Emilio Romano has resigned from his post as Telemundo’s president two years after joining the network, according to Joe Uva, NBCUniversal’s chairman of Hispanic enterprises and content, in a statement to employees.
“After a successful two years, Emilio Romano has decided to leave the company,” Uva said. “I want to personally thank Emilio for his contributions to Telemundo Media. His focus on positioning Telemundo to take share from Univision, and mun2 to better resonate with the rapidly growing millennial population has established a foundation for growth.”
The appointment of Romano came with the prospects that the veteran of media and major non-media companies would help turn around Telemundo’s profile in the competitive Spanish-language TV space which has for years been dominated by Univision Communications.
Sources say Romano had philosophical differences with Uva over the company’s direction. Romano has long been vocal in voicing his strategy of making Telemundo a Spanish-language media powerhouse, while sources say Uva believes in a more bilingual approach.
That Romano’s departure from Telemundo came as something of surprise is evident by his Q&A in Billboard’s current issue. There, Romano discussed his plans for improving the network, securing more talent and ringing the NASDAQ bell on Telemundo’s 25th anniversary.
Romano began work at Telemundo Media in October 2011 as the replacement for president Don Browne, the veteran NBC executive who had retired four months earlier. The network, during Browne’s reign, did not achieve some of its original programming goals at the time. However, with Romano on board, the network’s campaign to grow and become a stronger competitor in Television was beginning to take shape.
At the time of his appointment in 2011, executives at Telemundo said that, after an extensive search, Roman was their No. 1 pick. Lauren Zalaznick, who at the time was chairman of NBCUniversal entertainment and digital networks and integrated media, said that Romano was the top choice for his passion and experience.
Zalaznick, one of the principal forces behind the successful cable channel Bravo, announced last week that she was leaving the company, which has been undergoing changes as NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke brings in a new pool of executives.
Romano initially reported to Zalaznick. Then, six months ago, NBCUniversal created a Hispanic enterprises and content division whose mandate was to supervise all Hispanic content efforts across NBCUniversal. This included content on Telemundo and mun2, the company’s Spanish language networks, but it also includes Hispanic content efforts in English language mainstream channels like NBC and Bravo. The person put in charge of that division was Joe Uva, the former chairman of Univision Communications. As part of his duties, Uva supervised Telemundo and mun2, with Romano reporting directly to him.
The newest addition to the division is Cesar Conde, the former president of Univision networks, who was recently appointed as EVP of NBCUniversal and who reports directly to Burke. Multiple sources say Romano’s resignation is not related to Conde’s new position, which is completely unrelated to Romano’s post.
The 48-year-old Romano, a native of Mexico City, was in charge of the Telemundo broadcast network that included several divisions such as entertainment, news and sports as well as overseeing 14 owned TV stations. Additionally, he was tapped to oversee the bilingual cable network mun2, which in recent years has grown its audience thanks to reality programming.
Romano, who earlier in his career was an executive at Televisa, is a former attorney. He also served on Univision’s board. Four years before joining Telemundo he was an executive of Grupo Mexicana de Aviacion.
There has been speculation that Romano could go to the position vacated by Conde in Univision, but it is simply speculation.