BuzzFeed loses another entertainment exec to Facebook
Another higher-up is leaving BuzzFeed. Michelle Kempner is exiting the company after four years, where she played a big part in its entertainment business. The company doesn’t plan to replace her.
“We’re grateful to Michelle for her many fantastic contributions to BuzzFeed, and we wish her the very best,” a BuzzFeed spokesperson emailed.
Kempner is heading to Facebook, following Matthew Henick, who most recently had been in charge of BuzzFeed Studios. He was replaced in May by Lauren Dolgen. Kempner is joining Facebook’s product marketing team, working on video products that foster community, she said in a Facebook post.
Other top execs leaving the company recently include Jen White, svp of business strategy and monetization; and Greg Coleman, who left last fall after serving as president for more than three years. The departures are noteworthy for their seniority and stature at the company.
Kempner’s role had changed recently. She had served as vp of operations of its the entertainment arm, having risen from publisher of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, now BuzzFeed Studios, which focuses on making original productions for film and TV as well as original digital series. Kempner was tapped to help launch new brands like Tasty and Nifty and scale them across platforms. Earlier, she was BuzzFeed’s head of social, overseeing its franchise expansions.
BuzzFeed Studios was created last November when BuzzFeed split its entertainment division, which had become a catch-all for all entertainment content, into BuzzFeed Studios and the BuzzFeed Media Brands, which handles video for the digital brands, like Tasty. With that change, Kempner moved into BuzzFeed publisher Dao Nguyen’s group, which handles distribution and data for the entire organization.
The company is in the midst of a big transformation as it tries to lessen its dependence on the direct-sold advertising that laid its foundation and grow revenue from commerce, programmatic, shows and platform. In so doing, it laid off around 100 people, or 6 percent of its workforce, as it missed its revenue target last year.
Facebook for its part has been raiding publishers for talent lately. Along with Henick, it recently hired Shelley Venus from HuffPost, where she was head of video, to lead video for the news partnerships team, which has been paying news publishers to create shows for Facebook’s Watch section.
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