THR, Billboard CEO John Amato Resigns In Wake Of Investigation

John Amato
Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage
– John Amato
Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group Co-President John Amato arrives at Billboard Women In Music 2017 at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood Nov. 30.

John Amato is out as CEO of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, his resignation following a reorganization of what is now Valence Media and a reported investigation into newsroom practices at the two trades. 

The THR-Billboard group includes Spin, Vice and Stereogum websites, all acquired under Amato’s leadership, and he is largely credited for launching the Billboard Hot 100 Festival.

However, Amato has been under a cloud for most of the year as the subject of an investigation into his alleged influence on newsroom practices at the publications in the wake of the removal of now-former Republic Records Group President Charlie Walk from that position amid accusations of sexual harassment.

According to several published reports, a planned feature story on Walk, who was said at the time to a personal friend of Amato’s, was spiked and never published. The THR-Billboard Media Group launched an investigation into whether Amato improperly influenced the editorial treatment of Walk and a source told Variety it remained “ongoing” and “culminated in action this week.”

Valence Media co-CEOs Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk wrote that “the search process for THR/Billboard’s next CEO has already started. … Thanks for your patience, attention and commitment during this transition,” in an internal email obtained by Variety.

Amato was appointed CEO 2017 after being named co-president, along with Janice Min, of the group in 2014.  

In addition to THR and Billboard brands, Valence Media serves as an umbrella group to production companies Media Rights Capital and Dick Clark Productions, and an investment in independent film studio A24.