Gerrard retiring from Scripps Networks after serving 11 years as general counsel
Tue, October 28, 2008 by Mark Kroeger
CINCINNATI - Robert J. Gerrard Jr., an honored cable television industry legal professional and the executive who assembled the highly regarded legal team at Scripps Networks, is retiring from the company after 11 years of dedicated service.
Gerrard, 56, will retire from his position as executive vice president and general counsel of Scripps Networks, effective Jan. 31. He will continue to advise Scripps Networks on a consulting basis through the first half of 2009, focusing on ongoing legal matters involving the company.
Gerrard said completion of the recent spin-off of Scripps Networks from The E. W. Scripps Company provided him with the appropriate timing to retire. Gerrard said he is considering new directions for his legal career, including additional corporate board directorships and an increased focus on civic involvement.
Gerrard currently serves on the board of directors of Syniverse Holdings Inc., a publicly traded company that provides wireless voice and data services for telecommunications companies worldwide.
A.B. Cruz III, executive vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary of parent company Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., will assume Gerrard's responsibilities at Scripps Networks in addition to maintaining his current corporate duties.
Scripps Networks is the largest operating division of Scripps Networks Interactive, the publicly traded company that was created as a result of the spin-off transaction from E. W. Scripps earlier this year. Scripps Networks includes the company's television and interactive lifestyle brands, including HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living Network and the Great American Country television network.
"At Scripps Networks, Bob Gerrard has assembled one of the finest legal teams in the business," said Kenneth W. Lowe, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Scripps Networks Interactive. "For more than a decade, we've relied on his good counsel and wisdom as we worked to build HGTV, Food Network and all of our television and interactive brands into the lifestyle media powerhouses that they are today. As general counsel, Bob played a highly visible and important role, touching nearly all aspects of our business. His presence will certainly be missed."
Gerrard joined Scripps Networks in 1997 and has been responsible for representing the operating division in all legal matters. Until January 2007, he oversaw the division's human resources department, setting policy in employee relations, compensation, recruiting, hiring, retention and benefits for the division's 1,200-plus employees located in seven U.S. cities.
Gerrard also was instrumental in creating the Scripps Networks diversity committee, which has garnered the company industry-wide recognition for achieving diversity in the workplace and in its television programming.
"Bob has been a strong confidant and steady voice for all of us on the Scripps Networks executive committee," said John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks, who also serves as an executive vice president of the parent company. "His extraordinary intellect, highly ethical instincts and his moral bearing will be missed by those of us who rely upon him for making sound business decisions."
Before joining Scripps, Gerrard served 12 years (1982 to 1994) as senior counsel for Home Box Office, where he advised HBO and HBO Homevideo executives and was responsible for drafting and negotiating distribution agreements for HBO and Cinemax. Gerrard also served three years (1994 to 1997) as vice president and general counsel for the Sega Channel, a joint venture created by Time Warner, Tele-Communications Inc., and video game creator, Sega.
Gerrard began his legal career as a litigation associate for the New York law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard College.
Gerrard is a member of the Association of the Bar of The City of New York, the American Corporate Counsel Association, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the National Bar Association and serves on the advisory board of the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel.
Recent honors include being named in 2008 to the Cable Fax magazine Top 50 Most Influential Minorities for his contributions to the company, the industry and diversity; the Stanley B. Thomas Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications for his work and dedication in advancing diversity within the cable television industry; the 2006 Counsel of the Year award from the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel in recognition of lifetime achievement; and was listed in 2006 among the Top 100 Blacks in Corporate America by Black Professionals Magazine, which recognizes top-ranking African American executives and the diversity agendas of their companies.
About Scripps Networks Interactive
Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. is the leading developer of lifestyle-oriented content for television and the Internet, where on-air programming is complemented with online video, social media areas and e-commerce components on companion Web sites and broadband vertical channels. The company's media portfolio includes: Lifestyle Media, with popular lifestyle television and Internet brands HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living Network and country music network Great American Country (GAC); and Interactive Services, with leading online search and comparison shopping services, Shopzilla and uSwitch.