People/Biz

Knowledge Network president and CEO Rudy Buttignol set to exit

Rudy Buttignol, president and CEO of Knowledge Network Corporation, is leaving his position effective June 30 after the results of a racial equity audit of the British Columbia public broadcaster ...
June 20, 2022

Rudy Buttignol, president and CEO of Knowledge Network Corporation, is leaving his position effective June 30 after the results of a racial equity audit of the British Columbia public broadcaster prompted calls for new leadership.

A message on the Knowledge Network’s website says the board of directors “has determined that now is the time for renewal as it considers the future and how best to move the organization forward.”

The statement acknowledges Buttignol’s “significant contributions to public broadcasting in B.C. during his 15 years of service,” and says the board “will be conducting a comprehensive, national recruitment process and will appoint an acting president and chief executive officer in the coming weeks to serve during this period.”

A petition calling for Buttignol (pictured) to be replaced began circulating after an independent audit released in February revealed that in the period from fiscal 2015/2016 to 2021/2022, Knowledge Network only spent $34,150 (1.7%) of the $2.054 million of pre-license funding on commissioning works from majority racialized-owned production firms. The report also identified that Knowledge Network did not spend any commissioning dollars on supporting Indigenous-owned prodcos.

The audit by Indigenous advisory organization Castlemain Group prompted Knowledge Network to set a three-year action plan on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Buttignol joined Knowledge Network Corporation as president and CEO in September 2007, after holding such positions as creative head of network programming at TVOntario. His Knowledge Network tenure came after a privatization review by the provincial government concluded that the broadcaster should not be privatized but remain public, with a new board and direction.

According to the board of directors’ statement announcing his upcoming departure, Buttignol, a member of the Order of Canada, “transformed the commercial-free public broadcaster into a successful television and digital streaming service.” The statement touts his rebranding and expansion of Knowledge Network “that resulted in the tripling of donor revenues to over $6 million annually,” and notes that he “started the Knowledge Endowment Fund, now valued at over $22 million.” Also highlighted is the fact that, upon assuming the president and CEO position in 2007, Buttignol discontinued in-house production to work exclusively in partnership with independent producers from B.C. and Canada on the creation of original programming.

The board says it’s “looking at new opportunities to build on Knowledge Network’s success as the organization evolves and adapts to changes in the broadcast industry and the changing needs of British Columbians.”

From Victoria Ahearn, Playback Daily

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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