CBC outlines the three pillars of its updated structure

The changes include new roles for Sally Catto and Susan Marjetti, and a decentralizing of CBC's media operations.

The CBC has announced a new strategy that will see a shift in its media operations, with several roles redefined at the pubcaster.

The new structure was announced last week at the CBC’s annual town hall. A memo by EVP Barb Williams, detailing the changes, was then issued to staff, as well as to MiC and sister publication Playback through a CBC spokesperson. In the memo, Williams stated that the broadcaster would take on a wide-ranging new strategy that will see the CBC “shift from a siloed traditional media operation to a truly audience-centric, content company.”

The CBC will now be structured into three key pillars: content, audience and business.

Content will be split into two areas: entertainment content and journalistic content. Sally Catto, who previously served as GM of programming, has been named general manager of entertainment, factual and sports. Chris Wilson, who had been named GM of CBC Sports in July, will join Catto’s division, reporting to her. Susan Marjetti, former executive director of CBC radio and audio, has been named GM of news, current affairs and local. Cristina Tonner, who has worked in senior administrative roles at the CBC for more than a decade, will move to this division as Catto’s chief of staff.

The second pillar – audiences – will include scheduling and availability of content, as well as “talking to that audience to help them discover the best of what we have to offer.” Richard Kanee, who has been executive director of digital strategy at the CBC since 2014, will head up digital strategy and products under this pillar. Bonnie Brownlee, current executive director of communications, marketing, brand and research will undertake the duties more related to scheduling.

Finally, the business pillar encompasses finance, strategy and administration as well as business, revenue and rights. Donald Lizotte, who was recently brought in as CRO of CBC’s Media Solutions division following Jean Mongeau’s exit, will continue to oversee revenue streams under this pillar, while Lisa Clarkson will lead the business and rights team and Shannon Carvell will handle finance, administration and strategy.

As part of the streamlining, CBC’s media operations will be decentralized, integrating its various component functions into what Williams says will be “the most logically relevant departments.” For example, digital products will fall under the digital strategy and products portfolio, and news production and radio operations will fall under Marjetti’s team.

CBC’s public affairs portfolio will fall under Williams’ remit, with public affairs lead Chuck Thompson becoming Williams’ chief of staff.

Amidst the changes, two high-ranking CBC employees will depart; Jennifer McGuire, editor-in-chief and GM of CBC News (who has held the role for 11 years) will leave the pubcaster, as will Fred Mattocks, GM of media operations for English services. Mattocks has been with the CBC for almost 40 years.

“This is a lot to take in, I know. With that in mind, over the next few days and into next week, your leaders will be holding meetings and sharing their own notes to help you better understand how today’s news specifically affects you, your show, or your unit,” wrote Williams in the memo.

“At our core, we are a content company and our sole purpose is our public service mandate… Currently, CBC is built on a traditional/platform-based model and while we do have an innovative spirit, it is sometimes encumbered by silos. We need to move to a more audience-centric approach where we are ultimately working together as one CBC. We’ve seen this shift in other traditional media companies.”