CRTC Slams Bell 20150325

Keven Crull is no longer president of Bell Media, the company announced today after stock markets closed. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Bell Media has announced that president Kevin Crull is leaving the company, effective today.

Bell Media's parent company BCE made the announcement in a press release after markets closed Thursday.

It appears the sudden departure is related to a story last month that Crull meddled in the editorial coverage of a CRTC story involving Bell, on Bell-owned network CTV.

After a major CRTC ruling went against Bell's wishes regarding pick-and-pay cable TV, Crull attempted to issue a network-wide directive that CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais was not to be included in any CTV coverage of the story that night. Several CTV journalists resisted and in some cases disobeyed the instruction.

The story prompted Blais to publicly chastise Crull, who eventually apologized for his actions.

In Thursday's release, the company thanked Crull for his contributions, but left little doubt that the recent misstep was a factor.

"The independence of Bell Media's news operations is of paramount importance to our company and to all Canadians," BCE president George Cope said in a news release. "There can be no doubt that Bell will always uphold the journalistic standards that have made CTV the most trusted brand in Canadian news."

Crull joined Bell in 2005 and ascended to the top job at the media division in 2011, after the purchase of CTVGlobemedia.

Crull has been replaced by Mary Ann Turcke, who also joined the company in 2005 and was formerly group president of media sales for local TV and radio at the company. She is also a director of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the entity partially controlled by Bell that owns the Maple Leafs, Raptors and other properties. 

She's also on the board at Queen's University, her alma mater, and Sheena's place, a support home for people with eating disorders in Toronto.

Other moves

Bell named other people to head up different business units Thursday. Blaik Kirby has been promoted to president of Bell Mobility, after previously being in charge of marketing at the wireless unit.

And Wade Oosterman, who had been in charge of Bell Mobility, has been promoted to group president of Bell Canada and the parent company, BCE. The presidents of the other Bell units will report directly to him, BCE said in a release.