CanWest cans execs

Int'l media unit had been underperforming

TORONTO — Rick Camilleri has been abruptly shown the door as prexy and CEO of CanWest MediaWorks, CanWest Global’s media arm, as Canuck TV operations continue to underperform and investor confidence wanes.

Camilleri will be replaced by Peter Viner, a CanWest executive with 25 years under his belt.

Viner has been credited with turning around Australia’s Ten network after CanWest purchased a controlling stake in the early 1990s.

He then held the post of prexy and CEO of CanWest Global Communications until Leonard Asper, scion of CanWest Global founder Israel Asper, was ready to take the reins in 1999. He has since served as publisher of the National Post Newspaper and as a strategic adviser to the company.

A veteran executive at Sony Music Entertainment (Canada), Camilleri has been with CanWest for three years. His directive when taking over as chief operating officer in 2002 was to create multiple revenue streams for the company.

He became prexy of Canuck operations last fall, when CanWest imported several U.S. heavyweights to turn things around.

Rainbow Media Holdings alum Kathleen Dore was parachuted in to helm TV and radio; Michael Williams, former chief info officer of the New York Timesm heads publications; and Time Warner vet Joseph Mangioni is prexy of sales and marketing.

Longtime CanWest veterans Jack Tomik, Doug Hoover and Loren Mawhinney were pinkslipped in that shuffle.

CanWest spokesman Geoffrey Elliot said the latest restructuring would not affect CanWest’s strategy.

Asper said the company still hoped to spin off some of the media operations into an income trust, but the changeover could affect the timing. “We remain focused upon continuing to strengthen our balance sheet and create value for our shareholders,” he said.

Camilleri could not be reached for comment.

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