The appointment was announced Thursday. Berk will replace founder Norm Pattiz in the CEO slot while Pattiz retains his title of executive chairman.
Berk resigned from Participant as CEO in April 2015 following eight years in the post amid rising tensions inside the company as founder Jeff Skoll pushed for quicker expansion into foreign markets and advances by television and digital operations. Berk’s tenure included the releases of “Lincoln,” “The Help,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Citizenfour” and “An Inconvenient Truth” along with the launches of the cause-related digital hub TakePart and the Pivot cable network.
PodcastOne sells advertising for more than 200 podcasts, including shows from Larry King, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Dan Patrick. The company asserts that it generated 1.5 billion podcast downloads last year and works with more than 100 brand advertisers.
The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“What attracted me about the podcasting area is that you’ve got traditional media in radio combining with new media in digital,” Berk told the newspaper. “It is on the verge of breaking loose, and you want to be there when that wave breaks through.”
Pattiz founded the company in 2012 and said all of the advertising came from direct-response marketers at that point. He told the Journal that half of PodcastOne’s current advertisers are big brand marketers.
Prior to joining Participant, Berk served as CEO of the Hard Rock Cafe chain and of vacation ownership concern Fairfield Communities.
Berk will also join the PodcastOne board. PodcastOne is headquartered in Beverly Hills with offices in New York and Chicago.
“We have created an unmatched footprint in the podcast space and now are building a more robust executive team to allow PodcastOne to take full advantage of our organic growth and strategic opportunities,” said Pattiz. “Jim has done tremendous work in transitioning companies to their next stage of growth, and with him joining the PodcastOne leadership team, our possibilities are endless.”
(Pictured: Berk, right, posting with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.)