Chernin Group Hires Ex-Yahoo Exec Mike Kerns as Head of Digital

The Chernin Group has recruited Mike Kerns, most recently a senior executive at Yahoo, as president of digital to expand its footprint in emerging Internet businesses and forge tighter bonds with Silicon Valley.

In the newly created position, Kerns will work with CEO and chairman Peter Chernin and TCG president Jesse Jacobs to expand the company’s efforts to acquire, develop and invest in digital media and consumer companies.

Kerns also is tasked with opening an office for TCG in San Francisco. He will join Chernin, Jacobs and members of AT&T on the board of Otter Media, the joint venture the companies formed last year with plans to invest up to $500 million to acquire, invest in and launch global over-the-top video services.

“Mike will be a phenomenal addition to the team and will help us with our existing portfolio of businesses, as well as in rapidly expanding our investment endeavors,” Peter Chernin said in announcing the hire. “He has a proven, multi-disciplined track record which has become increasingly important to our company, current holdings and future growth.”

At Yahoo, Kerns was senior VP of product for the Internet company’s homepage and verticals. Previously he co-founded and was CEO of Citizen Sports, a develop of social and sports-related apps, which Yahoo acquired in 2010. Kerns also was chief of staff at Steinberg & Moorad Sports Management, leading new business initiatives, after starting his career as an associate at venture-capital firm Angel Investors.

Kerns’ appointment comes after Otter Media CEO Virasb Vahidi, a former American Airlines and AT&T exec tapped last fall by the JV partners, departed the company in June. For the time being, Otter is being run by Jacobs and TCG exec VP Sarah Harden.

TCG’s four areas of focus are online-video businesses through Otter Media, which owns YouTube multichannel network Fullscreen and subscription-video service Crunchyroll; digital media investments in companies including Pandora, SoundCloud and Flipboard; film and TV production under the Chernin Entertainment banner; and its ownership of CA Media, which includes media and digital content businesses in Indonesia and India.

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