In a statement released Thursday afternoon, George Cope, BCE’s president and CEO, announced that Mr. Crull “departs Bell with our thanks for his contributions to our customers and shareholders.
“Kevin has been a significant part of Bell’s strategic transformation as he expanded Bell Media’s leadership with major new investments in Canadian content, the successful integration of Astral and competitive innovations like CraveTV,” Mr. Cope said.
“However, the independence of Bell Media’s news operations is of paramount importance to our company and to all Canadians. There can be no doubt that Bell will always uphold the journalistic standards that have made CTV the most trusted brand in Canadian news,” he added.
Bell Media is a division of BCE Inc., which also owns 15 per cent of The Globe and Mail. Mr. Crull has been the shareholder representative on The Globe’s board of directors for BCE.
The Globe and Mail first reported that Mr. Crull intervened with Wendy Freeman, the president of CTV News, over the broadcaster’s coverage of a Mar. 19 decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
According to sources, a frustrated Mr. Crull had insisted that the CRTC’s chairman, Jean-Pierre Blais, should not appear in coverage of the story on Bell-owned networks. An interview with Mr. Blais was cancelled and footage of him did not appear on CTV’s dinner-hour news reports. But Ms. Freeman and senior journalists at the network decided to defy Mr. Crull’s order, and included Mr. Blais in a story on the national newscast at 11 p.m. that night.
On Mar. 25, the day The Globe published its initial story on the incident, Mr. Crull apologized for his “mistake,” saying that “It was wrong of me to be anything but absolutely clear that editorial control always rests with the news team,” and that he had “re-learned a valuable lesson.”
That same day, Mr. Blais released an unusual and strongly-worded statement describing Mr. Crull’s actions as “disturbing.”
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