Christina Spade, who became chief executive of AMC Networks less than three months ago, has abruptly stepped down from the job.
“We thank Christina for her contributions to the company in her CEO role and her earlier CFO role, and we wish her well in her future endeavors,” said James Dolan, the company’s chairman, in a prepared statement. The company said its board of directors was “currently finalizing who it will name as a replacement, with an announcement to follow.”
In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, AMC said that Spade was terminated “without ’cause’ or resignation for ‘good reason’ basis,” and that she would receive “severance benefits payable in accordance with the terms of her employment agreement.”
An AMC Networks spokesperson said the company had no additional comment.
AMC Networks had been under interim leadership for about a year, with Showtime veteran Matt Blank filling duties long handled by Josh Sapan. Sapan last August ceded his CEO responsibilities after a quarter century working for the company.
Spade joined AMC Networks in January 2021 as executive vice president and CFO, and was given the added duties of chief operating officer in November of last year. She has supervised key businesses, financial operations, investor relations and global technology. Before taking the CFO role at ViacomCBS, she had similar duties at the former CBS Corp,, and, prior to that, at its Showtime pay-cable unit, capping off a 21-year run there. Before joining Showtime Networks, Spade was an audit manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers in its entertainment, media and communications practice.
Spade had taken the reins of a small but influential media company whose size is often belied by its TV efforts. AMC has launched series such as “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul.” While best known for premium TV dramas, AMC Networks has been diligently launching broadband businesses in past months. Its streaming portfolio includes AMC+ and venues aimed at specific audience niches including Acorn TV, ALLBLK, HIDIVE, Shudder and Sundance Now.
Like other companies, AMC has struggled with current economic trends. The company’s third quarter profit dropped to $84.7 million compared with $110.7 million in the year-earlier period. Revenue fell 16% to $6821 million, with advertising revenue down 16% to $407 million.
Last week, Walt Disney Co. raised eyebrows by switching CEOs in abrupt fashion, ousting Bob Chapek in favor of a return by his predecessor, Bob Iger. Media companies large and small are facing severe challenges as consumers migrate away from traditional TV and toward streaming video on demand. The switch in consumer patterns has caused concerns about generating the sizable and simultaneous audiences that have been the bulwark of the entertainment sector and represent the leverage the companies have with advertisers.