Christina Norman: Oprah Picks OWN CEO

03/01/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Danny Shea Editorial Director, The Huffington Post

Oprah celebrated her 55th birthday by gifting herself a new CEO.

Winfrey, who turned 55 on Thursday, announced the selection of MTV veteran Christina Norman to run her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

The former MTV president will take over business and creative aspects of the network on February 17, and will be based in Los Angeles.

Fortune's Pattie Sellers reports that Oprah's first choice was former Viacom CEO Tom Freston, whose wife Kathy is a regular on Oprah's show. Instead, Freston joined Oprah as a consultant and steered her towards many Viacom veterans for the CEO post, including Norman, who praised her former boss.

"Tom has been a great mentor to me," she told Broadcasting & Cable. "I want to be Tom Freston, from the hair on down."

"I've always had the utmost admiration and respect for Christina's innovative strategies and management style. She is a proven leader. Her shared values, passion and enthusiasm make her a natural fit for OWN's emerging platforms. We're thrilled to have her," Oprah said in a statement.

"This is the job I've been working toward my entire career," Norman said.