Business and legal affairs exec Michael Thornton’s elevation comes after Starz announced Friday that programming boss Stephan Shelanski would be departing at the end of the year. Now Thornton will step in to the newly created position of EVP Acquisitions, Business Affairs and Legal, where he will add responsibility for programming acquisitions and studio relations for the first-run output and library content that program the Starz Entertainment linear channels and associated on-demand and online services. He is splitting Shelanski’s duties with former HBO exec Dave Baldwin, who on Friday joined as EVP Program Planning.

Thornton, who joined Starz last year from Disney/ABC Domestic Television, will continue his duties developing the strategic direction of business and legal affairs related to programming acquisitions. He also oversees business and legal affairs for distribution of the Starz companies’ content with online/broadband distributors, transactional VOD/EST, and international syndication of proprietary original series programming and Starz Media content. He will be based in Englewood, Colo.