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Company insiders to fill void left by Scott Sassa's departure

Hearst Corp. has tapped two insiders, Neeraj Khemlani and George Kliavkoff, to serve as co-presidents and group heads of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, filling a vacancy left by Scott Sassa’s hasty departure from the company in March.

The pair will oversee Hearst’s growing portfolio of investments in production entities, including its joint venture with Mark Burnett’s One Three Media, and its 50% stake in unscripted shingle NorthSouth Prods. Hearst Entertainment also encompasses the privately held company’s lucrative stakes in A&E Network, History, Lifetime, ESPN and other cable nets.

Khemlani and Kliavkoff report to Hearst Corp. prexy-CEO Steven Swartz.

“Neeraj and George have worked side by side in various capacities at Hearst and are a great team to help support our entertainment programming partnerships and lead our expansion into new markets and businesses, including streaming video and digital media ventures,” Swartz said in announcing the appointments.

Khemlani will continue to head Hearst Digital Studios, which focuses in developing digital products tied to Hearst assets across the company, which also includes blue-chip magazines such as Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Oprah’s O magazine; 15 daily newspapers and 29 network-affiliated TV stations in mid-size markets.

Kliavkoff will also continue as head of the Hearst Ventures fund.

Khemlani joined Hearst from Yahoo in 2009 as VP and special assistant to the CEO for digital media. Most recently, he was senior VP and chief creative officer for Hearst Corp.

Kliavkoff joined Hearst in March 2009 as exec VP and deputy group head of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. Prior to Hearst, he was chief digital officer at NBCUniversal

Sassa left the company earlier this year after making tabloid headlines as the subject of an extortion plot involving racy text messages sent to a stripper.

 

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