HBO president and chief operating officer Eric Kessler will exit the pay service, leaving CEO Richard Plepler as the sole survivor of the managerial structure put in place after the departure of company chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht six years ago.
Kessler, a highly respected 27-year HBO employee, will depart as part of a streamlining move to improve the management process at the company, Plepler said in an internal memo last Friday. HBO will not fill the COO position.
During his tenure, Kessler launched several memorable HBO marketing and advertising campaigns, most notably the award-winning “It’s Not TV. It’s HBO.” Kessler was also behind many of HBO’s digital efforts, including the development of its HBO GO TV Everywhere service.
The move leaves Plepler by himself at the top of HBO’s executive ranks. When Albrecht left in 2007, the executive managerial structure at the time consisted of Bill Nelson as chairman and CEO and Harold Askelrad, Kessler and Plepler as copresidents.
After Askelrad left HBO in 2008 and Nelson retired in 2012, Plepler and Kesser remained to run the company — Plepler was named CEO and Kessler was tapped as COO.
Kessler follows entertainment president Sue Naegle out the HBO door.
Naegle departed last month to form her own production company.