He takes the reins after a long career in media, most recently as president and chief executive officer of Time Inc., where he helped oversee the publisher’s $2.8 billion sale to Meredith Corp. Battista also ran Mandalay Sports Media, an the early-stage media and content company, and spent 18 years at Fox, rising to become president of its national cable networks.
Battista will replace Charlie Corwin, a former Endemol Shine North America chief who spent less than a year at Imagine. He resigned in April 2018.
In his new role, Battista has been tasked with working with co-founders Brian Grazer and Ron Howard to oversee its core production business and its expansion efforts.
“We are excited to have Rich join Imagine. He brings with him a unique perspective and years of expertise and experience growing and expanding businesses, and we are confident in his ability to build upon Imagine’s success,” said Grazer and Howard in a joint statement.
Imagine Entertainment’s recent releases include the hit documentary “Pavarotti,” the Nat Geo series “Genius,” and Fox’s “Empire.” Upcoming projects include an adaptation of the best-seller “Hillbilly Elegy” that will be directed by Howard and released by Netflix.
Imagine has been branching out in new directions in recent years. It created Imagine Impact, a content incubator for the next generation of content creators; entered into a $100 million TV co-financing venture with Hong Kong based TVB; and invested in Jax Media, the company behind “Russian Doll” and “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.”
Battista will be based at the company’s Beverly Hills headquarters and assumes the job immediately.