Nelson makes an 'emotional' decision to retire, which causes a major shake-up in the company's management structure.
Bill Nelson is ready to hand over his throne at HBO. After five years serving as a CEO for the company, he decides to retire and step down from his position. "HBO has been my home for almost 30 years so this decision was an emotional one," he announced on Thursday, September 20.
To fill in his shoes, Richard Plepler has been appointed as the new chief executive which will be effective starting at the end of the year. Nelson's resignation also leads to changes in other posts with Eric Kessler being promoted to President and COO, and Michael Lombardo serving as President of Programming.
"I feel very comfortable in taking this step now because I know HBO will continue in its tradition of innovation and acclaimed programming and retain its superior position in our industry in the hands of Richard, Eric, Mike and the entire team," Nelson said of the newly-promoted team.
Jeff Bewkes, Chairman and CEO of HBO's parent company Time Warner Inc, commented on Nelson's decision, "Bill and I have worked together for many, many years and though I'm sad to see him leave, I respect his decision to enjoy retirement. He is a world-class CEO and leaves the company well-positioned for the future."
"The company will not miss a step with the new team, which has the combination of talent and experience to drive HBO to new heights of creative excellence, innovation, and financial performance," he added of the new team. "Richard and Eric are twenty-plus year veterans of the company who, as Co-Presidents, helped HBO re-establish its pre-eminence over the past five years, and Mike Lombardo has done an exceptional job in developing the best slate in HBO's history."
Under Plepler and Lombardo's command, HBO greenlit "True Blood", "Game of Thrones" and "Boardwalk Empire", which now become the network's top three shows.