NBCUniversal laid off employees on Thursday, as E! and Esquire consolidated their marketing departments.
The shake-up comes less than a month after TheWrap wrote about impending department mergers and layoffs in a move to save money.
“To more fully align the E! and Esquire Marketing department we have restructured the team and as a result Leigh Anne Gardner and Tim Rosta are leaving the company. We thank them for their contributions and wish them the best,” an NBCU spokeswoman told TheWrap in a statement.
Prior to Thursday’s layoffs, Gardner was the company’s senior vice president of print, online design, on-air design and special projects at E! and G4. Rosta had been senior vice president of marketing solutions at E!
Ahead of the marketing department merger, multiple insiders tell TheWrap that several NBCUniversal employees left the company, including executive director of publicity John Rizzotti who is headed to CBS as VP of Communications overseeing “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider,” senior vice president of brand and creative Lorenzo de Guttadauro who resigned last week, and Katherine Nelson who left Esquire for Syfy.
As TheWrap exclusively reported on Feb. 13, NBCUniversal had been indiscreetly laying the groundwork for a merging of E! News and “Access Hollywood” staffs, which were expected to lead to budget cuts and layoffs.
In essence, NBCU had borrowed a page from the playbook at CBS, which currently shares resources and stages for syndicated shows “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider.” The merging of departments has already become an established business practice at NBCU whose Cable division in particular has a recent history of department mergers in which stronger groups were combined with weaker ones to maximize results.
In the last few years, Bravo’s Frances Berwick has been given oversight over both Esquire and Oxygen networks. Last year when Suzanne Kolb was booted from her job as E! president, NBCU combined Bravo, E!, Esquire and Oxygen into its Lifestyle Networks group and placed them under Berwick’s purview as well.
Similarly, Esquire Network president Adam Stotsky’s role was expanded to include the position of E! general manager under Berwick.