HBO Promotes Richard Plepler CEO as Bill Nelson Retires

hbo.news-article.jpg

HBO CEO Bill Nelson announced on Thursday he would retire and Richard Plepler would take his place as chief executive

HBO CEO Bill Nelson announced on Thursday he would retire and Richard Plepler would take his place as chief executive at the end of the year.

Under the new management structure, Eric Kessler (left) will serve as President and COO and Michael Lombardo (below right) will serve as President, Programming.

Until Thursday's announcement, Plepler (at right, above, with Nelson) had been co-president with Kessler. He is a long-time trusted deputy of Time-Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes who has led the premium cable network to a strong financial and creative position since the departure of Chris Albrecht in 2007. 

The team that was promoted on Thursday is one of the most stable business and creative teams in the industry, which has maintained the cable channel's cultural relevance in the face of rising cable challengers like AMC, Showtime and the BBC.

HBO has approximately 30 million subscribers and produces some of the most ambitious and talked-about shows on television, including "Boardwalk Empire," "Game of Thrones," "Girls" and "True Blood."

The cable network is expected to clean up at the Emmys on Sunday, as has become a near-annual ritual.

“Bill and I have worked together for many, many years and though I’m sad to see him leave,
I respect his decision to enjoy retirement," said Jeff Bewkes, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc. "He is a world-class CEO and leaves the company well-positioned for the future."

He added, "Richard and Eric are twenty-plus year veterans of the company who, as Co-
Presidents, helped HBO re-establish its pre-eminence over the past five years, and Mike
Lombardo has done an exceptional job in developing the best slate in HBO’s history.”

A company executive explained that although Lombardo's title has not changed, he will take on added responsibility because of Plepler's promotion. Kessler has traditionally been responsible for affiliate sales, marketing and international channels.

Said Nelson: "I feel very comfortable in taking this step now because I know HBO will continue
in its tradition of innovation and acclaimed programming and retain its superior position in our
industry in the hands of Richard, Eric, Mike and the entire team.”

 

Here is the news release:

Bill Nelson, CEO of Home Box Office, Inc., announced
today he will step down as CEO of HBO at the end of the year. Under Nelson’s tenure, HBO has
enjoyed record revenues and profits; experienced a resurgence in its original programming, most recently earning 81 Emmy nominations, including the most “outstanding series” nominations in the network’s history; launched its acclaimed and popular authenticated streaming service HBO GO; and expanded its international businesses, resulting more than 100 million subscribers worldwide. Under the new management structure, Eric Kessler will serve as President and COO and Michael Lombardo will serve as President, Programming, and both will report to Richard Plepler, who will become CEO.

“Bill and I have worked together for many, many years and though I’m sad to see him leave,
I respect his decision to enjoy retirement. He is a world-class CEO and leaves the company
well-positioned for the future,” said Jeff Bewkes, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc.
“The company will not miss a step with the new team, which has the combination of talent
and experience to drive HBO to new heights of creative excellence, innovation, and financial
performance. Richard and Eric are twenty-plus year veterans of the company who, as Co-
Presidents, helped HBO re-establish its pre-eminence over the past five years, and Mike
Lombardo has done an exceptional job in developing the best slate in HBO’s history.”

“HBO has been my home for almost 30 years so this decision was an emotional one,” said
Nelson. “With my elevation to CEO more than five years ago, we set an ambitious agenda for
HBO, and I’m proud to say that I feel the company has never been in better shape financially or
creatively. I feel very comfortable in taking this step now because I know HBO will continue
in its tradition of innovation and acclaimed programming and retain its superior position in our
industry in the hands of Richard, Eric, Mike and the entire team.”