Former HBO honcho to head global media unit
Former HBO chairman/CEO Chris Albrecht has resurfaced at IMG, where he will head the sports management/programmer’s global media business.
Albrecht has also been named a special limited partner in Forstmann Little & Co., and will work with Forstmann to raise a $250 million fund for investments in media and entertainment content, with IMG acting as lead investor.
For a company that was built by the late Mark McCormack to be synonymous with sports programming that was cross-pollinated with IMG-repped jocks, Albrecht’s hire announces IMG’s intention to raise its profile as a supplier of original entertainment programming in Hollywood. Forstmann Little & Co purchased IMG in 2004.
Albrecht’s troubles began after he was arrested outside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 5 after a violent altercation with a female friend.
A mandated leave of absence to deal with an alcohol problem turned into a dismissal after the Los Angeles Times revealed a prior altercation with a female colleague in 1991, which the company hushed up.
Albrecht pleaded no contest to a charge of battery and received a six-month suspended sentence and paid a $1000 fine.
Albrecht gave his comeback story to The New York Times, which reported that a meeting between Albrecht and Forstmann was brokered by Ari Emanuel, the Endeavor partner who was outspoken in his support of Albrecht and that HBO was hasty in dismissing him.
Albrecht spent more than 20 years at HBO, where he oversaw such original programming successes as “The Sopranos,” “Six Feet Under,” “Band of Brothers,” and “Sex and the City.”
“IMG already has a growing presence in the rapidly evolving global media and entertainment markets and unparalleled international distribution capabilities,” Forstmann said in a statement. “Chris will be instrumental in taking IMG to a new level based on his extensive background in creating, developing, distributing and marketing entertainment content, as well as his strong relationships throughout the entertainment community.”
Said Albrecht: “With a proven strategy, great brand, unique resources and entrepreneurial leadership, IMG is the ideal home for me. I’m looking forward to working side by side with Ted Forstmann and IMG’s talented team. Together, we can leverage IMG’s expertise, portfolio of assets, and established international content distribution organization to capitalize on the enormous global opportunities in traditional and digital media.”