Top Stories
Top Stories

MTV president Sean Atkins steps down

Sean Atkins
Mike Coppola | MTV | Getty Images

MTV president Sean Atkins is stepping down after about one year on the job, parent company Viacom confirmed on Monday.

"This has been an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience, and I thank every single one of you for that," Atkins wrote in a memo to MTV staff obtained by CNBC. "I am so proud of what this team has accomplished together."

Atkins told his teams he will be consulting on the transition through January 2016. His role will be assumed by Chris McCarthy, who will oversee MTV in addition to his current job as president of VH1 and Logo. McCarthy will report to Doug Herzog, president of Viacom's president of music and entertainment.

"Chris has infused every brand he's led with creativity, strategic clarity and distinctive talent—driving results that defy this extraordinarily competitive landscape," Herzog said in a release. "MTV is an iconic brand full of opportunity, and Chris has demonstrated the vision and ability to grow its expansive reach and powerful cultural impact."

Previously, Atkins held executive positions at Discovery Communications, HBO and Yahoo Entertainment, and was paramount at helping develop digital strategy. Atkins oversaw the launch of MTV's Snapchat channel, in addition to other social media initiatives. He also relaunched MTV News, in addition to adding MTV Live and MTV Classic.

His upfront strategy, announced at the annual advertising presentation in April, was to emphasize original programming, especially music specials and shows. Many hoped the strategy would help turn around the teen-focused network. However, despite increased advertiser interest during the upfronts, ratings for MTV have slid. Notably, its annual Video Music Awards only drew in 6.5 million viewers, 34 percent down from 2016's 9.8 million viewers.

Viacom itself has been going through many executive shakeups, including the departure of former CEO Philippe Dauman in September. Recently, there have been talks of a Viacom-CBS merger, but no deal has been finalized.