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US Media & Comm management moves through March 29: Viacom, Disney, AMC

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US Media & Comm management moves through March 29: Viacom, Disney, AMC

Media industry moves

* Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd.-owned AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. said March 28 that it closed on its purchase of Nordic Cinema Group Holding AB, the largest theater operator in the Nordic and Baltic countries, further fueling AMC's expansion into Europe. Going forward, the Stockholm-based theater operator will be a subsidiary of London-based ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group Ltd., which AMC Entertainment acquired in November 2016. Jan Bernhardsson, Nordic Cinema Group's former president and CEO, has been appointed COO of Odeon Cinemas Group and executive vice president of AMC Europe.

* Former Apple Inc. executive Michael Hillman joined Facebook Inc. as head of hardware for its Oculus VR Inc. division, Bloomberg News reported March 27. Hillman, a 15-year Apple veteran, has held senior engineering and design roles at the iPhone maker. He will work closely with Oculus COO Hans Hartmann, who joined the company in 2016 from Fitbit.

* Spotify Ltd. bought content recommendation service MightyTV, according to a March 27 official blog post. MightyTV founder and CEO Brian Adams will join Spotify as vice president of technology, with a focus on advertising and marketing technology solutions. Further, MightyTV employees will be based in Spotify offices in New York, Toronto and Stockholm.

* Gary Nafus stepped down as Marchex Inc.'s chief revenue officer and as a member of the Interim Office of the CEO, according to a March 27 Form 8-K filing. Nafus joined Marchex as revenue chief in September 2015.

* Viacom Inc. on March 27 confirmed that former Fox Filmed Entertainment head Jim Gianopulos will be the new chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Corp. Gianopulos steps into the role left vacant by Brad Grey, who recently stepped down after 12 years at the helm of the Viacom-owned studio. Gianopulos previously served as CEO and chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a 21st Century Fox Inc. unit, for 16 years.

* Walt Disney Co. said March 23 that it extended Chairman and CEO Bob Iger's contract by a year. The company's board extended Iger's employment contract to July 2, 2019. Iger's contract was extended through June 30, 2018, in October 2014.

* Amazon.com Inc. pushed back plans to launch operations in Singapore to "later this year," TechCrunch.com reported March 22, citing two sources familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, Amazon is gearing up to start operations in Australia and has recruited a workforce of more than 100 people in Sydney, ABC News reported March 22.

Communications industry moves

* President Donald Trump on March 27 announced the formation of the White House Office of American Innovation. The office is intended to aid in modernization plans and improvement programs, such as the upgrade of systems and data infrastructure of federal departments and agencies, as well as the creation of projects under the president's $1 trillion infrastructure plan, The Washington Post reported March 26. The innovation office will be led by the president's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

* Spok Holdings Inc. on March 27 appointed Michael Wallace as the new CFO of the company. Wallace succeeds Shawn Endsley, who will remain at Spok as chief accounting officer. Prior to joining Spok, Wallace served as executive vice president and CFO of Intermedix, a provider of healthcare and data analytics services.