Starz LLC chairman and CEO and industry veteran Robert
Clasen will retire around the end of the year, the premium programmer said
Under Clasen's leadership, Starz and its sister channel
Encore grew subscribers by more than 20% and more than doubled cash flow. Starz
also launched VOD, HD and Internet video offerings, launched a movie studio
(Overture Films) and led the development of original programming for the channels, including
Crash and Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
No replacement has been named for Clasen. Liberty Media said
it would conduct a search for a successor and that Clasen would remain with
Starz until the search is completed.
"During his 40-year
career in the industry, Bob has demonstrated his vision and management skills
in every phase of the business," Liberty
chairman John Malone said in a statement. "He has been a valuable member of our
top management team and I thank Bob for his leadership and contributions."
Liberty CEO Greg
Maffei praised Clasen's contributions to Starz' success.
"During his tenure, Starz grew subscribers, doubled cash
flow, expanded original programming and added new services," Maffei said in a
statement. "Bob has been a great asset to Starz and we are pleased he will
remain with us for the coming months to assist with the transition."
Clasen started his
cable career in 1974 working for Continental Cablevision. From there he moved
on to Comcast Corp., where he served as president of Comcast Cable from 1984 to
1989 and as president of Comcast International Holdings from 1989 to 1991 and
again from 1993 to 1997. He also headed up two high tech companies before
signing on with Starz in 2003.
"No job has provided a greater measure of excitement and
satisfaction than my tenure with Starz," Clasen said in a statement. "It has been a privilege to be a part of such
a talented group of people and I am extremely proud of the performance and
financial results we have achieved. Our
experienced management, creative team, and overall employee base have created
the exceptional businesses that bring Starz programming to millions of viewers
worldwide. Our management team has never
been stronger, and Starz is well-positioned for success in the years ahead. I
will always be grateful to John, Greg, and Starz founder John Sie for giving me
this incredible opportunity."