ViacomCBS has changed up the leadership of Viacom Digital Studios, Variety has learned: Kelly Day, who has served as VDS’s president since its inception over two years ago, is exiting the role. Stefanie Schwartz, a 20-plus year Viacom veteran has been named executive VP and general manager of Viacom Digital Studios.
Day is in discussions about taking on another senior role at ViacomCBS, but at this point nothing has been finalized, according to sources familiar with the situation. A company rep declined to provide additional comment.
The executive changes, announced Monday in internal memos to staff, follows the closing of the merger of Viacom and CBS last month. In a reorg, CBS Interactive president/CEO Marc DeBevoise is overseeing all digital operations at the combined company as chief digital officer, including VDS.
Schwartz has been part of the VDS team since early 2018, shortly after Day joined in the fall of 2017 and the media conglomerate formed Viacom Digital Studios as a way to develop original digital programming and more quickly launch content that extended Viacom’s core brands including Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon and MTV.
Schwartz most recently served as EVP of strategy and operations for Viacom Digital Studios and digital partnerships at Viacom Media Networks. In the new role, she will lead the creation and expansion of original programming, derivative content and branded series across social platforms for ViacomCBS’ portfolio of global entertainment brands.
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Prior to becoming part of the VDS team in February 2018, Schwartz was at Nickelodeon in a variety of roles, most recently as SVP, digital and business development. She earlier served in strategy and biz-dev roles at MTV Networks and Viacom, after first joining the company in 1999.
“Stef has been integral to the success of VDS over the past two years, providing critical leadership across many areas of the business, including strategy, business operations and partner management,” DeBevoise wrote in a memo to VDS staff. “As part of this change, Kelly Day will be moving out of her current role at VDS. Under Kelly’s leadership, VDS has become a leader in digital and branded content and I’m truly grateful for her support and guidance through this process. She’ll continue to work closely with Stef and me throughout this transition.”
Day came to Viacom after more than four years at AwesomenessTV — the youth-focused media company that Viacom subsequently acquired in 2018 and made part of VDS. In the reorg last fall, Brian Robbins, currently president of Nickelodeon and co-founder of Awesomeness, assumed oversight of Awesomeness. Viacom also bought VidCon, the video-creator conference business, which is also under the VDS umbrella.
In a memo to VDS employees, Day wrote, “While I will no longer be part of the VDS team, I won’t be too far away. I’ll continue to support the team through this transition until I announce what’s next for me.” She also praised Schwartz’s leadership in building out the VDS strategy, business operations, and platform partnerships.
“Stef is the first person many of us go to when we need advice on something or a question answered, and is a compassionate and supportive team leader,” Day wrote, adding, “I am thrilled for her to lead VDS in this next phase.”
Schwartz, in her own memo to VDS staffers, thanks Day for “her fearless leadership in bringing Viacom Digital Studios to life.”
“Looking ahead, not only will we continue to make great content across our social footprint, but under the combined ViacomCBS digital team, we have the opportunity to grow our business and expand our reach in new ways,” Schwartz wrote.