Monday (May 23) was the official exit day for 21st Century Fox Inc. employees in Fox's film and TV organizations who accepted what was termed a generous incentive package to voluntary leave the company. The buyout offer, to employees with 15 years or more at the company, was made on Feb. 1 and was part of a targeted $250 million in cost savings. Fox had 20,500 employees as of the end of fiscal 2015, according to Bloomberg, and those eligible for the buyout were in the hundreds.
Because the buyout was aimed at longer-serving employees, the TV staffers who accepted it include at least several who have for years had contacts with their peers in industry associations and with the press, including editors at Multichannel News. Their ranks include a trio of communications executives at Fox Sports -- senior vice president Lou D'Ermilio, vice president Dan Bell and director Ileana Pena -- who, as Sports Business Journalnoted on May 16, had a combined 61 years' experience, dating back (in D'Ermilio's case) to the sports unit's first year in 1994. In the regional ranks, Ramon Alvarez, media relations director at Fox Sports Southwest since 1990 (and before that at Home Team Sports, which Fox acquired), also is on his last day today.
Fox Networks Group vice president Sol Doten, who also is voluntarily leaving as of today, has been with Fox since 1994, with stints at international and in distribution in addition to the networks group. Current distribution executives also are known to have accepted the package. Multichannel News has contacted some of them but have not received confirmation from them yet.
NEW UPDATE: Three other Los Angeles-based executives who were in at the creation of Fox Sports in 1994 and who left via the buyout are: George Greenberg, EVP of content integration and presentation at Fox Sports and former EVP and general manager of Fuel TV (which begat Fox Sports 2); Jack Simmons, SVP of production at Fox Sports, and Laura Marcus, VP of talent relations at Fox Sports, who booked and cast the myriad celebrities that appeared on Fox Sports Sunday -- Robert DeNiro, Bill Murray and Bradley Cooper among them. Also add Kim Kurland, executive director of publicit, at Fox Broadcasting, to the list of 15+-year staffers to leave under the incentive plan.
Two people familiar with the moves said that Chris Killebrew, regional senior vice president in the Fox Networks distribution team, based in Atlanta, and Rob Evanko, a VP in the Fox Networks distribution operations, in Los Angeles, had sought and taken buyouts. Neither could be reached for comment, but Evanko's LinkedIn page lists his tenure at Fox as July 2000 to May 2016. Similarly, a person familiar with him said Steven Hunt, VP of distribution, sales and marketing for Fox in Dallas, had left with a buyout. His LinkedIn page lists his Fox tenure as dating back to 1993 but ending in May 2016. Attempts to reach Hunt and Killebrew did not immediately result in a reply.
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Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.
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