Lionsgate has promoted a 10-year company veteran to COO of its television group to oversee its strategy and mergers and acquisitions activity.
Laura Kennedy is stepping up to head operations, strategy and planning of the company’s fast-growing television division.
Kennedy will continue to direct all M&A activity on the television side of the business, reporting to Lionsgate Television chairman Kevin Beggs.
Prior to the promotion, she was executive VP of television operations and corporate development, working alongside senior management on a deals including the acquisition of syndication business Debmar-Mercury and cablenet Pop, a majority stake in Pilgrim media and recent investments in UK prodcos Primal Media and Potboiler Television.
The US studio completed its acquisition of US cable broadcaster Starz for cash and stock totalling US$4.4bn in December, with Kennedy one of the dealmakers.
Kennedy is also responsible for overseeing the financial operations of Lionsgate’s television business, which includes shows such as Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, CMT’s Nashville, The Royals on E! and Casual on Hulu.
Additionally, she is one of the architects of Lionsgate’s roll-out of a suite of OTT platforms including Tribeca Shortlist and Laugh Out Loud, the partnership with global superstar Kevin Hart and his company, Heartbeat Digital.
Beggs said: “Laura has been instrumental in helping us rapidly grow and diversify our television business. She has a great understanding of where the industry is headed, coupled with the ability to plan the acquisitions and internal growth that will enable us to execute our strategic vision.”
CEO Jon Feltheimer added: “With the recent integration of Starz and our growing investment in new content, our opportunities to continue scaling our television platform are greater than ever. Laura’s strategic grasp, financial acumen and deal-making ability will be an important part of that process.”