EXCLUSIVE: Weather Channel Ad Chief Exits

The Weather Channel’s long time ad sales chief Paul Iaffaldano is leaving the company after almost sixteen years. Iaffaldano’s exit is the first high profile departure since the arrival of new president CEO Michael Kelly, who arrived in July.

"I can confirm that after an outstanding 17 years
with The Weather Channel Paul is leaving the company," a spokesman said. "Paul’s tenure
was one marked by growth and great achievement for the company."

Iaffaldano, a particularly well-liked ad executive was executive-VP and general manager of The Weather Channel Media Solutions Group and was based in Atlanta. He was promoted to his current position in July 2004 from his post as senior-VP network sales and advertising product development. Iaffaldano had also worked at Travel Channel and ad agency FCB, part of Interpublic Group.

Weather Channel was one of the first cable services to sign up for Nielsen's minute-by-minute data and tied with agency Starcom back in 2006 for a ground breaking deal that gave Starcom audience guarantees based on commercial ratings.

One executive said Iaffaldano’s departure may have been inevitable given the new president’s ad sales background. Kelly was previously president of AOL Media Networks and a former president of global marketing at Time Warner.

One person close to the company said that the owners were satisfied with online ad sales progress but wanted to see quicker progress on the TV side. In addition to having its own Atlanta-based ad team, NBC Universal also occasionally packages The Weather Channel with other NBC Universal properties.

The Weather Channel Companies is owned by NBC Universal, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.

Iaffaldano was not immediately reachable for comment.

Landmark Communications sold the service in July 2008 for $3.5 billion.