Sesame Workshop will be getting a new chief executive.
The non-profit that produces Sesame Street and other programs says that Steve Youngwood has stepped down as CEO and as a board member, with president Sherrie Westin tapped as the interim CEO.
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Sesame Workshop says that it has hired an executive search firm to identify a permanent CEO.
Youngwood will remain available as an informal adviser for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition, the organization says.
The leadership change comes at a critical moment for the organization, with the next season of Sesame Street (season 55) set to be the last under its current rights deal with Warner Bros. Discovery. Given how rights are negotiated, it is likely that discussions over future seasons will begin this year.
The Hollywood Reporter also reported exclusively last year that Sesame Street will be getting “reimagined” beginning with season 56, which will air in 2025. Youngwood said at the time that the organization was thinking about how to adapt the show for modern streaming sensibilities.
“We felt like this was a moment to step back and think bigger about how we evolve it,” he said.
“Under Steve’s leadership, Sesame Workshop has expanded its reach and impact globally, and is well positioned for ongoing success,” said Gabrielle Sulzberger, chair of the Sesame Workshop board of trustees, in a statement. “On behalf of the Board, I thank Steve for his commitment to Sesame Workshop, our mission, and people and wish him the best in his next chapter.”
“Sesame Workshop’s mission has never been more critical and I am honored to step into this role on an interim basis,” Westin added. “We are fortunate to have an incredibly deep bench of purpose-driven individuals, and I look forward to working closely with the entire team as we advance the important work underway to meet the needs of young children in an evolving media and education landscape. We will continue investing in our best-in-class programming and launching new resources to provide access to quality early learning to children around the globe.”
“It has been a highlight of my professional career to work alongside the talented and creative individuals on the Sesame Workshop team,” Youngwood added. “I look forward to watching Sesame Workshop’s immensely positive social impact continue long into the future.”
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