Music Industry News Network [10-07-2004]
MTV Networks Chairman And CEO Judy McGrath Announces Key Appointments
Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, today announced key executive appointments. Van Toffler, formerly President, MTV, MTV2 and MTV Films, has been named MTV Networks Group President, responsible for MTV, MTV2, VH1, CMT and LOGO. Brian Graden has been named President, LOGO. He is also being named President, Entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group including, MTV, MTV2, VH1, and CMT, reporting to Toffler. Graden will also serve as a creative liaison for MTV's international operations, working with them on development efforts, reporting to McGrath. Toffler will report to McGrath and joins Herb Scannell and Bill Roedy as part of McGrath's senior management team. Doug Herzog, President, Comedy Central, will also report directly to McGrath. Christina Norman, President VH1 and Brian Phillips, Executive Vice President and General Manager, CMT, will also report to Toffler.
Along with the naming of Brian Graden, President, LOGO, it was also announced today that Matt Farber will take on a broader consulting role for MTV Networks developing additional media and entertainment opportunities for the LGBT audience as well as other underserved groups. Farber will have the LOGO Founder title.
McGrath also announced that she's tapped Denmark West, formerly of Microsoft, to take on the role of Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development. West will be focused on future growth for the division, with an emphasis on fostering new media platforms.
Finally, McGrath announced that she's convinced Larry Divney, most recently retired President, Comedy Central, to return to MTV Networks as COO, Ad Sales.
McGrath said of these announcements:
"Van Toffler is one of the few executives who lives successfully and comfortably in the music, television, film and business worlds. His passion for our culture helps us maintain the rich creative mix the audience has come to expect from all things MTV. Under Van's leadership MTV has achieved record ratings and revenue, MTV2 is enjoying tremendous growth as an emerging brand, and MTV Films has a great slate ahead. With the additional oversight for VH1, CMT and LOGO, Van will surely have the dream portfolio, and a great brand platform for new things."
Van Toffler has played an essential role at MTV Networks since joining the company in 1987 in business affairs for VH1 and Nickelodeon. Since that time, he has held a succession of positions, culminating in his appointment in 2000 as President, MTV: Music Television, MTV2 and MTV Films. Toffler's outstanding, creative leadership has been an indispensable ingredient in making MTV: Music Television the number one rated cable network for 12 to 24 year olds for the 30th consecutive quarter. He oversaw the launch of MTV.com in 1995 and the launch of MTV2 in 1999, and most recently, the re-branding of CTN into mtvU. Under his direction, MTV Films has produced and released a string of diverse, original and critically acclaimed feature films, including "Varsity Blues," "Election," and "Napoleon Dynamite." Toffler's previous roles at MTV Networks include time as General Manager, MTV; Executive Vice President, MTV Productions; Senior Vice President, Programming Enterprises; and Vice President, Business Management, MTV. Prior to joining MTV Networks in 1987, Mr. Toffler was an associate with the law firm of Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays and Handler.
McGrath said about LOGO, "I'm so thrilled to tap into Brian's creative strength for LOGO -- and to extend his programming expertise to CMT and our international channels, as well. Brian has brought innovation and an unprecedented number of hits to MTV. He has been instrumental in the reinvention of VH1, which has never been hotter, and he's already played a key role in the development process at LOGO. With Brian at the helm, I am confident that LOGO will be successful and will have an authentic voice that will resonate with its audience."
McGrath added, "I will be forever grateful to Matt Farber for bringing us the concept for LOGO and for all of his incredible work in the pre-launch and development process. I look forward to continuing to be able to tap into his passion and great entrepreneurial skills for our future businesses."
Graden joined MTV in July of 1997 as Executive Vice President, Programming. In January of 2000, he was promoted to President, Programming MTV & MTV2 and was named President, Entertainment MTV and VH1 in 2002. His amazing eye for talent and unflagging creativity are evidenced by the string of hits he's brought to MTV, including "The Osbournes," "Newlyweds," "Punk'd," TRL and "Jackass," as well as by the terrific turnaround success of VH1, which is currently experiencing record ratings with hits like "I Love the 90s" and "Surreal Life." Graden was formerly Executive Producer of Comedy Central's hit animated series, "South Park." Prior to that, Mr. Graden ran Foxlab, Fox's home for new and experimental projects, where he oversaw an array of programming initiatives.
McGrath said about West, "Denmark will be a fantastic addition to my team. He brings us a unique and strong skill set from his years at Microsoft where he collaboratively worked on projects across all their divisions. As our businesses change and as our audiences embrace our brands in new ways, it is a great time for us to broaden our thinking and to have a new and fresh perspective on how we can continue to grow - Denmark brings us all of that."
Denmark West has a proven track record of formulating winning strategies, investments and partnerships. He was most recently the Manager of Strategic Planning and Investment Governance and acting Chief of Staff for the Windows Client Division at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, WA. In that position, West supported the both the head of the Windows Client Business Group and its CFO, and played central roles in the analysis of investment opportunities and long range planning development. In his career at Microsoft, spanning six years, he held a number of positions in which he helped to drive a numerous of strategic initiatives, investments and partnerships to help Microsoft expand into and grow within new consumer avenues including console gaming, digital media and interactive TV. Prior to his work at Microsoft, West worked in Distressed Securities trading in the Fixed Income Division at Goldman, Sachs and Co. Prior to his work at Goldman, West worked in Investment Banking focused on Entertainment, Communications and Technology for Brenner Securities Corporation and Smith Barney. He received both an AB and an MBA from Harvard University.
McGrath said about Divney, "In addition to our great creative success, MTV Networks is having an incredible year on the sales side. There is no one better to help keep the momentum going and to take it to the next level - than Larry. We're bringing him back to his ad sales roots and I am confident that with his expertise we will exceed the phenomenal growth we've seen this year. And, aside from the fact that we were really missing him, I think he realized that farming is way overrated."
An integral part of Comedy Central since its inception in 1991, Larry Divney retired his post as President, Comedy Central in June, 2004. During his time as President of Comedy Central, the network added nearly 30 million subscribers to end 2003 with 85 million subs and doubled total revenue during his tenure. Divney entered the fledgling cable industry in 1981 when he joined MTV as its first vice president of advertising sales. Over his career, he also worked at the Cable Health Network (now Lifetime) as the vice president of market development and sales, CNN as vice president national sales manager for CNN and CNN Headline News and A&E as SVP Ad Sales. Before cable, Divney spent 15 years in the radio business in various sales and management capacities.
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