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AMC Networks CEO exits after brief stint; plans 20% U.S. job cuts

(This Nov. 29 story has been refiled to remove picture)

(Reuters) - AMC Networks said its chief executive officer had stepped down, less than three months after taking over the role, and that it would cut about 20% of its U.S. workforce as it faces industry pressures and a challenging economy.

Shares of the cable TV network, home to hit shows such as "Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead", fell 4.4% on Tuesday.

Christina Spade, who served as CEO since September, will receive severance benefits in accordance with the terms of her employment agreement, on "a termination without 'cause' or resignation for 'good reason' basis," the company said in a regulatory filing.

AMC Networks declined to comment further on the departure. It said the board was in the process of finding a successor.

"We thank Christina for her contributions to the company in her CEO role and her earlier CFO (chief financial officer) role, and we wish her well in her future endeavors," Chairman James Dolan said in a brief statement.

The layoffs at AMC Networks come at a time when several companies including Amazon.com Inc and Facebook-parent Meta Platforms Inc are making deep cuts to their employee base to navigate a potential downturn in the economy.

AMC Networks had 1,739 full-time and 287 part-time employees as of Dec. 31, according to a regulatory filing.

Cord cutting and a gloomy advertising market have weighed on the company's business, with shares down 40% year to date.

The streaming unit has, however, emerged as a bright spot. Revenue in the division surged 41% in the last reported quarter, even as the company's overall revenue slumped 16%.

Spade joined as CFO in 2021 after serving as the finance chief of ViacomCBS, now Paramount Global.

In September, she took the helm from Matt Blank who had held it on an interim basis after long-time Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan stepped down in August last year.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Sriraj Kalluvila)