“King Richard” Stursberg leaves CBC

Richard Stursberg, head of CBC’s English services, is leaving after six years in the position.

CBC president Hubert T. Lacroix announced his departure Friday in a statement to employees.

Lacroix gave no reason for Stursberg’s departure, which is effective Friday.

“When Richard was appointed executive vice-president of CBC Television six years ago, he brought with him a revolution that shook the foundation of the organization and eventually of the whole of our English services,” Lacroix said in his statement.

“He challenged every premise, attacked conventional wisdom, and uprooted whole parts of the internal culture. Six years later, the institution is better off than it was. I want to acknowledge his success in turning CBC Television around and thank him for his contribution.”

Kirstine Stewart, currently general manager of CBC Television, is to take his job as executive vice-president of English services on an interim basis.

Under Stursberg’s leadership, the CBC integrated its English-language services — radio, TV and internet, in an attempt, he said, to make content more broadly available across more platforms.

He was executive vice-president of CBC Television during the eight-week lockout of CBC employees in the fall of 2005. In his most recent position, he oversaw a downsizing of the CBC workforce in 2009 at a time when the public broadcaster faced a $171-million shortfall.

Stursberg also was controversial for his more commercial approach to TV programming, including the introduction of factual entertainment TV and the addition of American shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune to the CBC schedule.

He also fought for more flexible and generous financial terms for the public broadcaster from the federal government.

Bill Chambers, CBC vice-president of communications, said CBC is a very different corporation than it was five years ago, largely because of Stursberg.

Chambers declined to say whether Stursberg had been fired, saying the change is “not about where we are” but “all about the future and the way we are going forward.”

He referred to Lacroix’s statement that said CBC and Radio-Canada are developing a new strategic plan over the next five years.

“This is the opportune time to bring new leadership to English services and to ensure alignment of the senior team on the future of the public broadcaster,” Lacroix said.

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About Jill Atkinson

From concepts and smart headlines to original content and transmedia storytelling, to television pitch materials, directors treatments, long format writing, blogs and web copy with SEO, I write it all. I'm a writer, copywriter, and a content writer. My job is to help you say it better with ideas and language that get noticed. With copy and content that engages customers and audiences and ideas that make a connection with them. Ideas that generate a response. Materials that can sell a pitch. When you work with me you're working with the big boys: Maclaren, BBDO, Taxi, Sharpe Blackmore and also a great bunch of mid-sized agencies, b2b shops, a national television network (CBC), 15 specialty channels (History Channel, National Geographic, Showcase, Action, IFC, BBC Canada, + many more) and start ups who have taught me everything I know about how to get you noticed, remembered and sold. Or clicked. Or talked about. There are lots of ways to try to sell your products or to sell people on your offer or to engage them in your content and your show. But there is only one way to get it done right and on strategy. My experience is a foot in the door for your brand or your television idea . And no matter the size of your project, my commitment and attention to detail remain the same, big or small and always on deadline. Great conversations have to start somewhere. Give me a call or shoot me an email zookeepersboot@sympatico.ca Check out my work at http://jillatkinson.com
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