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Meredith to cut 1,200 jobs; FremantleMedia CEO to join YouTube

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Meredith to cut 1,200 jobs; FremantleMedia CEO to join YouTube

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

TOP STORIES

* Meredith Corp. is planning to eliminate about 1,200 positions. The company said it has cut approximately 200 positions, with 1,000 more to be slashed over the next 10 months. The media company said the job cuts were part of its plan to realize between $400 million and $500 million of cost synergies from the Time Inc. acquisition. Meredith previously announced the elimination of about 600 positions. According to Meredith, the headcount reductions "do not include the impact of any potential divestitures" and that they are "key pieces of Meredith's previously stated strategy to eliminate duplicative positions and consolidate certain functions" at its headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

* Cécile Frot-Coutaz will be stepping down as CEO of FremantleMedia Ltd. to become head of YouTube's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Coutaz will collaborate with YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl in administering growth strategies in EMEA, TBI Vision reported. The executive committee of RTL Group, FremantleMedia's parent company, is coordinating a smooth transition with Coutaz until her departure. YouTube is a unit of Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc.

Media industry moves

* Executive Jimmy Iovine will move into a consulting role at Apple Inc. in August, The Wall Street Journal reported March 21, citing sources with knowledge of his plans. Sources said the music producer will step away from daily involvement with Apple's streaming music business. Iovine earlier this year dismissed reports that he was leaving Apple in August. Iovine joined Apple when the tech giant bought Beats Electronics LLC in 2014.

* McClatchy Co. named Peter Farr corporate controller and chief accounting officer, effective April 16. Farr previously served as the northwest accounting policy director for Boeing Co. in Seattle, the company said March 20.

* Former CloudLock Inc. executive Bernd Leger has joined Checkmarx Inc., an application security software company, as chief marketing officer. In this role, Leger will head Checkmarx's worldwide marketing organization, the company said March 20. Leger previously served CloudLock, a provider of cloud access security broker services, as a marketing chief.

* MGM Holdings Inc.'s board launched a transition and search process for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.'s new CEO, following the ouster of Gary Barber. The board also temporarily created an Office of the CEO to oversee MGM's daily operations during the transition period. The office, composed of division heads and senior executives, will report directly to the board. MGM did not reveal the reason for Barber's departure. Sources told Variety, however, that Barber was let go because the board had a different vision for the direction of the studio.

* Facebook Inc.'s Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos is leaving the company after internal disagreements over how the company should handle its role in spreading disinformation, The New York Times reported, citing current and former employees briefed on the matter. Stamos, who internally was said to be a strong advocate of investigating and exposing Russian activity on the U.S. social media network, had his daily responsibilities reportedly reassigned to others in December 2017, prompting the resignation. He was persuaded to assist until August in the transition of his duties, because executives thought that his departure would look bad, according to the report, citing sources. Stamos is currently overseeing the transfer of his security team to Facebook's product and infrastructure divisions, with sources saying that his group of 120 people has shrunk to a staff of three.

* Donald Shassian, OUTFRONT Media Inc.'s CFO and executive vice president, will retire from the company in mid-2018. The company said March 19 that it has initiated a search to fill the position. Shassian, who joined Outfront Media in November 2013, will assist with the selection process and the transition to his successor.

* Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, is leaving the Walt Disney Co. unit, Variety reported March 19, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Bird's departure follows that of Dave Hollis, president of worldwide distribution, who stepped down at the start of March. The company has tapped Cathleen Taff to succeed Hollis, according to the report.

* Gannett Co. Inc. unit Gannett Publishing Services LLC plans to close its Johnson City, N.Y., printing facility and transfer the operations to Rochester, N.Y., this summer, pressconnects.com reported March 16. The facility will reportedly lay off 93 workers during a 14-day period starting June 16, according to syracuse.com, citing a company notice to the U.S. Department of Labor. Relocation and printing of the three publications in the new facility will commence in mid-June, according to the media reports. The consolidation of the printing operations will "create operational efficiencies and savings" within the company, pressconnects.com said, citing George Troyano, president of Central New York Media, part of the USA TODAY Network.

* Crown Media Family Networks has overhauled its programming department with a series of key promotions and the hiring of a new senior executive as it looks to expand its content output across channels and forms. The promotions include Angela Polk, now vice president of original development and specials, who formerly served as a director of development. Former managers Heather Overton and Jennifer Phillips are now directors of development, scripted programming. Former director Jessica Callahan was named manager of development. Jennifer Kramer transitioned from manager to director of development, unscripted programming. Penny Perry was elevated from vice president of casting to senior vice president of casting. Crown also hired industry veteran James Holcomb as vice president, physical production, a new position at the company. All of these executives report to senior vice president of programming and development Randy Pope. The newly hired Holcomb, whose resume includes a stint as COO of the Documentary Channel, has spent most of his career as a freelance entertainment executive and producer, specializing in production management for features and TV.

Communications industry moves

* Comcast Corp. named Mitch Rose the company's senior vice president of congressional and federal government affairs. He will oversee all legislative efforts focused on Congress and the Administration, as well as the company's political activities in Washington, D.C. Rose will be reporting directly to David Cohen, Comcast's senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer. Rose served as vice president of government relations for Disney before establishing his own firm, Mitch Rose Strategic Consulting. He joined Comcast in 2014 as senior vice president of government affairs for NBCUniversal Media LLC. Rose is replacing Melissa Maxfield, who will transition to the role of senior strategic adviser, federal government and corporate affairs. She will report to Cohen as well. In addition, vice presidents Lindsey Dickinson and Sam Lancaster will have expanded roles. Dickinson will help lead the company's relationships with the Trump administration and Lancaster will help to develop strategy for the company's congressional advocacy.

* Charter Communications Inc. named Danny Bowman chief mobile officer. In this newly created role, Bowman will head the company's mobile business that will launch this year, the company said March 19. Bowman recently served as chief revenue officer at LeEco North America.