We weren’t surprised Thurs night when word reached us that John Sie would be retiring as CEO of Starz June 30. CableWORLD and others reported more than a year ago that he wanted to depart after getting SVOD off the ground. Comcast [CMCSA] began rolling it out in late Nov and Mediacom [MCCC] signed a deal for it last month. Pres/COO (and recent Faxies winner) Mark Bauman will serve as interim CEO until a replacement is named. Then Bauman also will retire to pursue charitable interests full time. Sie will cede day-to-day mgmt to Starz pres sales/marketing Bob Clasen, who becomes pres/COO. Clasen joined Starz in July, taking over for retiring Que Spaulding. Sie will keep his title as chmn and help when needed. He’ll also remain chmn of Intl Channel Nets. In a note to friends, Sie wrote it’s been a wild ride for a Chinese immigrant who came to the US "54 years ago bewildered and speaking no English." He wants to spend more time with his family as well as traveling, reading and being philanthropic (he’s had a lot of practice at that). "While this old man still has good health at 68, I’d like to do so many things that I just didn’t have time to do," he wrote. Sie’s departure comes as speculation swirls about Starz’s future-particularly in light of rising costs for studio content and a reworked contract with Comcast. Starz maintains it is on track for revenue growth.

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