Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment has tapped former Time Inc. CEO and long-time Fox executive Rich Battista as CEO.
Battista will be based at the prodco’s Beverly Hills headquarters, tasked with managing the intersection between Imagine’s production business and its latest growth and strategic initiatives, such as merges and acquisitions.
During Battista’s tenure at Time, the company shifted from a mostly print business to a multi-media enterprise, launching businesses in television production, OTT, e-commerce, product licensing and direct-to-consumer paid products and services.
Time, which spun out of Time Warner in 2014, was sold to Meredith Corp. for US$2.8 billion in 2017. Its brands included People, Time, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, In Style, Essence and Real Simple. Time’s production division was rebranded to Four M Studios in May 2018.
Prior to Time, Battista spent two years as CEO of early-stage media and content company Mandalay Sports Media. Earlier, over an 18-year period, he held numerous senior management roles across Fox. As president of the company’s national cable networks, he oversaw the multi-billion dollar portfolio of entertainment and sports networks, including FX, National Geographic Channel, Speed Channel and Fox Deportes.
From 2004 to 2008, Battista was CEO of Gemstar-TV Guide International. He was also the co-founder and CEO of youth culture digital media company iFUSE, and served as CEO of LodgetNet Interaction and formed Pontiac Digital Media.
“We are excited to have Rich join Imagine. He brings with him a unique perspective and years of expertise and experience growing and expanding businesses, and we are confident in his ability to build upon Imagine’s success,” Grazer and Howard said in a joint statement.