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Sarnoff Taking Over for Scannell at BBC

21 May, 2015 By: John Latchem

Herb Scannell and Ann Sarnoff

BBC Worldwide May 21 announced Herb Scannell will step down as president of BBC Worldwide North America. Ann Sarnoff, currently COO of BBC Worldwide North America, is being promoted to replace him, effective Aug. 1. Scannell will remain with the company through the summer to aid in the transition.

Scannell joined the company in June 2010, leading a 50% increase in overall revenue and helping build the BBC America cable channel. Under Scannell’s leadership, strategic digital content sales increased exponentially — most recently overtaking linear content sales for the first time ever. BBC.com currently enjoys an average of 40.6 million users per month in the United States and Canada.

"Herb is a visionary and passionate executive who has rapidly grown and fundamentally transformed the North American business," said Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Worldwide. "He molded cable channel BBC America into an attractive brand and destination for viewers, moved the TV and digital content sales into high growth, and diversified the L.A. production business. We will miss him as a leader and colleague.”

Scannell spent much of his career at Viacom. As vice chairman of MTV Networks and president of Nickelodeon Networks, he oversaw all creative and business operations for a portfolio of brands including Nickelodeon, TV Land and Spike TV. In 2006 he left Viacom to launch Next New Networks, which was sold to Google in 2011.

“The company has a bright future, in no small measure because of the extraordinary talent and leadership of Ann Sarnoff. I have worked side-by-side with Ann for over 10 years — both here and at Viacom — and it’s been one of the most fruitful partnerships of my career," Scannell said.

Sarnoff has overseen most major revenue streams for the company since joining in 2010, including ad sales and affiliate sales for BBC America and BBC World News (until the end of 2014), TV and digital content sales, BBC.com, and home entertainment and licensing. She has also led cross-business franchise development for key global brands such as "Doctor Who," "Top Gear" and "BBC Earth." Sarnoff oversaw negotiations around major MVPD deals for BBC America, resulting in an increase in distribution from 68 million subscribers to 80 million; led the charge on the first-ever Twitter Amplify deal for BBC America; spearheaded the BBC.com features section strategy; and launched the first-ever conference for BBC.com, BBC Future: World-Changing Ideas Summit.

“We will continue to leverage the power of the BBC brand and the rich assets we have to grow across platforms," Sarnoff said.

Prior to joining BBC Worldwide North America as COO in 2010, Sarnoff held senior executive roles in media including president of Dow Jones Ventures, where she launched new digital products and oversaw the creation of The Wall Street Journal executive conference business, and EVP of Nickelodeon Consumer Products and Business Development, where she developed "Rugrats" and "Blue’s Clues" into large off-air franchises and helped launch new cable channels TV Land and Noggin.

“Ann, who has been Herb's collaborative partner, is well positioned to take over the reins," Davie said. "As the media business continues to change at warp speed, Ann's proven leadership coupled with her solid strategic and creative business sense will be a great asset to the company as she and the team move the business towards new heights."

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