Universal’s marketing department is undergoing major changes, after both Seth Byers and Scott Abraham, the company’s executive vice president of creative strategy and research and senior vice president of creative advertising, respectively, have been let go by the studio due to reports of inappropriate conduct. Furthermore, Josh Goldstine, president of marketing, has been placed on indefinite administrative leave.
According to an internal memo obtained by Variety, Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley claims that the allegations, which she did not specify, were “credible and indicative of an unacceptable climate.”
“We commend the people who have had the courage to come forward,” Langley continues. “We have no tolerance for harassment or other disrespectful behavior, and we will be taking any necessary steps to ensure that actions that violate our core values are dealt with swiftly and decisively.”
Scott Abraham had been terminated in November, Variety’s sources claim, but the information had not been made public—Abraham’s LinkedIn still lists him as a current employee.
All executives involved are longtime Universal veterans, Byers being the most recent hire in 2013. Abraham had served since 2007, and Goldstine since 2011.
“Our highest priority is to provide a working environment where every employee feels heard, seen and safe,” Langley wrote.
After six years at Foursquare, president Steven Rosenblatt is transitioning to an advisory position as he prepares to launch his own company.
“I’ve had an insatiable itch to start a company that emblemizes my passion for working with early-stage companies,” Rosenblatt said in a statement. “I’m excited for this new endeavor that will allow me to work alongside investors and startups at pivotal moments of growth. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.”
Rosenblatt first joined Foursquare in 2012 as its chief revenue officer, leading the company through rough seas it faced in 2014 before it split into two separate apps.
EBay is expanding its artificial intelligence efforts, bringing on Jan Pedersen as vice president and chief AI scientist.
“Jan is a true pioneer in the industry, with over thirty years developing search, deep learning, machine learning and AI technologies at scale,” said Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay. “He joins us at a pivotal moment when AI sciences including computer vision and deep learning are now capable of transforming personalized, immersive shopping experiences.”
Previously, Pedersen served at Twitter as vice president of data science, where he led the company’s research into machine learning and data analytics.
Brian Niccol, CEO of Taco Bell, has announced his immediate departure for Chipotle, where he will serve as chief executive.
“Brian is a proven world-class executive, who will bring fresh energy and leadership to drive excellence across every aspect of our business,” said Chipotle founder Steve Ells. “His expertise in digital technologies, restaurant operations and branding make him a perfect fit for Chipotle as we seek to enhance our customer experience, drive sales growth and make our brand more relevant.”
Niccol had led Taco Bell since 2011 and leaves the company in the hands of Julie Felss Masino and Liz Williams, presidents of Taco Bell’s North America and international businesses, respectively.
fter going three years without a global CMO, Bacardi is choosing to bring back the role, appointing John Burke to improve accountability and foster more responsive marketing.
“We see ourselves as a small company with big brands which means when you work on one of our brands you can make a massive impact as soon as you get your hands on them,” Burke told Marketing Week. “This is because there is no corporate machine in the background that you have to get dozens of approvals from.”
Burke has been with Bacardi for more than 20 years, most recently as president of incubation brands, building equity for the company’s newest liquor brands.
WWE has made a pair of executive promotions, elevating both George Barrios and Michelle Wilson to the position of co-presidents. The pair will continue their efforts to expand the WWE’s presence beyond just linear television.
“The successful transformation of our business model has put us in a position to capitalize on all that the changing global media landscape has to offer,” said WWE CEO Vince McMahon. “I am confident that our executive management team, led by Michelle and George, will achieve continued success across key strategic initiatives and ensure our long-term growth.”
Before their promotions, Wilson and Barrios held the titles of chief revenue and chief marketing officer, respectively.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau has elected Scott Schiller to the position of chairman of its board of directors, making official the position that Schiller had been serving in an interim capacity since October of last year.
“The IAB has been central in guiding the industry through the ever-shifting media and marketing landscapes, allowing the ecosystem to meet new challenges and take advantage of emerging opportunities,” said Schiller. “I look forward to continuing to work with the various members of the organization, as well as brands and agencies, in order forge a robust future for all stakeholders—in addition to the consumers we are all trying to reach.”
Schiller is currently the executive vice president and general manager of marketing, advertising sales and client partnerships for NBCUniversal.
Tony Goncalves, former CEO of AT&T Digital Brands, has joined digital network Otter Media as its chief executive.
“Tony has been our partner on Otter Media for almost four years, and during that time, it was evident that he is a thoughtful, strategic executive who is hugely passionate about furthering the growth of one of the premier digital media companies,” said Peter Chernin, chairman of Otter Media.
As CEO of AT&T’s digital network, Goncalves worked closely with Otter Media, leading the company’s entry into OTT with DirecTV Now. Prior to that, he held a variety of leadership positions at DirecTV.
The Rest Of The C-Suite
(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 16. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.)
H&M has appointed Anna Attemark as head of its new-business division, overseeing recently created brands such as Cos, Weekday, H&M Home and several others.
Attemark joins the fashion retailer after 11 years as CEO of Odd Molly, a Swedish clothing brand. She has worked at H&M in the past, most recently as development director and COO for design.
After four years in business, Slack has appointed Allen Shim as its first-ever chief financial officer.
“Allen is a trusted advisor to the executive leadership team and our Board, having helped build Slack from a small-but-ambitious startup to the high-growth global enterprise software company it is today,” said Slack founder Stewart Butterfield. “Introducing the role of CFO is a natural evolution that levels up our capabilities and positions us for scalable, long-term success.”
Shim has worked at Slack since its founding, originally holding the title of senior vice president of finance and operations.
Jennifer Salke has joined Amazon Studios as its head, filling a void in leadership the company had suffered since Roy Price resigned amid misconduct allegations.
“What stood out about Jen was the deep relationships she has nurtured with creators and talent over her career, spanning NBCU, 20th Century Fox, and Aaron Spelling Productions,” said Jeff Blackburn, Amazon’s senior vice president of business development, to Variety. “She’s built an impeccable reputation as a big leader who emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.”
Before joining Amazon, Salke led NBC Entertainment as its president for the past six years, contributing to the network’s recent ratings turnaround.
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