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Kilar departs Hulu

Jason Kilar is stepping down as CEO of Hulu, and will exit the US-based netcaster along with chief technology Rich Tom in the first quarter of this year.

Jason Kilar

Jason Kilar

Kilar revealed his departure Friday in an email to staff and subsequent post on the company blog, hinting that he and Tom have a new project lined up.

“Rich and I have been fortunate to build and innovate alongside each other these past 5+ years and our plan is to do more of that on the road ahead,” said Kilar.

Both will leave within the quarter, he said, though a specific date was not mentioned. Kilar said he was working with Hulu’s board of directors to ensure a smooth transition.

The move follows months of speculation that Kilar was headed for the exit – in part because co-owner Providence Equity Partners was, through last year, readying to sell its 10% stake in Hulu.

He was said to have been close to taking the CEO post at Yahoo! in July, and by August a leaked internal memo reportedly said the company’s owners were preparing for a post-Providence changing of the guard.

The loss of Providence, which reportedly came to pass in October, was expected to pave the way for Hulu execs to cash in their shares. Kilar owns 5% in Hulu and stood to make some US$40m from the sale, according to various US media outlets.

The remaining partners in the joint venture are NBCUniversal, Disney and News Corp. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield has predicted that the latter’s Fox will buy out the other two this year to take 100% ownership of Hulu.

Last month in another blog post Kilar claimed the company racked up US$695m in revenue in 2012, an increase of 65% over 2011, and that it now has more than 430 content partners.

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