A trio of THR editors have been tapped as interim leaders in the wake of editorial director Matthew Belloni’s abrupt departure from the publication on Monday, multiple individuals familiar with the company told Variety.
The interim editors are Jeanie Pyun, Belloni’s deputy editorial director; Tom Seeley, senior vice president of digital media; and Lacey Rose, TV editor. A spokesperson for THR corporate parent Valence Media declined to comment on the matter.
Still reeling from Belloni’s exit after his intense conflicts with THR-Billboard Group president Deanna Brown and Valence Media co-CEOs Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu, the trio has been set to steady the organization while a permanent replacement for Belloni is hired, one that Variety previously reported will come from outside the company.
Belloni’s departure shocked many THR staffers amid widely reported accounts of Brown, Wiczyk, Satchu attempting to meddle with the publication’s editorial independence. The executives oversee a portfolio that also includes Dick Clark Productions and Media Rights Capital, a film and TV content company.
The reported meddling by THR’s corporate bosses included discouraging stories that adversely affected the the company’s business interests and pressures to favorable promote projects from Valence’s content division. Brown was said to have pressured Belloni to dial back on negative coverage of the industry. In a memo to THR staff, Belloni alluded to tensions with the publication’s ownership even as he called his exit “100% amicable.”
Insiders at Valence said the company was proactive in fostering ethical boundaries within its portfolio, having hired an outside consultant from the Poynter Institute roughly 18 months ago.
“We are committed to our publications and to journalistic integrity. We are, and have been for the past 18 months, in the process of working with the Poynter Institute to follow modern best practices and maintain optimal editorial independence,” said a spokesperson for Valence after Belloni’s departure. “We have implemented many of Poynter’s recommended changes and recently opened up the discussion beyond our leadership teams to all editorial staff.”