Chris Albrecht to Step Down as Starz CEO

COO Jeffrey Hirsch will take over next month

PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 08: Chris Albrecht, CEO, Starz, speaks onstage during the Starz portion of This is Cable 2016 Television Critics Association Winter Tour at Langham Hotel on January 8, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Chris Albrecht will step down next month as CEO of pay cable network Starz.

The move comes two years after the network was acquired by Lionsgate, and the companies have since further integrated. Starz will, for now, be led by COO Jeffrey Hirsch and the current leadership team, including president of programming Carmi Zlotnik, working closely with Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.

“Chris’s renowned programming expertise and entrepreneurial abilities have helped build Starz into a premium global brand distinguished by its great shows, fast-growing direct to consumer initiatives, and expanding international footprint,” said Feltheimer. “As we complete the first phase of our evolution into a unified company and accelerate our focus on Starz’s international expansion, Chris has decided to step down to pursue other opportunities.  I look forward to working closely with him and Jeff Hirsch to ensure a smooth transition and plan the next steps of the Company’s continued growth.”

Albrecht first joined Starz in 2010. During his tenure, the pay cabler launched “American Gods,” “Power,” “Outlander,” “Ash vs Evil Dead,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” “Survivor’s Remorse” and “Black Sails.”

“I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished the last 10 years building Starz into one of the most exciting premium pay television brands in the industry,” said Albrecht. “As we reach the two-year anniversary of the integration of our two companies and complete the first exciting chapter of our growth together, I’ve decided it is time to move on to new opportunities.  I leave Starz in the hands of one of the most gifted executive teams in the business and have great confidence in their continued future success.”

Prior to Starz, Albrecht was the president of IMG Global Media, heading the company’s diverse businesses including global sports production operations, global rights acquisitions and digital media enterprises. Previously Albrecht was the chairman and CEO of HBO, and president of HBO original programming.

The news comes 11 days before Starz is set to present during the television critics association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.