr. Kent has led Turner’s delivery of outstanding business results, has guided its continuing evolution as a multi-platform media and technology leader and has formed a first-class team to oversee some of the most valued and respected brands in the world. He will continue in his current capacity as Chairman and CEO until the CEO transition in 2014, at which time he will serve as Turner’s Chairman.

Mr. Kent said: “John has a thorough understanding of and respect for Turner’s position and significance in the Time Warner portfolio. He is highly regarded at Turner and will be a strong leader for our company.”

As Chief Financial and Administrative Officer at Time Warner Inc., Mr. Martin currently oversees all of Time Warner’s finance, accounting, mergers and acquisitions, internal audit, investor relations, treasury and tax areas as well as corporate human resources, employee development and growth, compensation and benefits, worldwide recruitment, and security and transportation. Mr. Martin is also responsible for leading efforts to launch enterprise-wide services in the areas of information technology, real estate and facilities and HR systems. In addition, he works closely with other members of Time Warner’s senior management team and its operating divisions on a variety of organizational, development and diversity issues. Before assuming his current role in 2008, Mr. Martin had been Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Time Warner Cable Inc. since August 2005. Prior to joining Time Warner Cable, Mr. Martin spent nearly 12 years at Time Warner, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Investor Relations, from 2002 to 2005.

Mr. Martin said: “I’m the beneficiary of Phil’s exemplary leadership, and it will be a privilege to work with Phil and all the dedicated and talented people at Turner. The company is home to some of the best brands in media, and is known for its innovative culture and focus on delivering programming that audiences love and count on. I look forward to working more closely with everyone at Turner to create more opportunities for consumers, advertisers and our distribution partners.”

Time Warner plans to name John Martin’s successor in the coming weeks.

About Time Warner Inc.

Time Warner Inc., a global leader in media and entertainment with businesses in television networks, film and TV entertainment and publishing, uses its industry-leading operating scale and brands to create, package and deliver high-quality content worldwide through multiple distribution outlets.

About Turner Broadcasting

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

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