CBS Reshuffles News Management Team

CBS is shaking up its news and sports ranks, the network said.

Sean McManus, who had been president of both the news and sports divisions, is stepping away from the news operation entirely to focus solely on sports with the new title of chairman, CBS Sports.

On the news side, Jeff Fager, the executive producer of 60 Minutes, has been named chairman of CBS News, and David Rhodes is joining the division as president. Rhodes was previously head of television for Bloomberg. Fager will retain his 60 Minutes title and duties, the network said.

In a statement, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves said the company’s growing sports operation required the full-time attention of the top executive. “Sports continues to grow into an ever more important asset to CBS,” said Moonves. “As we expand our operations at CBS Sports, CBS College Sports Network and in other parts of our company as well, we will require Sean’s uncommon depth of knowledge of the business, his deal-making acumen, and his unique and positive relationships throughout the world of sports to keep CBS on top of that game. “

McManus said, “I’m especially pleased to leave [the news division] in the most capable hands imaginable and proud of the fact that our division is well positioned for future success. At the same time, I am very excited about the prospect of focusing solely on the many opportunities before CBS Sports. The role of sports is an integral and growing part of our company’s success, and I look forward to working even more closely with my colleagues in CBS’ cable and interactive divisions as we build on all we’ve accomplished.”

McManus was named president, CBS Sports, in November 1996 and president, CBS News, in October 2005. He is only the second person in the industry to hold both division titles simultaneously. The other was Roone Arledge, who did it at ABC from 1977-86.

Fager has spent his entire career at CBS, starting at the local station level in 1977 at WBZ-TV Boston before moving to KPIX-TV San Francisco. Between 1983-88, Fager served as a producer on the network’s evening news show. He assumed the top job at 60 Minutes in 2004, succeeding Don Hewitt, the legendary CBS newsman who put the show on the air in 1968.

Rhodes had been the head of U.S. television for Bloomberg since November 2008, managing the channel’s programming, development, editorial, news gathering, production and operations. Previously, he worked for 12 years at Fox News, starting at the channel’s inception in 1996 as a production assistant and then working his way up to vp of news.

Commenting on their appointment, Moonves said, “In these two great news professionals, we get the best of both worlds: the quintessential insider with deep knowledge of the business and all the moving parts at CBS News, as well as a dynamic young executive with strong news management experience and a tough, fresh point of view. They will inherit a proud and dedicated organization that has been well positioned for success in the future by their predecessor. Together, they make the ultimate winning team.”