Sue Naegle, Outgoing HBO Entertainment President

While Sun Yafang rose from 91st in 2012 to the 77th most powerful woman; Sue Naegle, just like many, went the other way – from 46th in the world, down to the 76th in Forbes’ 2013 list. Well, even at 100th place, that’s still something to be part of an elite list … so, just do what you have to do, Sue.

HBO's Sue Naegle

HBO’s Sue Naegle

For those who are unaware, Naegle actually rose to fame when she worked her way from the mailroom and up the organizational chart at the United Talent Agency as its co-head of television before joining HBO in April 2008.

Anyway, it’s good to be talking about Naegle in this issue who has been HBO Entertainment’s president for the last 5 years – where she took the reins at a challenging time for the network, which was then laboring to find the next blockbusters after the success of “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.” But then last September, news broke out that she is essentially on the way out of HBO. Oh, what?


Well, she would be producing in her own company. Hmm… if we just talk about “placings” in the Forbes’ list, then don’t you think she could go further down the most powerful list? Even with HBO as her partner? That’s possible. She’s branching out. Just like a tree, her new company needs to be nurtured first for it to grow well – unless she already got that golden tree.

Anyhow, does it matter? She’s still with HBO, though in a different capacity.

Nonetheless, the smoke that started the fire at HBO, though expected, was the overlapping of work and authority that got writers and reps confused on whom to pitch – programming President Michael Lombardo or Sue Naegle?

With this scenario, no wonder that Naegle would feel squeezed in her position. And so, the plan for her to partner and venture on her own was cooked and realized.

While many point to Naegle’s experience as an agent and executive to be her “weapon” in her transition, it would actually be her strong connections and good feel that could keep her in the most powerful list.

What’s your take?