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Elisabeth Murdoch’s Vertical Networks Names Jesús Chavez CEO

Vertical Networks, the mobile-centric, Snapchat-focused content startup founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, hired former Univision and Mitú exec Jesús Chavez as its new CEO.

Most recently, Chavez was COO at Mitú, a digital media and entertainment startup targeting U.S. Latino millennials that laid off about one-third of its employees this summer. Before joining Mitú in 2014, he spent more than eight years at Univision, where he most recently managed digital operations for the company’s local media group as SVP.

Tom Wright, formerly CEO of Vertical Networks, will remain on the board of the company and will continue as a strategic adviser. In addition, Wright will continue to run Freelands Ventures, Elisabeth Murdoch’s early-stage investment firm focused on the intersection of media, technology and entertainment.

“We have enjoyed explosive growth at Vertical Networks and are excited that Jesús will bring his extensive experience to help us further scale our business,” Elisabeth Murdoch, who founded Vertical Networks in 2016, said in a statement.

Vertical Networks — the name refers to the vertical orientation of video on smartphones — has produced original programming primarily for Snapchat, which owns a minority stake in the company. The startup’s shows include “Brother,” “Phone Swap,” “Parental Guidance,” “Solve,” “Celebrity Binge Watch,” “Yes Theory” and “I Have a Secret.” Vertical Networks is based in Venice Beach, Calif.

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