NEW YORK– LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – Bill Nelson has been named Chairman and CEO of Home Box Office, it was announced today by Time Warner Inc.’s Chairman and CEO Dick Parsons and President and COO Jeff Bewkes. Mr. Nelson was previously HBO’s Chief Operating Officer.
HBO also announced a new senior leadership structure, promoting three veteran HBO executives – Harold Akselrad, Eric Kessler and Richard Plepler – to the newly created positions of HBO Co-President, reporting to Mr. Nelson.
Under the new structure, Mr. Akselrad will manage legal and business affairs, film acquisition and HBO’s technology groups, as well as continue to serve as HBO’s General Counsel; Mr. Kessler will oversee the marketing and worldwide distribution of HBO networks and content; and Mr. Plepler will have responsibility for HBO’s programming and corporate communications.
Mr. Parsons said: “Bill Nelson is a superb executive with outstanding leadership skills, expertise and experience. Jeff Bewkes and I are very pleased that Bill, along with his extraordinary management team, will be leading HBO into the future. Today’s appointments highlight the depth and strength of HBO’s senior leadership. Each of these executives has been instrumental in HBO’s success over the past 15 years. We’re confident that, under their guidance, HBO’s edge will get even sharper, fresher and more pronounced.”
Mr. Bewkes said: “I’ve worked with Bill, Hal, Eric and Richard for many years, and there’s not a more skilled, cohesive or widely respected group of executives in the entertainment industry. They’ve helped build HBO into one of the world’s most inventive and intelligent television companies. I’m looking forward to working with them to ensure that HBO continues to produce the kind of groundbreaking and award-winning entertainment that has become its hallmark.”
Mr. Nelson said: “I’m excited by the opportunity to work with Dick, Jeff and my talented colleagues to carry on the vision that has fueled HBO’s success. That means continuing to develop a fertile, creative environment that generates the highest quality and most original entertainment, with a style and sensibility that is uniquely HBO’s. At the same time, digital technologies present endless opportunities for us to deliver HBO programming to new audiences around the world.”
Mr. Nelson’s Background
Bill Nelson has been chief operating officer for Home Box Office since 2002, responsible for overseeing domestic and international marketing and affiliate relations for the HBO and Cinemax networks; global home video distribution, content and licensing; film acquisitions; finance; legal; and human resources.
Mr. Nelson joined HBO in May 1984 as vice president and assistant controller, responsible for overseeing the financial aspects of HBO’s general management and international finance groups, with the areas of sales and marketing added in February 1985. In July 1985, he was named vice president and controller, accountable for all financial reporting and control activities at HBO, and was promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer in September 1991. In April 1994, he was made executive vice president, adding the areas of information technology, business affairs and technology operations to his responsibilities in February 2000. In March 2006, Mr. Nelson’s responsibilities as COO were extended to include home video and international distribution and Hollywood studio film acquisitions.
Before joining HBO, Mr. Nelson worked for Time Inc. for five years as a director, external reporting and risk management. In this post, he was responsible for Time’s insurance and risk management activities as well as external financial reporting to shareholders and compliance reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Earlier, from 1975 to 1979, he served as an audit supervisor for Ernst & Young, a public accounting firm in New York where he became a CPA.
Mr. Akselrad’s Background
Harold Akselrad was previously general counsel and executive vice president, legal, business affairs & film programming for Home Box Office, responsible for all legal aspects of HBO’s operations, including the business affairs, production and administration of HBO’s entire programming operation. He was named to this position in October 2002. Recently, he added responsibility over the film programming area which handles film acquisitions and negotiations of theatrical studio output deals for the network.
Mr. Akselrad joined HBO in June 1983 as associate counsel, litigation. He was promoted to counsel, litigation in September 1984 and became chief counsel, litigation one year later. In May 1986, he was named vice president and chief counsel, litigation. He became senior vice president, business affairs in March 1989 and was made executive vice president, business affairs in April 1999.
Before joining HBO, he served for three years as a litigation associate for Cravath, Swaine & Moore, the New York law firm. Previously, he worked for two years as a law assistant for the Justices of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, and he earlier worked for three years as a law clerk to the general counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in New York.
Mr. Kessler’s Background
Eric Kessler was previously president, sales and marketing for Home Box Office, responsible for marketing and affiliate sales of the HBO and Cinemax pay television brands. In this position, he also oversaw the development and worldwide distribution of new media platforms including video on demand and HBO Mobile. He was named to this position in January 2003.
Mr. Kessler spent the first eight years of his career in various brand management positions at The Gillette Company in Boston and at Lever Brothers in New York. In July 1986, he joined HBO as a marketing manager in the home video division. From 1989 to 1995, Mr. Kessler served as president of the division.
In March 1995, Mr. Kessler moved over to the pay television network where he was named senior vice president, marketing for HBO. In this role, he was responsible for the advertising, on-air promotion, creative services, acquisition marketing, and website activity for the network. In April 1999 he was named executive vice president.
Mr. Plepler’s Background
Richard Plepler was previously executive vice president, HBO, and an integral part of the senior management team of Home Box Office. In this position, Mr. Plepler was involved with all creative aspects of the company, including serving as a member of HBO’s program planning committee. He was named to this position in July 2002.
Mr. Plepler joined HBO in 1992 as senior vice president, corporate communications, and was named executive vice president, corporate communications, in 1997.
Prior to HBO, Mr. Plepler founded RLP, Inc., his own consultancy specializing in strategic communication and production from 1985 to 1992. Before RLP, Inc., he was an aide to U.S. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut.
Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing two 24-hour pay television services – HBO and Cinemax – to over 40 million U.S. subscribers. The services offer the most popular subscription video on demand products, HBO On Demand and Cinemax On Demand, as well as multiplex channels and HD feeds. Internationally the subscription video on demand products HBO On Demand and HBO Mobile, along with branded joint ventures, bring HBO services to over 50 countries. HBO programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide.
About Time Warner Inc.
Time Warner Inc. is a leading media and entertainment company, whose businesses include interactive services, cable systems, filmed entertainment, television networks and publishing.