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Nick Khan’s makeover of WWE corporate continues

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Premiere Of “One Night: Joshua Vs. Ruiz” Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

WWE President Nick Khan hasn’t (and almost certainly won’t, for a number of reasons) responded to AEW President Tony Khan’s promo on him from last week. He’s been busy.

One of the things he’s been busy doing is putting his stamp on Vince McMahon’s company. Just days after we heard about consolidation and layoffs in WWE’s production and digital departments, the company announced three new hires today (June 1), included a new head man for WWE Studios and the entire digital team.

Here’s the presser:

WWE® ANNOUNCES JAMIE HOROWITZ, SAMIRA SHAH & MATT DREW TO JOIN SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM

STAMFORD, Conn., June 1, 2021 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced three additions to the organization’s senior leadership team.

Joining the company will be Jamie Horowitz as Executive Vice President, Development & Digital, Samira Shah as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and Matt Drew as Senior Vice President, International.

As EVP, Development & Digital, Horowitz brings to WWE two decades of experience in the sports media industry. In this new role, he will oversee much of WWE’s original content including scripted and unscripted programs for digital and social media. Horowitz will also be responsible for WWE Studios in Los Angeles.

Most recently, Horowitz served as Executive Vice President, Global Content at DAZN where he oversaw the company’s original programming, social content and editorial strategy. Prior to DAZN, Horowitz played a significant role in helping to create some of sports media’s most iconic programs.

As General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Shah will oversee WWE’s legal affairs and serve as principal legal adviser for the company. Her oversight will include litigation, intellectual property, corporate governance, government relations, risk management, talent contracts and compliance.

Most recently, Shah served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Moda Operandi, Inc. There, she was a key member of the executive leadership team, advising the organization and its board on all legal matters. Prior to Moda Operandi, Shah spent 20 years as a senior attorney for Cravath, Swaine & Moore as well as O’Melveny & Myers.

As SVP, International, Drew will be charged with growing WWE’s brand and business outside of the U.S. In addition to managing WWE’s global media partners, he will work with other company leaders to devise WWE’s international strategy for live events, digital, consumer products and new revenue opportunities.

Drew previously served as Executive Vice President, Rights Acquisition at DAZN. In this role, he was responsible for the streaming platform’s rights portfolio and partnerships across the Americas, Europe and Asia, managing relationships with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, LaLiga, Bundesliga and F1, among others.

These two hires from DAZN follow the hiring of new Senior Vice-President of Global Communications Chris Legentil from the sports streamer last month, and are evidence of Khan’s mandate to transform WWE into a broader media and content-creation company.

Horowitz is the key name here, both because of the responsibility he’ll take on for WWE, and because of his past. Some of that is impressive; he’s credited with developing the modern sports talk show during his time at ESPN, where he had a hand in the start of First Take and SportsNation. At DAZN, he brokered deals with Sylvester Stallone and LeBron James for documentary series.

But he was also the architect of a widely panned “pivot to video” strategy at Fox Sports Digital. And he was fired from that job as the result of a sexual harassment investigation, which Horowitz has never commented on, but which his lawyer says has no merit.

We’ll see how he puts his stamp on WWE Studios and Digital, as Nick Khan continues to put his on WWE.