US premium network HBO has promoted Richard Plepler to chief executive following the retirement of Bill Nelson. Plepler was previously co-president of HBO, a role he shared with Eric Kessler since 2007. As part of the new management structure, Kessler will become president and chief operating officer and Michael Lombardo will serve as president of programming. Both will report to Plepler.Nelson has been chairman and chief executive of HBO since 2007 and before that he was chief operating officer. Plepler, in partnership with Lombardo, has been responsible for greenlighting many of HBO’s hit series including Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, The Newsroom and Game of Thrones.“Bill and I have worked together for many, many years and though I’m sad to see him leave, I respect his decision to enjoy retirement. He is a world-class CEO and leaves the company well-positioned for the future,” said Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of HBO parent company Time Warner.“HBO has been my home for almost 30 years so this decision was an emotional one. With my elevation to CEO more than five years ago, we set an ambitious agenda for HBO, and I’m proud to say that I feel the company has never been in better shape financially or creatively. I feel very comfortable in taking this step now because I know HBO will continue in its tradition of innovation and acclaimed programming and retain its superior position in our industry in the hands of Richard, Eric, Mike and the entire team,” added Nelson.