Corus CEO Doug Murphy Exits Losing Warner Bros Discovery Rights

Corus CEO Doug Murphy Exits Losing Warner Bros Discovery Rights

Corus Entertainment has replaced president and CEO Doug Murphy with co-CEOs a week after the Canadian broadcaster lost the rights to key Warner Bros. Discovery channels to rival Rogers Sports and Media.

On Monday morning, Corus said Murphy took “an early retirement,” effective immediately, and will be replaced as co-CEOs by Troy Reeb and John Gossling. The move follows Corus on June 10 being told by WBD that, starting in January, major lifestyle brands like HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Magnolia Network and OWN would go to rival Rogers as part of a new multi-year licensing deal.

The executive suite changes are the latest fallout among legacy Canadian broadcasters from a rapidly changing TV industry where increased cord-cutting and a continuing linear TV ad recession have local players chasing viewers online with pricey American series to keep pace with Netflix.

Reeb is promoted from serving as Corus’ executive vice president of networks and content, overseeing programming, while Gossling retains his role as CFO, while adding corporate strategy and technology to his responsibilities.

“Succession planning is an integral part of our operations. Troy and John are seasoned senior broadcast and media executives who each have exceptional experience, a strategic mindset and deep understanding of the industry,” Heather Shaw, executive chair at Corus, said in a statement. “The board and I are extremely confident in their ability to guide Corus through the evolving regulatory and competitive landscape, and make smart, strategic choices that best position the company for the future,” she added.

The rise of Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video as dominant streaming players north of the border has drastically reduced ad revenues for Canadian TV networks like Corus as marketing dollars shift from traditional TV to online video platforms. In addition, legacy Canadian networks face a greater impact from economic disruption as they lack the scale of the major studios and U.S. networks as they battle for survival and supremacy in the evolving streaming era.

Shares in Corus Entertainment were trading up 2.6 percent at 20 cents pre-market on Monday after Murphy’s exit was announced. He became Corus CEO in 2015, replacing longtime topper John Cassaday.

The management shakeup at Corus includes Jennifer Lee named chief administrative officer and chief legal officer, a promotion from her role as executive vp and general counsel.

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