×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Turner Shuffle: John Martin to Succeed Phil Kent as CEO in January

Kent to remain chairman during transition period next year

After a dozen years at the helm, Phil Kent will step down from his post as CEO of Turner Broadcasting in January and will be succeeded by Time Warner chief financial and administrative officer John Martin.

Kent will remain chairman of TBS for a period in 2014. Change was announced Wednesday morning in a memo to Turner staffers.

Kent said he had been mulling the decision to step down for some time, but the final agreement came together a few weeks ago during a long conversation over breakfast with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes as they discussed the prospect of a new long-term contract for Kent.

Kent joked that he reminded Bewkes that he had been CEO of Turner Broadcasting longer than Bewkes has been at the helm of Time Warner.

“Eleven years is a long time,” Kent told Variety. “We decided it was a good time to engineer a generational shift at Turner Broadcasting.”

For Martin, the appointment marks a a big promotion to overseeing an operating division, one of the pillars of Time Warner that encompasses cablers TNT, TBS, TCM, Cartoon Network, TruTV and a growing portfolio of international channels.

Bewkes called Martin “one of the most capable and strategically-minded executives I know.”

During Kent’s tenure, flagship cablers TNT and TBS have turned into original programming juggernauts, and Time Warner’s investment in the cablers has expanded with sports rights (NBA, Major League Baseball, NCAA basketball). The Turner nets made a statement in 2008 by boldly scheduling its upfront presentation during the same week as the major broadcast networks — a first for a cable group.

In 2012, Kent recruited Gerhard Zeiler, former head of German powerhouse RTL Group and one of Europe’s most prominent media execs, as head of TBS Intl., and former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker to run CNN.

Kent has been with Turner org since 1993. He was previously prexy of the Turner Home Entertainment unit and head of TBS International, where he helped expand the worldwide reach of CNN and other Turner nets. He headed the CNN News Group from 2000-2001. He briefly left the Turner fold but returned in February 2003 as head of TBS, succeeding Jamie Kellner.

Before TBS, Kent was a television packaging agent at CAA. He began his career in syndication, launching the entertainment wing of John Blair and Co.

Kent gave no specific indication of his future plans other than to say: “It’s time for me to do some different things on a different level.” Kent said expects to remain chairman for eight to 10 months of next year, depending on Martin’s needs during the transition.

“The company is home to some of the best brands in media and is known for its innovative culture and focus on delivering programming that audiences love and count on,” Martin said.

Martin has been Time Warner ‘s CFO since 2008, following the conglom’s spinoff of Time Warner Cable. He had served as CFO of Time Warner Cable and before that worked in various financial posts at Time Warner including head of investor relations.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Courtney Kemp Agboh'Power' TV show final

    'Power' Creator Courtney A. Kemp On Why Starz Series Hasn't Gotten Awards Recognition

    “Power” is a top ratings performer for Starz and has a hugely committed fanbase, but the series has lacked in its awards recognition. Other than honors from the NAACP Image Awards, “Power” has not received any awards or nominations from the Emmys, Golden Globes or SAG — something that star and executive producer Curtis “50 [...]

  • Breaking Bad Movie

    'Breaking Bad' Movie: Watch the First Teaser for 'El Camino'

    In case you hadn’t heard, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad” is cooking up a movie sequel. On Saturday, after details of Netflix’s project quietly leaked online, the streaming giant issued the first teaser for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will be released on October 11. Starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the “Breaking Bad” [...]

  • Breaking Bad

    'Breaking Bad' Movie Release Date, Title and Plot Revealed

    The “Breaking Bad” movie is coming to Netflix sooner than you might think. The film, titled “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” is now set to be released on Netflix on Oct. 11, according to a report from the New York Times, with Aaron Paul returning as the series’ popular meth cook Jesse Pinkman. Jesse [...]

  • Laurence FishburneNational Memorial Day Concert Dress

    Laurence Fishburne to Produce 'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' Series for Disney Channel

    Laurence Fishburne is stepping into the animation game. The “Matrix” star is set to executive produce “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” an animated series which has been given the greenlight at Disney Channel. Based on Marvel’s comic book series, the show hails from from Disney Television Animation and follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • 'The Simpsons' Producers on Disney, Spinoffs

    'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Potential Disney Spinoffs, Confirm Apu Will Remain

    “The Simpsons” has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content