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October 2, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Tillinghast out as MSNBC, NBC reorg continues

The top executive at NBCNews.com in Redmond is leaving the company as part of NBC’s reorganization and new digital strategy.

Charlie Tillinghast, who was president and general manager of the MSNBC.com joint venture between NBC and Microsoft, is leaving the company after 13 years.

The joint venture was dissolved in July with NBC taking over the news operation and renaming it NBCNews.com.

NBC also opted to centralize management in New York. Today it announced that Gregory Gittrich will oversee NBCNews.com as vice president and executive editor. Gittrich was formerly vice president of digital media and editor-in-chief of NBC Local Integrated Media, the company’s group of owned TV stations.

Tillinghast said he was offered a headquarters position but declined because he didn’t want to relocate and he preferred the more entrepreneurial role he had at the semi-autonomous joint-venture.

“It’s more spread out across the corporation; it’s less contained than the relatively small company than we’ve been,” he said. “It requires a different kind of executive and so I thought it would be better to let them put in a new team and a new person and go do something else.”

Gittrich will be based in New York. He’ll remotely oversee the 175-person news operation in Redmond, which may shrink as NBC consolidates its online news operations at its headquarters.

NBC simultaneously announced a new slate of managers overseeing its digital properties, under Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer Vivian Schiller.

NBC News Digital, which is maintaining a technology center in the Seattle area, named Ryan Osborn as vice president of digital innovation, focused on social media and “new extensions for NBC News in digital media.” Redmond-based Andrew Locke is vice president of mobile and devices and John Keegan is vice president of technology based in New York, working with Redmond-based vice president of technology, JoAnne Kennedy.

Today.com will be overseen by Jennifer Brown, vice president and executive editor, and the MSNBC cable channel’s online site coming in 2013 will be led by Vice President and Executive Editor Richard Wolffe, a journalist and political analyst for MSNBC.

Tillinghast, 50, said he’ll stay on through December, helping with the transition. Afterward he’ll look for another position in the area, perhaps with a startup.

“I’ve really just been so focused on trying to transition this organization. … I can’t say that I’ve given a ton of thought to what I’m going to do next,” he said.

Before joining MSNBC.com in 1999, Tillinghast worked for a venture-backed healthcare startup in his native Boise, Idaho. Before that he was employed by Micron.

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