Executive Vice President, English Services, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
By: Carolyn Patricia Grisold
It’s been called one of the most scrutinized high-profile jobs in Canadian television. And not only did she exceed expectations in it, after five years of constant delivery, she was promoted above it.
In 2006, current executive vice president of English Services Kirstine Stewart became general manager of CBC English Television and was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, achieving incredible success for both herself and the CBC. Marketing Magazine named her CBC Media Player of the Year in 2009. Canadian Women in Communications named her 2010 Woman of the Year. She raised revenues and ratings, and oversaw the launch of critically acclaimed Canadian-made programs such as Dragons’ Den, Being Erica, Battle of the Blades and The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos.
In January 2011, Stewart took over the helm from Richard Stursberg, who had been the executive vice president of English Services since 2004. She is the first woman to ever hold this role.
Overseeing approximately 5,000 employees and a budget of $785 million covering multiple media platforms across the country, Stewart is also responsible for commissioning, producing and promoting CBC programming. Calling upon her 20-year career in broadcasting and television, she has re-established the CBC as a leader in Canadian-made television programming and has commissioned the greatest number of Canadian content hours the national broadcaster has ever had in prime time.
Before joining the CBC, Stewart was senior vice-president, Programming, at Alliance Atlantis. There she was responsible for the programming and management of eight channels, including BBC Canada, National Geographic Canada, and Home and Garden Television.
She has also held the roles of senior vice-president, Programming, at Hallmark Entertainment, where she managed a budget of US$300 million and a staff of 750 in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Hong Kong, London and Australia.
Her career in the industry began at Paragon International, where well-known Canadian television executive and media consultant Isme Bennie hired Stewart as her receptionist, fresh out of university. Stewart left the company as President, Distribution.
Clearly an influential media player, Stewart lends her expertise to several boards on which she currently sits – including the Banff Television and Film Festival, White Knights and Amfar. She is a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, selected to advise the World Economic Forum, as well as a founding board member of Culture Days.
The eldest daughter of British immigrants to Canada, Kirstine Stewart believes that Canadians have always expected their public broadcaster to reflect, engage and inspire them, and she is committed to recognizing and respecting Canada’s unique attributes.
Kirstine Stewart was a runner-up in our social media poll to select the woman to grace the cover of this special Top 25 Women of Influence™ issue! Congratulations!