He will turn over the reins to Sarnoff on August 1, but stay on through the summer to assist in the transition.
“After five years, and with a strong leadership team in place, it feels like the right time for me to return to the entrepreneurial path I was on in digital media before I joined BBC Worldwide,” he said in a statement.
An industry veteran, Scannell joined the company in 2010 after launching online video platform Next New Networks, which he sold to YouTube in 2011. Prior to that he served as president of Dow Jones Ventures and spent a decade as president of Viacom-owned children’s net Nickelodeon, which grew to become one of the most popular cable channels in the U.S. during his tenure.
Scannell has known Sarnoff since they worked together at Viacom. “I have worked side-by-side with Ann for over 10 years – both here and at Viacom – and it’s been one of the most fruitful partnerships of my career,” he added.
BBC Worldwide said in a statement that overall revenues have increased by 50% since Scannell joined the UK pubcaster’s commercial arm in 2010. He played a critical role in building up cable channel BBC America with scripted series such as Orphan Black and launching a joint venture with AMC Networks that resulted in that company acquiring a 49.9% stake in BBC America and investing in BBC productions.
The company also produces the reality hit Dancing With the Stars, which just wrapped its 20th season on ABC.
“He molded cable channel BBC America into an attractive brand and destination for viewers, moved the TV and digital content sales into high growth, and diversified the LA production business,” said BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie in a statement. “As the media business continues to change at warp speed, Ann’s proven leadership coupled with her solid strategic and creative business sense will be a great asset to the company as she and the team move the business towards new heights.”
Sarnoff also joined BBC Worldwide North America in 2010. She has overseen most major revenue streams, led cross-business franchise development for Top Gear, Doctor Who and BBC Earth and negotiated multichannel video programming deals that have increased BBC America subscribers from 68 million to 80 million.