Univision Ad-Sales Shuffle

In the latest shuffle of high-ranking executives since he took the network's reins earlier this year, Univision CEO Joseph Uva last week announced the hiring of David Lawenda as the Spanish-language media giant's new president of ad sales.

Lawenda replaces Dennis McCauley and Tom McGarrity, co-presidents of ad sales at Univision, who “decided to resign.” In a press release announcing Lawenda's appointment, Uva said that “both Dennis and Tom approached me a few months ago and expressed their desire to move on to the next stage of their careers,” and that their decision “had nothing to do with the restructuring of the ad-sales function.”

Uva also reiterated the Spanish-language network's intention to pursue higher fees through retransmission consent. At Univision's upfront presentation to advertisers in May, Uva said Univision wants $1 per subscriber in retransmission payments in new deals, replacing those that mostly expire by the end of 2008.

Asked about it last week, Uva responded, “The cable and satellite industry and the English-language media owners have really created a lot of value on the backs of Hispanic Americans. We believe it is time that we receive fair compensation for the value that we are bringing to them by aggregating all these Latino viewers.”

Lawenda, whose last post was senior vice president of MTV Networks where he was responsible for ad sales at VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, Logo and The N, steps in at a time when Univision's strong ratings performance has not necessarily been reflected in advertising revenue.

“My first priority is to really demonstrate to the English-language advertisers that are not currently advertising on Spanish-language media what they are missing by not having a relationship and dialogue with us,” he said.

In his new role, Lawenda will oversee ad sales for all of Univision's television, radio and online assets. He will report directly to Uva, with whom he previously worked at Turner Broadcasting System. It was Uva who gave Lawenda his first job in sales some 20 years ago.

One major executive hire still pending at Univision is the replacement of former long-time executive vice president of affiliate distribution Tim Krass, who left the company in June.