Paramount Restructures Ad Sales Unit Focusing on Agencies, Digital, Specialties

John Halley ViacomCBS
Paramount Global president of ad sales John Halley (Image credit: ViacomCBS)

Paramount Global’s new president of ad sales, John Halley, has reorganized the company’s sales force.

The new structure is designed to focus on three areas, he said in a staff memo. Top executives Karen Phillips and Chris Simon have been charged with interacting with media agency holding companies. David Lawenda heads a digital organization, and senior executives have been put in charge of specialty categories ranging from sports and news to programmatic and performance marketing. 

“Our partners have increasingly consolidated their market approach and are looking to us to help them more easily activate across Paramount's powerful portfolio of brands and assets,” said the memo from Halley, who succeeded Jo Ann Ross in September. “Today, we will institute an optimized structure designed to simplify and streamline our processes, put our best people in the best position to succeed and unite us under one overarching strategy and vision.”

In the new structure, Phillips and Simon will each be executive VP, head of agency partnerships, with Phillips overseeing relationships with Omnicom Media Group, GroupM, Horizon Media, independents and new business development. Simon’s group will work with Interpublic Group, Dentsu and Publicis.

Lawenda will be chief digital advertising officer, overseeing all digital sales including programmatic and local. The teams working with Lawenda will also report to Phillips and Simon.

Also having key roles in the new structure are: 

John Bogusz, executive VP, sports; Louis Carr, president, broadcast media sales, BET, responsible for linear and digital advertising sales and integrated marketing for BET, reporting to both BET President Scott Mills and Halley; Dave Morris, chief client officer, focusing on delivering a unified sales strategy across the company’s entire portfolio on behalf of its top clients; Linda Rene, executive VP, primetime sales and branded partnerships; and Travis Scoles, senior VP, advanced advertising, overseeing Vantage efforts in currency and measurement innovation.

Halley also said Steve Ellis will now serve as chief operating officer, Paramount Advertising; Dario Spina will now serve as chief marketing officer, Paramount Brand Studio; Rajeev Agarwal will now serve as senior VP, financial operations, overseeing pricing and inventory, business intelligence and finance, with a dual report to Paramount chief financial officer Naveen Chopra; and Abhinav Chopra will continue to serve as senior VP, human resources.

“While the structural change we are introducing today is significant, this skilled and experienced team of executives will ensure consistency and leadership through this transition,” Halley said.  ■

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.