MTV President Sean Atkins Steps Down After One Year

MTV President, Sean Atkins attends the 2016 MTV Upfront at Skylight At Moynihan Station at Skylight at Moynihan Station on April 21, 2016 in New York City.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV

MTV President, Sean Atkins attends the 2016 MTV Upfront at Skylight At Moynihan Station at Skylight at Moynihan Station on April 21, 2016 in New York City. 

He announced the news in an early morning note to his staff on Monday.

MTV president Sean Atkins is stepping down, he announced in the below note to his staff on Monday. Atkins, who just joined the Viacom cable network in September of 2015, said he would stay on through January to consult on the transition.

Atkins replaced longtime executive Stephen Friedman, who opted last year not to renew his contract, after serving as MTV president since 2011 and had been with the company since 1998. The new MTV president joined from Discovery Communications, where he had served as GM and exec vp digital media strategy. Prior to Discovery Atkins was senior vp digital media at HBO where he helped conceptualize what became HBOGo and was before that head of programming and development at Yahoo Entertainment.

Atkins' departure is just the latest exit from MTV, which in 2015 saw president of programming Susanne Daniels leave for a similar post at YouTube and MTV Networks Music & Logo Group president Van Toffler leave in February of that year after a 28-year run at the company.

When he joined MTV, Viacom Music and Entertainment Group president Doug Herzog said of Atkins, “Sean is smart, creative, passionate and remarkably energized about the sea change at hand in our industry. The strength of MTV lies in its ability to constantly reinvent, and Sean’s forward-thinking, versatile leadership will ensure our brand and business continue to evolve and deliver for our audience.”

Viacom and CBS Corp., both controlled by Sumner Redstone's National Amusements, are currently exploring a possible recombination.

More to come…

Read Atkins' note to his staff below.

I apologize for the shock to your Monday morning, but I have some news to share that will come as a surprise. I have decided to step down from my post as President of MTV.  I’ll be consulting on the transition through January in an advisory role.
I will leave it to Doug to fill you in on the details, but suffice it to say this was in no way an easy decision for me.  This has been an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience, and I thank every single one of you for that.  I am so proud of what this team has accomplished together.  We’ve filled the creative pipeline with so many new projects and producers.  Amazing projects like Sweet/Vicious, Stranded with a Million Bucks, Signed and Going Off are just around the corner. We’ve moved aggressively to recapture music as our muse with projects like Made in Compton, Wonderland and Virtually Famous just to name a few. We’re taking the time and care to do smart thinking around the brand and vision for MTV, including bringing in new media and creative agencies to back our new brand campaign.  We’ve continued to invest into our future with the successful growth of our Snapchat Discover channel, social footprint and MTV News.  And we’ve continued to be an incredible social voice with our Elect This campaign and launch of our new documentary unit.  This tremendous creative effort is a recipe for success and it will pay off.
I’m so deeply impressed with the team here and so grateful to have been part of it.  You have unbelievable drive and dedication, unstoppable creative passion and are relentlessness in attacking challenges from every possible angle.  This speaks volumes about the amazing MTV culture and your commitment to this brand.
Thank you so much, and a special word of thanks to my incredible senior team, for pushing and inspiring me every day.
You will all be in very good hands as I move on, I assure you.  And I promise I will be watching and cheering as you continue to build up from the great foundation we created together.  
- Sean

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.


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