John Halley Named Ad Sales Head at Paramount, Succeeding Jo Ann Ross

John Halley Paramount Global
John Halley (Image credit: Paramount Global)

Paramount Global said it named John Halley as president, Paramount Advertising, succeeding Jo Ann Ross, who in 30 years at CBS had risen to be the queen of TV ad sales.

Halley had been executive VP and chief operating officer, advertising, at Paramount. In his new post, he will oversee Paramount’s domestic multiplatform sales, including broadcast, cable, digital and streaming. Halley will report to Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish.

Ross will take on an advisory role as chairman, Paramount Advertising, working toward a smooth transition.

“John is a proven leader and visionary who has driven innovations in Paramount’s advertising business that have set the pace for the entire industry for years,“ Bakish said. “His deep understanding of both the linear and digital businesses, and the underlying forces driving their change, has guided key advancements in our advertising products and empowered us to deliver better outcomes for our clients. Given the rapid pace of evolution in advertising, John is ideally suited to lead Paramount’s sales organization forward.”

Jo Ann ross

Jo Ann Ross (Image credit: Paramount Global)

Ross joined CBS in 1992 to run Olympics sales and rose to become the first woman to head ad sales for a major broadcast network. When CBS and Viacom merged, she was named head of ad sales for the company, now known as Paramount Global.

"Jo Ann is a true trailblazer in our industry and a dominant force behind the success of CBS, ViacomCBS and now Paramount Global,” Bakish said. “As the world of entertainment has evolved, Jo Ann has been on the forefront of advertising innovations that have been instrumental to establishing Paramount as a trusted partner and must-buy for advertisers everywhere. Her talent and passion for this business is only matched by her exceptional ability to lead through change, building talented teams and enduring client relationships throughout her illustrious career. She has made an indelible mark on Paramount during her record tenure, and we are grateful for her continued contributions.”

Halley joined Viacom in 2007 and has led commercial and business operations in various roles for Viacom, ViacomCBS and now Paramount’s advertising efforts over the last 15 years.

Here's the internal memo Ross sent to staff:


After 30 amazing years, I am moving to a new advisory role as Chairman of Paramount Advertising. I’m also happy to share that John Halley is succeeding me as President of Paramount Advertising, effective today. A press release announcing the news will go out shortly.

I feel very lucky to have made my career in this business. It feels like just yesterday that I joined CBS. I look back fondly and take stock of how much has changed since then. I was hired to oversee Olympic sales, a rare and exciting feat for a woman in this business. And over the last three decades, there have been so many developments that have profoundly shaped the industry and also inspired me.

 I am very proud to be the first woman and longest-tenured broadcast sales leader. And since our merger, I’m truly honored to have led this organization across our expansive broadcast, cable and streaming portfolio of leading entertainment, news and sports brands.

One of my greatest lessons is that embracing change is good, and it’s up to you to make the best of the opportunity. You refresh, you reset, you reevaluate. Through the twists and turns of television’s and advertising’s evolution, we have always risen to the occasion and come out much stronger. How fortunate are we to represent premium content with our massive reach that delivers year after year for our marketers … As I like to say, “they can’t buy around us.”

But even more important, your dedication to our clients and to each other has sustained our growth and established us as trustworthy partners. We all work extremely hard to solve any challenge and meet every need. I truly believe that you are the best and most dynamic team in the business. Together, we have persisted and accomplished more than I could have ever imagined thanks to your talents and passion. And at the end of the day, we always have fun doing it and haven’t lost our sense of humor!

With the team in great shape, it is time for change. I have no doubt that we are set up for even greater success.

John is a valuable partner to me and has been integral to our market-leading position. He is ready to take this team to new heights, and I look forward to our continued collaboration.

You have my deepest appreciation and gratitude for everything that we’ve accomplished as a real family. As usual, we’re ahead of the curve. You keep raising the bar, and I know that we’ll continue to help serve our clients and pull the entire company in the right direction.

The future is ours!

Jo Ann

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.