Univision Names Ad Sales Chief

NEW YORK David Lawenda’s appointment to the newly created position of president of advertising sales at Univision is a second homecoming, of sorts, for the sales veteran and Joe Uva, CEO of the largest Spanish-language media company in the U.S.

“Twenty years ago, Joe gave me my first sales job at Turner Broadcasting, and I worked for Joe for six years on the news side at CNN and Headline News,” said Lawenda.

And like that job and his subsequent executive posts, most recently as senior vice president of Viacom’s MTVN—responsible for ad sales for VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, Logo and The N—Lawenda, 40, now will be tasked with developing a fully integrated sales structure covering the entire Univision portfolio: Univision, TeleFutura and Galavision networks; Univision Radio; and Univision Online. He will be based in New York and report to Uva.

Dennis McCauley and Tom Garrity, longtime co-presidents of advertising sales for the Univision Networks, are leaving. Their last day will be Sept. 30, but they will remain as consultants during the transition.

Many consider the move to be Uva’s overall stamp at the network after taking over as CEO for Jerry Perrenchio, the media-reluctant executive who held an intractable reign at Univision for 15 years.

Citing today as “my first day on the job” when asked about new initiatives he’d like to see in place at Univision, Lawenda instead referred to the emotional connection Latino viewers have with the media group and how that can create more opportunities for cross-platform initiatives between consumers and marketers.

“[My past experience] is not with the Hispanic consumer base, but my six years at the MTV Networks was all about showing the emotional connection that our network had with our audiences, from Nickelodeon’s early connection to kids and MTV’s connection to teens and more specifically to me and my former responsibilities,” he said. “I’ve led a team that was responsible for reconditioning and rebranding CNN as a network for men. Prior to Spike, there really wasn’t a marketplace for men. We created one. If you were buying for men, you bought sports. You didn’t think about cable networks in connecting with that audience.”

He said the biggest difference would be the size of the Univision network audience, which reaches 99 percent of U.S. Hispanic households, according to internal research, not counting the other networks, radio and online.

Uva sees new strategic partnerships forming under Lawenda’s direction, including a more strategic approach to more original broadband content at Univision.com.