Benson Joins CBS as Chief Marketing Officer

Mike Benson has joined CBS as president and chief marketing officer and George Schweitzer, who has led CBS’ promotional efforts for decades, has been named chairman, CBS Marketing.

In the Spring, Schweitzer will become a special advisor to the company

Benson had been head of marketing for Amazon Studios. Both Benson and Schweitzer will report ot David Nevins, CBS’s chief creative officer.

The move comes as CBS prepares to be reunited with Viacom. Viacom head Bob Bakish will be CEO of the combined company, but CBS CEO Joe Ianniello will continue to run the CBS-branded assets.

“George Schweitzer is a marketing legend whose leadership and showmanship has defined both excellence and innovation,” said Nevins.“I’m extremely grateful that when George decided it was time to set a transition, he committed himself to ensuring a bright future for CBS Marketing, and we think we’ve found the next perfect leader with Mike, whose breadth of experience matches all parts of our content business.”

Before joining Amazon in 2015, Benson was with the Walt Disney Co. for 12 years overseeing all marketing for the ABC Entertainment Group.

He started his career at CBS-owned TV stations WCCO, Minneapolis, and KCBS, Los Angeles, and later worked on Viacom’s MTV and VH1.

Schweitzer has run CBS’s marketing operation since 1994.

Schweitzer is the latest member of a long-running CBS executive management team to announce their plans to step down. Last year, PR chief Gil Schwartz left the company, This year, research head David Poltrack departed. CEO Les Moonves was forced out last year amid a boardroom battle with the Redstone family and a series of sexual harassment allegations.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.