Ending weeks of speculation, Hulu announced Thursday that the board of the Web video venture has appointed Mike Hopkins as CEO.
Hopkins, a Hulu board member since 2011 who has been serving as president of distribution for Fox Networks Group since 2008, starts immediately and will be based at Hulu’s Los Angeles headquarters, the company announced.
Andy Forssell, who has served as acting CEO since March, will be leaving Hulu, the streaming video service that is jointly owned by 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal and counts more than 4 million paying subscribers.
“After an extensive search, Mike was simply the best candidate for the job. He has a strong understanding of programming, digital distribution and consumer behavior, and a great vision for Hulu’s next chapter,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, in a statement.
“On behalf of the Hulu board I want to thank Andy Forssell for his leadership during this past year, and for the vital role he played in building Hulu into the amazing product it is today. We wish him the best on his next venture,” added Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. “With Mike’s appointment, and its owners fully aligned and committed to seizing the incredible opportunities that lie ahead, we look forward to a very bright future for Hulu.”
Hopkins’ name has been in the mix for the top job at Hulu ever since its owners opted to keep Hulu and plow $750 million into the J.V. Bloomberg reported last week that the job was all but his. Others rumored to be interested in the post included include Erik Huggers, the current head of Intel Media’s “virtual” MSO service, and departing NBCUniversal exec Lauren Zalaznick.
In an email to Hulu staffers posted on the company blog, Hopkins said it was time to move forward and grow the business, while also tacking on some revenue guidance.
“The fact is, through all the recent uncertainty not only have you kept this business together, but you’ve continued to deliver on every key performance metric. In fact, you are delivering one of the strongest years Hulu has ever seen: We expect revenues to be close to a billion dollars this year, and Hulu Plus subscribers continue to climb,” he wrote.