UPDATE 1-BCE exec exits after apology for editorial interference

Thu Apr 9, 2015 5:35pm EDT
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TORONTO, April 9 (Reuters) - The president of the media unit of BCE Inc, Canada's biggest communications company, parted ways with the company on Thursday with immediate effect, two weeks after he apologized for interfering in news coverage.

In a statement, BCE Chief Executive George Cope made clear that the departure of Bell Media president Kevin Crull was related to interference in the editorial operations of Bell's CTV television network.

"The independence of Bell Media's news operations is of paramount importance to our company and to all Canadians," Cope said. "There can be no doubt that Bell will always uphold the journalistic standards that have made CTV the most trusted brand in Canadian news."

Crull apologized on March 25 for what he called "an intrusion" when he tried to direct how CTV covered a decision handed down by Canada's telecoms regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, that was seen as being damaging to BCE.

The Globe and Mail newspaper, partly owned by BCE, reported Crull had told the head of CTV News not to conduct on-air interviews with the regulator's chairman.

Crull will be replaced at Bell Media by Mary Ann Turcke, BCE said. Turcke was previously in charge of media sales, local TV and radio for the unit.

BCE also announced several other executive moves, including naming Blaik Kirby as head of Bell Mobility, its wireless business, and Rizwan Jamal as head of residential services.

Turcke, Kirby and Jamal will all report to Wade Oosterman, who was named group president of BCE and Bell. He had previously headed the wireless and residential units. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; editing by Savio D'Souza and Peter Galloway)