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Ergen steps down as DISH CEO; comScore to cut 10% of workforce

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Ergen steps down as DISH CEO; comScore to cut 10% of workforce

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a weekly rundown of executive changes in the U.S. media and communications industries.

TOP STORIES

* DISH Network Corp. Chairman Charlie Ergen stepped down as CEO of the company to focus on the wireless business, DISH said Dec. 5. The company promoted President and COO Erik Carlson to president and CEO. John Swieringa, executive vice president at DISH, succeeded Carlson as COO. DISH also unveiled a new organizational framework under the new CEO. Brian Neylon, who previously was executive vice president of customer acquisition and retention, will serve as executive vice president, group president of DISH TV, while Warren Schlichting will be executive vice president, group president of the company's Sling TV streaming service. Schlichting previously was executive vice president of marketing, programming and media sales. Vivek Khemka, executive vice president and chief technology officer of the company, is also now part of Carlson's leadership team. Further, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. human resources executive David Scott joined DISH as chief human resources officer. Scott will serve DISH as an executive vice president and will be a part of the company's management committee in February 2018.

* ComScore Inc. is cutting about 175 jobs, or 10% of its workforce. The company said Dec. 6 that it is reducing its staffing levels and exiting certain geographic regions to decrease its global costs and more effectively align resources to business priorities. The majority of the employees impacted by the downsizing will exit the company in the fourth quarter, while the remainder are expected to leave the company in the first quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, Cameron Meierhoefer stepped down as executive vice president and COO of the company, effective immediately. He will serve as a special adviser to the company until March 30, 2018. ComScore also announced the appointment of Gregory Fink, the company's CFO and treasurer, as principal accounting officer.

Media industry moves

* Apple Inc. named Michelle Lee a creative executive at the Apple Worldwide Video division, Variety reported Dec. 6. Lee previously was producing partner to writer and showrunner Jason Katims at True Jack Productions.

* Joanne Lipman is stepping down as senior vice president and chief content officer at Gannett Co. Inc., effective Dec. 31. No replacement for Lipman was named in the Dec. 5 SEC filing announcing the news. Her departure came a few weeks after Gannett announced organizational changes as part of a broader business realignment.

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. appointed Rob Weisbord chief revenue officer of the company, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Weisbord will continue to lead Sinclair's Digital Group, the company said Dec. 5. He has served as senior vice president and COO of Sinclair Digital Group since June 2017 and as COO of Sinclair Digital Group since January 2014.

* 21st Century Fox Inc. promoted Star India Pvt. Ltd. head Uday Shankar to president of 21st Century Fox, Asia, effective immediately. Shankar will lead Fox's video businesses across all of Asia, including Star India and Fox Networks Group, and work with the Fox leadership on strategic initiatives in the region, the company said Dec. 5. Shankar will continue to lead Star India as chairman and CEO. Zubin Gandevia, president of Fox Networks Group Asia, will continue to oversee video brands across 14 markets and will now report to Shankar.

* Theano Apostolou is stepping down as executive vice president of communications at Starz, according to a Dec. 4 news release. Apostolou, who joined the Lionsgate Entertainment-owned company in 2011 as senior vice president of communications, will continue to consult in her current role until a replacement is found.

* ABC News suspended a journalist who erroneously reported Dec. 1 that former national security adviser Michael Flynn would testify that President Donald Trump directed Flynn to make contact with Russian nationals during the U.S. presidential election campaign. Chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross subsequently corrected his report to state that Trump gave Flynn the order as president-elect. ABC News apologized for what it called a "serious error" and suspended Ross without pay for four weeks.

* Three members of Uber Technologies Inc.'s security team resigned following confirmation of a data breach in October 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 1, citing a statement from an Uber spokeswoman. Prithvi Rai, Pooja Ashok and Jeff Jones resigned as Uber's senior security engineer, chief of staff for the security team and manager for physical security, respectively. Meanwhile, Mat Henley, Uber's manager for global threat operations, is going on medical leave for an unspecified period, according to his attorney.

* Google Inc. hired Diane Bryant as COO of Google Cloud, the Alphabet Inc. unit said in a Nov. 30 official blog post. Bryant will join from Intel Corp., where she led the Data Center Group.

* Leaf Group Ltd. appointed Jantoon Reigersman CFO of the company, effective Dec. 11. Prior to joining Leaf Group, Reigersman was CFO of disruptive wind technology company Ogin Inc., according to a Nov. 30 release.

* Discovery Communications Inc. said Nov. 30 that it aligned its business operations across Europe, Middle East and Africa and disclosed a new leadership team for the region. Kasia Kieli will lead the new team as president and managing director of EMEA. Kieli previously ran operations across 112 markets that formed Discovery's Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa operations. The new team includes Marinella Soldi, who will assume an expanded role as chief strategy officer EMEA and managing director Southern Europe. James Gibbons will serve as general manager, the U.K./Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and head of commercial development EMEA. Gibbons succeeds Susanna Dinnage, who earlier this month was promoted to the newly created position of global president of Animal Planet. Gibbons previously was general manager for emerging business and head of product and business development for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa region.

Communications industry moves

* IDT Corp. appointed Abilio Pereira president and COO of the company, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Pereira most recently was CEO of subsidiary IDT Telecom Inc., according to a Dec. 5 SEC filing.

* Jessica Rosenworcel, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, appointed Jessica Martinez special adviser and confidential assistant, the agency said Dec. 5. Martinez previously served the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Democratic Staff as the outreach and member services coordinator.

* Digerati Technologies Inc. said Dec. 5 that it closed its acquisition of Synergy Telecom Inc., a provider of cloud communication services in Texas, the company said Dec. 5. Shift8 Networks Inc., Digerati's wholly owned subsidiary, is combining Synergy Telecom with its Texas-based business and operations. Charlie Slaughter and Ryan McDowell, Synergy's president and vice president of new business development, respectively, will join Digerati. As part of the transaction, Shift8 added Brandon Chenault to its sales team as channel and enterprise account manager.

* Guggenheim Securities hired Michael McCormack as a senior analyst and managing director covering telecommunications. McCormack has served as a senior analyst at Jefferies, Nomura, J.P. Morgan and Bear Stearns.