A&E Networks Said to Tap JPMorgan Media Banker as New CFO

David Granville-Smith, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s media investment banker, is joining A&E Television Networks LLC as chief financial officer, said two people with knowledge of the situation.

Granville-Smith, also known as “Digger,” resigned last week as a managing director at JPMorgan, where he oversaw the media investment banking group, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the job change hasn’t been announced.

Nancy Dubuc, chief executive officer of the company, which goes by A+E Networks, is hiring Granville-Smith to bring new thinking into the senior executive team, one person said. While A+E Networks, a joint venture between Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and Hearst Corp., isn’t seeking immediate acquisitions, it wants to create new networks out of its less-watched channels, the person said.

As the pay-TV business evolves, with more people viewing programming on the web, Dubuc was seeking a finance chief who could offer strategic advice, said the person.

With Granville-Smith, A+E Networks is gaining an executive who has worked on large media deals. At JPMorgan, he advised A+E Networks on the repurchase of a stake held by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBCUniversal in 2012. He also represented Madison Square Garden Inc. (MSG) on the sale of its Fuse TV network.

The hiring requires the approval of A+E Network’s board, which is scheduled to meet in a couple weeks, said one of the people. Granville-Smith is expected to start in July.

Michael Feeney, a spokesman for New York-based A+E Networks, declined to comment, as did Tasha Pelio, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan. Granville-Smith didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Gerard Gruosso, who has been A+E Network’s finance chief since 2002, announced his retirement two months ago, according to an internal company memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Gruosso is remaining through a transition period.

A+E Networks operates the A&E, History and Lifetime channels, which carry the popular “Duck Dynasty” and “Pawn Stars” series.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net; Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net Elizabeth Wollman, Rob Golum

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