Lionsgate has promoted Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch to President and CEO of the premium network, inking a new long-term deal. He had been upped to chief operating officer in 2016 and has been running the network since the March exit of former Starz CEO Chris Albrecht.
At the time, the notion was that the CEO position at Starz was being eliminated following the networks acquisition by Lionsgate which has its own CEO, Jon Feltheimer, to avoid having a company with two CEOs. But over the past few months, Hirsch reportedly impressed his bosses at Lionsgate by leading Starz successful OTT and global expansion — Starz is currently in 45 countries and is projected to hit 6 million SVOD subscribers by end of fiscal year — and the networks collaboration — and integration — with Lionsgate Television.
Additionally, Hirsch has made inroads in the Hollywood creative community, raising his profile by stepping in to secure projects in a competitive situation, like horror-comedy Shining Vale and Dangerous Liaisons, and spearheading the expansion of the Power franchise with spinoff Power Book II: Ghost starring Mary J. Blige.
Lionsgate had been expected to bring in a programming executive to partner with Hirsch. In light of his promotion to CEO, that person will likely now report to him.
“Jeff continues to lead Starzs transformation into one of the worlds premier subscription platforms,” said Feltheimer. “He has a clear strategic vision, great understanding of where our business is headed and strong relationships that will all contribute to Starzs continued strong growth and evolution.”
Albrecht departed after a decade at the company, and two years after Starzs acquisition by Lionsgate was completed amid the continued integration of the two companies.
Hirsch, whose current contract was up in 2020, joined Starz four years ago as president of Global Marketing and Product Development, arriving from an EVP and chief marketing officer role at then-Time Warner Cable. He has helped spearhead a growth in Starzs overall domestic subscriber base from 23.5 million to 24.7 million last year. He also shepherded the launch of the Starz app in the U.S. and aided in Starzplays expansionRead More – Source