Spot Runner Loses Key Exec to Current Media

NEW YORK Spot Runner suffered another blow as Mark Rosenthal has departed to take the chief executive post at Current Media.
 
Rosenthal (pictured), a former executive at Interpublic Group and MTV, led Spot Runner’s Project Malibu initiative, a media-buying platform the once highly hyped company has been pinning its hopes on. Spot Runner in recent months has suffered rounds of layoffs and been hit with a lawsuit by investor WPP accusing its founders of operating a “pump and dump” scheme that enriched them while the company lost $80 million over two years.
 
At Current, Rosenthal replaces CEO Joel Hyatt, who will become vice chairman. Rosenthal has been on Current’s board of directors for four years. He starts his new job July 27, according to the company.
 
The cable network, which counts Al Gore as a founder, has endured its own ups and downs. It recently drew attention with a high-profile pitch to hire a new ad agency conducted through Twitter. The review ended up being scrapped and the marketing executive in charge left the company.
 
Spot Runner said Gus Warren, formerly vp, media partner, sales and development, would step in as general manager of the Malibu group. Rosenthal held the titles of president of media platforms and vice chairman.

Rosenthal joined the company in April 2008 after serving as CEO of Interpublic Media. Earlier, he was CEO of MTV Networks for nearly a decade.
 
He now joins Joanne Bradford as a high-profile Spot Runner hire to depart after a short stint. Bradford, who was Microsoft’s top advertising executive, left Spot Runner after just six months spent leading its national sales efforts.

Spot Runner is in the midst of the messy WPP lawsuit. This week, it filed a motion requesting the suit’s dismissal, claiming WPP does not have legal standing to pursue it, and was alerted to company insiders selling shares in the firm to new investors. Moreover, the filing asserts that WPP is far from the victim, as a “large, sophisticated and experienced communications company that took a chance on a small start-up company.”
 
A Spot Runner spokesperson said Rosenthal’s departure would not affect the launch of Malibu, slated for the fall.