Fred SeibertA little industry personnel news today as NY-based web studio Next New Networks announced that current CEO Lance Podell is swapping roles with NNN co-founder and Chairman Fred Seibert who will take on the CEO reigns. Podell is stepping out of the CEO role for personal reasons, but will be taking over the Chairman of the Board spot from Seibert.

Seibert was one of the original founders of the online studio in 2007, and its longrunning animated network Channel Frederartor still bears his name, along with his own animation house Frederator Studios. Seibert comes with some notable experience in taking a content network from fringe to mainstream. He was a very early hire at MTV as the network’s first-ever Creative Director, and later served as head of Hanna-Barbera.

NNN co-founder Tim Shey praised Podell in a post on the company’s blog today:

I know I speak for everyone when I say that we’ll miss having Lance here every day, and are grateful he can continue with us in a key role — we’re in the best position we’ve ever been in, thanks in large part to his leadership and the initiatives he led: the launch of Next New Creators, the streamlining of our business that’s put us well on track to profitability, the deepening of our partnerships with companies like YouTube and MSN, and building awareness of Next New Networks as the leading force in original entertainment for the web, with over 1.5 billion views and counting.

As with all personnel moves amongst top execs, there’s probably something to be read between the lines here, though it doesn’t appear to be anything major. Growth numbers in terms of views have accelerated swiftly this year and several of the studios new web series like Key of Awesome and Auto-Tune the News have found mainstream success. While the venture-backed company still isn’t profitable, it does appear to be growing audience numbers to a point where major ad buyers are taking note.

Podell had good things to say about Seibert, adding that, “this company is the hands down winner in the web original programming space and will shine brighter than ever under Fred’s leadership.”

Seibert dropped some knowledge during a fireside chat with our own Josh Cohen at one of the Tubefilter New York Meetups last year, reminding creators in attendance, “there’s no one stopping you from realizing your aspirations aside from yourself.”

(Photo by Veronica Belmont)

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