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Univision Content Chief Isaac Lee Steps Down to Pursue TV Production Venture

Departure follows layoffs and buyouts as company prepares to sell Gizmodo

Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications announced another big departure on Tuesday. Isaac Lee, the company’s chief content officer, stepped down.

Lee is leaving the company after seven and a half years, where he has served as the head of Univision’s news division, the company’s digital platforms and, more recently, overseeing all content, including on brands acquired in the Gizmodo transactions, such as The Root, The Onion and Gizmodo Media. Lee was also charged with heading up the content efforts at Spanish-speaking American media outlet Televisa.

Lee is leaving to start his own production company, where he plans to develop similar relevant, independent content that will appeal to diverse audiences globally.

Daniel Coronell will continue as President of News.

“I want to thank Isaac for leading Univision’s content team with integrity and courage and helping elevate and position Univision in mainstream American media,” said Haim Saban, chairman of Univision’s board of directors, in a statement. “He understood the relevance that Univision has for Hispanic America and served the audience well. Isaac has vision and knows how to execute. I wish him well and expect more exciting things from him in the future.”

During Lee’s tenure, Univision News won more than 100 awards for its journalism, including several Emmys, Peabodys, at least one Edward R. Murrow Award, and others.

“I want to thank my extraordinarily talented and hard-working colleagues at Univision, as well as Haim and the entire Board, for all the support I have received in my nearly eight years at UCI,” Lee said in a statement.

Univision has had a rough run over the last few months as it’s struggled to monetize the Gizmodo Media properties purchased from Gawker Media in 2016. The company said last week that it was looking to sell Gizmodo Media after multiple rounds of lay offs and buyouts offered to its employees.

In May, journalists at Gizmodo wrote a scathing article about their parent company saying, “Univision is a f—ing mess.”

Back in April, Univision CEO Randy Falco, who announced plans to retire by the end of the year, signaled that tough times were ahead for the company. And that was after the company had lost CFO Francisco Lopez-Balboa and Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti.

While Lee was at Univision he helped to broaden the media company’s content business, creating the premium content development and production hub, Story House Entertainment, which produces scripted and non-scripted programming in English and Spanish.

Story House Entertainment developed three seasons of the popular series “El Chapo,” co-produced with Netflix, as well as a series of documentaries including “Hate Rising,” “Residente,” “Outpost,” and the award-winning documentary “Science Fair,” which won Sundance’s Audience Award in 2018. A new drama, “Tijuana,” set in the Mexican border town, is in production.

Two additional docu-series, “Murder Mountain” and “Who Killed Malcolm X,” also co-produced with Netflix, are in production.