Scripps Plans Major Restructuring; Names Lisa Knutson COO

Scripps
(Image credit: Scripps)

CINCINNATI—In a bid to create more nimble operations and capitalize on new growth opportunities, The E.W. Scripps Company has announced that it will restructure and reorganize its operations. 

The company noted that further details of the restructuring will be announced during its Q4 earnings call in February and that it has named Lisa Knutson, who had been president of Scripps Networks, to the position of COO. 

In that role, she will be spearheading the restructuring plans and will have responsibility for the company’s operating results. The leaders of Local Media and Scripps Networks will report to her.

Lisa Knutson (Image credit: Scripps)
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“With the acquisition of ION and the creation of Scripps Networks two years ago, Scripps became a major U.S. television enterprise, able to capitalize on opportunities in the national and local television marketplaces,” said Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson. “We see the next phase of our growth coming from a focus on news and sports, over-the-air and connected TV viewing and new ways to monetize our spectrum. The restructuring work of Lisa and her team is aimed at positioning us to seize the opportunities ahead by creating a leaner and more agile operating structure through the centralization of certain services and the consolidation of layers of management across our operating businesses and at the corporate office.”

Symson said her restructuring work has three key objectives:

  • To improve company operating performance by forming an agile, responsive organizational structure;
  • To realize synergies between existing operations; and
  • To create an organizational structure where employees can move seamlessly throughout the company.

Scripps also noted that the reorganization is designed to best position the company to grow during a time of great change in the TV industry and capitalize on three growth areas:

  • The enduringly popular content categories of news and sports – to complement Scripps’ strong entertainment brands;
  • The wide range of television distribution platforms available today and to come; and
  • The rapidly emerging marketplace driven by ATSC 3.0.

In 17 years at Scripps, Knutson has served as chief financial officer, chief strategy officer and chief administrative officer, and she has led or participated in numerous company restructuring and transformational initiatives.

As precursors to today’s announcement, Scripps recently launched Scripps Sports and Scripps News. Scripps Sports further leverages the company’s local market depth and national broadcast reach to form partnerships with sports leagues, conferences and teams. 

Brian Lawlor, who has led the company’s Local Media division since 2009, will serve as president of Scripps Sports. Scripps News marshals the company’s collective news-gathering resources to give American audiences greater access to free, quality local and national journalism, bolstered by Scripps’ decades-long commitment to fact-based news and information. 

Kate O’Brian will serve as president of Scripps News. She and Lawlor will continue to report to Symson.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.