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With Dawn Ostroff’s Exit, Condé Nast Names Sahar Elhabashi Interim Head of Entertainment Unit

Condé Nast Entertainment will be led on an interim basis by Sahar Elhabashi, COO of the video entertainment division, until Condé Nast hires a replacement for Dawn Ostroff — who is joining Spotify as chief content officer at the end of July.

Ostroff, a veteran TV exec, cofounded Condé Nast Entertainment in 2011 and has built a growing stable of original digital productions as well as a handful of longer-form TV series. At Spotify, she will be in charge of content partnerships spanning music, audio and video, including all of its original programming.

In a memo to staff Tuesday, Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg praised Ostroff’s leadership at CNE. He cited video as the media company’s fastest-growing revenue stream and a critical component of its future.

“I am extremely proud of what Dawn and the team at CNE have accomplished and we are in a great position to continue this growth trajectory long into the future,” he wrote.

Elhabashi joined Condé Nast Entertainment as COO in April 2012, after serving as COO of Discovery Networks International. Prior to joining Discovery in September 2007, she worked at Viacom’s MTV Networks for 15 years, most recently as EVP of strategy and digital media for MTV Networks International. Earlier in her career, Elhabashi was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and an analyst at Salomon Brothers.

Read Sauerberg’s full memo to staff about Ostroff’s departure:

Team –

It is with mixed emotions I share the news that Dawn Ostroff, president of CNE, will be leaving at the end of July to take on a new role as global chief content officer for Spotify.

I first talked to Dawn back in 2011 about joining Condé Nast to establish our video business when it was no more than an idea we sketched on my white board. In short order, she built Condé Nast Entertainment, a thriving digital and social video business that reaches an average of 50 million unique viewers, generating more than 1.1 billion views per month, and a burgeoning TV and film studio. We currently have eight TV series in production or on the air, including the multiple award-winning “Last Chance U” on Netflix, and our fourth feature film, “The Old Man and the Gun,” starring Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek and Casey Affleck, which will be released by Fox Searchlight on September 28 and already is generating award buzz and new revenue for the company. We were well ahead of all our competitors when we launched CNE, and in large part due to Dawn’s prescience, leadership and the CNE team, remain so today.

Simply put, our video business is one of the most important assets to our company’s future, recognized by our audiences and advertising partners alike. It is the fastest growing revenue stream here at Condé Nast and we are committed to tripling it in the next few years. I am extremely proud of what Dawn and the team at CNE have accomplished and we are in a great position to continue this growth trajectory long into the future.

Sahar Elhabashi, the chief operating officer, will serve as interim head of CNE and lead our video strategy until we name Dawn’s replacement.

Please join me in both congratulating Dawn on her new global role at Spotify and thanking her for the innumerable contributions she made to Condé Nast. You can read more about Dawn’s new role here.

Bob

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