Industry Moves: Current Media Replaces Hyatt; Mark Rosenthal Is New CEO

Current Media, the parent of Al Gore-based Current TV, has replaced the longtime CEO Joel Hyatt with another media vet: Mark Rosenthal, who has been Current’s board since it was founded four years ago, is taking over as CEO of the still-nascent venture. Till recently he was vice chairman and president of media platforms at the troubled online TV/ad startup SpotRunner. Prior to that he was president and COO of MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) for nearly a decade, before becoming chairman and CEO of Interpublic Media. Not clear why Hyatt has been replaced, but he will remain involved as vice chairman, a new title at the company. This comes as Current pulled its planned $100 million IPO earlier this year due to market conditions. Also recently Current ditched its search for an ad agency and the exec behind its rather novel idea of soliciting agencies.

Meanwhile, from the release, some big words: “The announcement comes on the heels of four years of explosive growth for Current Media…The youngest television network ever to win an Emmy Award(R), Current TV recently passed the 60 million cable and satellite television household mark in April, and the successful launch and explosive growth of enjoys over 7 million unique visitors each month.” Can I laugh? If they were at least sober about the changes, people would believe them more.

When the company initially filed for the IPO last January, it said it would use proceeds to pay down debt and fund general operations. Since then, the market has tanked, and Current Media has run into a bit of a rough spot, eliminating 60 positions in November last year. The company last reported results a year ago, posting a net loss of $7.5 million for the first three months of 2008, compared to a loss of $2.9 million during the same period the year before. Release

Meanwhile, for SpotRunner, this is another blow after its layoffs, and it current lawsuit with investor WPP. Rosenthal had been heading up Spot Runner’s long-planned digital media buying system, Project Malibu. The company has promoted Gus Warren as GM of the Malibu. More details on Warren’s promotion is in this release (PDF)