Warner New Media announced yesterday the departure of Stan Cornyn, the group’s founder and longtime leader.

Cornyn is retiring after 33 years with Warner, starting in 1959 at the formation of Warner Bros. Records.

He first embraced the compact disc at Warner for music, and then for multimedia, combining pictures, text and sound, and started WNM in 1984.

Taking over at WNM is Terry Hershey, director of corporate development and technology for Warner New Media’s parent, Time Warner Inc.

Reports to Holmes

Hershey reports to Geoff Holmes, WNM’s chairman, who is also a Time Warner senior VP and pointman on technology.

Both executives were unavailable for comment, but Hershey had been at the company’s offices for much of September, portending a change. She is a 10-year veteran of Time Inc., launching its first electronic publishing venture. Lately, she has focused on Time Warner’s interactive cable operation, Quantum, in Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y.

Cornyn recently noted WNM had shifted its strategy, turning its focus from CD-ROMs to the company’s cable operations. (Daily Variety, Sept. 4). Plans are under way to put Time magazine, for example, on Quantum.

“Stan had the idea of taking CD technology beyond music and making it interactive,” said Jennifer Rogers, head of marketing and creative services at WNM. Now, we’ll be involving interactivity in people’s homes.”

Others in the multimedia community were suprised by Cornyn’s resignation, noting he was a major proponent of the technology.

“I’m stunned,” said Philip Hopbell, a producer at rival Philips Interactive Media of America. “Stan opened the door for everyone with interactive CD in multimedia.”

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