Peter Kafka

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TV.com Head Anthony Soohoo Leaves CBS

More bodies moving around at CBS’ digital division: Last week, the broadcaster bought Clicker.com for a reported $100 million, and put its CEO Jim Lanzone in charge of CBS Interactive. Today, CBS Interactive entertainment head Anthony Soohoo says he’s leaving.

In an internal memo distributed this morning, Soohoo says he was planning on leaving prior to Lanzone’s appointment, and had “made a personal commitment to work through the transition” until CBS found a replacement for former CBS Interactive head Neil Ashe.

SooHoo came to CBS three years ago, when it bought his startup – Dotspotter.com. Since then he’s run the broadcaster’s CBS.com site, as well as properties like Chowhound and Urban Baby.

I’ve asked CBS what it plans to do with TV.com, the sorta-Hulu video portal that Soohoo was also in charge of, which now seems a bit redundant given its acquisition of Clicker.

No word on that, but the company did provide this quote from CEO Les Moonves: “Anthony is a terrific example of the kind of entrepreneur who helps build our business, sets us up for continued future growth, and then stays very close to CBS to make sure we’re in constant connection with the best ideas and talent in Silicon Valley. I thank him for his contributions, and look forward to his counsel in the years ahead.”

CBS hasn’t named a replacement for Soohoo, and says it has no immediate plans to do so.

Here’s Soohoo’s e-mail:

From: Anthony Soohoo
Date: Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 7:45 AM
Subject: The Next Chapter…
To: “Soohoo, Anthony”

Dear Colleagues,

After three rewarding years with CBS, I have decided it is time for me to pursue the next chapter in my life. In discussions with Leslie and Neil over the past eight months, I made a personal commitment to work through the transition until we had a new leader at CBS Interactive. Now that we have named Jim Lanzone as our new President, the time is right for me to step out and seek my next challenge.

I’ve always embraced the Taoist proverb that the journey is the reward and to say that we’ve had an amazing journey together is an understatement. I am especially proud of the product innovations and business growth that we have accomplished together. Reflecting on the past 3 years:

We’ve increased our business unit s revenue by 700%. CBS.com has increased its audience 10x and jumped from the 3rd ranked network video site to the top ranked network property for the past 27 months. We are now one of the top media properties around.
The CBS Audience Network became the fastest growing network growing video streams the past year by 206% and total minutes spent by 149%.
We’ve grown CHOW’s audience by 16x since 2008 – hitting the big time as a Top 10 food site in 2010 and winning the prestigious James Beard Award for “Best Web Site Focusing on Food”.

In short, this has been every bit an extraordinary ride and I thank you for your work in making this experience special for me, both personally and professionally. As I set off back into the entrepreneurial world, I want to extend my sincerest wishes to all of you for continued success.

Dream. Invent. Deliver.

Anthony


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