Adding to the turmoil at Viacom, ad sales chief Jeff Lucas is leaving the company.
Viacom named Sean Moran, a 21-year veteran of the company, as a replacement for Lucas, who was widely reported to be going to Snapchat once Viacom was done with the upfront.
Moran, who had been executive VP of national brand sales, will report to Tom Dooley, Viacom's chief operating officer.
"Viacom has the industry's best sales organization, earning the highest regard from its partners by every measure – experience, innovation, creativity, and ability to deliver," said Dooley. "Sean is the right leader to guide this group to new heights. He has been a standout performer with Viacom and his knowledge of our business and the advertising marketplace is unsurpassed."
Viacom's CEO Philippe Dauman has been battling with ailing controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone for control of the company. The departure of Lucas won't help theperception that there is a talent drain at the company.
Viacom's ad sales have been declining over the last couple of years as ratings have fallen for its mostly youth oriented cable networks as young viewers move to digital alternatives for their entertainment.
Under Lucas, Viacom shifted from using broad demographic ratings to more specialized data to sell ads. It introduce data products including Viacom Vantage, Viacom Velocity and Viacom Echo.
During the upfront, Viacom got done relatively early. The company was able to generate a higher volume of sales, but its price increases were on the low end of the industry ranges.
In addition to Moran, Viacom says it has a strong contingent of senior ad sales execs, including executive VPs Jim Balbirer, Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, John Halley, Neil Holt, Jim Perry and Mike Tedone.
Moran's two decades at Viacom include roles as executive VP, national advertising sales at MTV brands, and senior VP, national ad sales at VH1. He began his ad sales career in the sports division of Turner Broadcasting Systems. Before entering ad sales, Moran played professional basketball in Europe and, since 2006, has been active as a board member and advisor of Peace Players International, a nonprofit organization which unites young people from communities in conflict through sport.
"Sean will be supported by a committed group of senior leaders who know Viacom's brands and their fans, as well as understand how to navigate the media landscape's constant evolution. This team works tirelessly to exceed our partners' expectations," Dooley said.
At Snapchat, Lucas will be VP and head of global sales. The messaging appt has been growing qucikly and Lucas could be in line for a big payday if the company successfully goes public.
"We're thrilled to welcome Jeff to the Snapchat family," a Snapchat spokesperson said.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Jeff and we all look forward to collaborating with him in his new endeavors. He has helped build the strongest and deepest sales team in the business and leaves us in an excellent position to continue to succeed. Together we selected Sean to guide this stalwart sales team, which will have the benefit of Jeff’s assistance through a transition period," said Dooley.
Lucas had a contract with Viacom, but apparently was released.
“My time with Viacom has been exciting and extremely rewarding. I relied on Sean as a partner and a friend. He is ideally suited to lead the Viacom sales team and I look forward to working with all of them as our industry evolves and grows," Lucas said in a statement.
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