USC Annenberg’s Board of Councilors has announced the appointment of a new chairman and the addition of two new board members – three dynamic leaders who embody success in the rapidly transforming industries of entertainment and media.
Current Board of Councilors member Mark Greenberg will lead the board. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of EPIX, a joint venture of Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and MGM. Lisa Gersh is CEO of goop, a digital lifestyle brand founded by Gwyneth Paltrow. Manuel Abud is President and CEO of Azteca America.
“USC Annenberg is honored to have these three visionaries on our Board of Councilors,” said Dean Ernest J. Wilson III. “All three Chief Executive Officers bring truly remarkable experience in leading at the intersections of content production, distribution and corporate strategy. All three have built careers pushing new media forward – at private, independent startups and at dynamic, mature companies.”
Mark Greenberg, CEO, EPIX: “USC Annenberg is a powerful force because it is constantly seeking new ideas and approaches to educating students and creating a new generation of leaders. I am proud to be the Chairman of the Board of Councilors, partnering with Dean Wilson and leading such a distinguished group of individuals from the media and entertainment industry. This Board of Councilors is committed to providing the resources, support and guidance that is critical to delivering a dynamic education for our young people and ensuring that USC Annenberg extends and grows its leadership and influence.”
Lisa Gersh, goop CEO, said, “I am truly honored to join this esteemed group of prescient leaders who, working alongside of Dean Wilson, are exploring the most exciting innovations in entertainment, communications and technology today.”
"Innovation in education is integral to cultivating a new generation of entertainment, media and technology entrepreneurs and leaders," said Manuel Abud, President and CEO, Azteca America. "USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is at the forefront of this charge and I am honored to be appointed to the Board of Councilors of this renowned institution."
Greenberg was an early architect in the transformation of television networks across new platforms and technologies. He created the strategic blueprint for EPIX, the first network designed for linear TV, on-demand and online viewing. Under his direction, the network’s rapid growth quickly set records, becoming profitable within a year of its launch.
Greenberg adapted the distribution model for film, and he has been an industry leader in bringing television to streaming and on-demand services. He has overseen a rapid expansion of EPIX across hundreds of new consumer devices, including Xbox, PlayStation®, Roku®, Android phones and tablets and Apple® iPhones® and iPads®.
He has more than three decades of cable-industry experience, including tenures at Showtime and HBO. While at Showtime Networks for 17 years, Greenberg was an Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning and Development, Digital Media, and he headed Sales and Marketing. He began his career at HBO, where he worked in sales and marketing.
He was also formerly Managing Director of MSGCI, a management and consulting company whose clients included Comcast, Participant Media and Lionsgate.
Greenberg holds a bachelor’s degree from Providence College and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. His wife, Tami Morachnick, is an entertainment lawyer, and they have two sons and a daughter. Son Matthew graduated from USC Annenberg in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree from the School of Communication; daughter Kate enrolled in the School of Journalism in Fall 2015.
Gwyneth Paltrow called Gersh a “visionary leader with unparalleled creativity and savvy,” when she hired her as CEO of goop in 2014. Gersh had previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., where she also had worked as President and Chief Operating Officer (from 2011 to 2012).
Gersh was a co-founder, President and COO of Oxygen Media from 1998 to 2007. She helped create initial strategic partnerships with Harpo, Paul Allen and Carsey Werner – as well as affiliate deals – and she was responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations. In 2007, she oversaw NBCUniversal’s acquisition of Oxygen for $925 million.
At NBCUniversal, she was President, Strategic Initiatives at NBC News from 2007 to 2011. She was responsible for the company’s partnership with The Weather Channel and served as General Managing Director of the Weather Channel companies from 2007 to 2009.
Gersh has served on the board of directors for Hasbro, Inc. since 2010.
Gersh holds a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Her daughter Maddy attends USC Annenberg.
Manuel Abud is President and Chief Executive Officer of Azteca America, the U.S. network wholly owned by Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V., and one of the two largest producers of Spanish language content in the world. In his role, he oversees all aspects of the network and the more than 25 TV stations currently operated by Azteca in the United States.
At Azteca, Abud has made philanthropy a network priority. Through its foundation, Fundación Azteca America, the network supports Esperanza Azteca, the first U.S.-based Hispanic youth orchestra, which helps students develop musical skills, leadership, discipline and teamwork. Azteca has also partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Throughout his 20-plus years of working in media, Abud has held a wide range of executive positions and has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the news and entertainment landscape in Spanish-language television.
Prior to joining Azteca America, Abud worked at NBC-Universal for more than 14 years. As President of the Telemundo Station Group, he revitalized the local stations’ strategic direction in United States and Puerto Rico, increasing their profitability and adding 1,500 yearly hours of news and programming. He was the original architect of Mun2, the first bilingual cable network for young Hispanics in the United States. Also under his leadership, CBS Telenoticias was re-launched and transformed into Telemundo Internacional, a news and entertainment provider with 6 million subscribers.
He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and an MBA from Houston Baptist University.
A complete roster of USC Annenberg’s Board of Councilors is available here: http://annenberg.usc.edu/AboutUs/Leadership/BoC.aspx