Hearst Corp. vet Steven Swartz has been upped to prexy and chief operating officer of the privately held company that co-owns A+E Networks and ESPN.

Swartz had been exec veep and COO since 2011, and he is a member of Hearst Corp.’s board of directors. The promotion is seen as a step in the succession planning at Hearst, where Frank Bennack continues as CEO.

Swartz came to the conglom when he was tapped as the founding editor of Hearst’s Smart Money magazine in 1991. He joined Hearst Corp. in 2001 as exec veep of its newspapers division.

In addition to its cable powerhouses, Hearst’s holdings including 29 TV stations, 15 daily newspapers, magazines and the One Three Media joint production venture with Mark Burnett.