Walker Jacobs is out at Turner.
The veteran digital executive, who most recently held the title of evp of Turner Digital, resigned today, according to sources. Jacobs had been with the company since 2007.
During his tenure, Turner built out its own premium ad network, inked digital partnerships with Nascar, the NBA, and the PGA, acquired Bleacher Report and started streaming and selling the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. Throughout that period, Turner’s ad sales business became one of the few branding powerhouses on the Web. Jacobs has famously been outspoken when it comes to urging Web publishers to protect their brand value, railing against third-party ad sales, private exchanges, data sharing and the rise of ad tech middlemen.
Sources describe Jacob’s departure as "highly amicable." Turner recently tweaked its sales organization, which seems to have spurred Jacobs' move. A little more than a year ago, CNN sales chief Greg D’Alba assumed more digital responsibilities. And in the past few months, Turner further realigned its ad sales operations around three verticals: sports, entertainment and news.
Jacobs, who was unavailable to comment, is expected to stick around for another month; per sources. Turner executives have confirmed Jacobs' departure. But Adweek has obtained a memo from D’Alba issued today on Jacobs' departure.
Today the company is announcing the departure of our colleague Walker Jacobs. During the last six years, Walker has provided valuable leadership in his role as evp of Turner Digital Ad Sales.
Last month, we shifted our digital ad sales business to a vertical structure to better align with the network sales teams. As we started to map out our new direction, David Levy and I spent a considerable amount of time with Walker discussing next steps and his role within our sales organization. After much consideration, Walker communicated there was not a role of scale that he would be interested in at this stage of his career.
Both David and I respect his thoughtful and professional approach in making this decision. There are a number of options available to someone with Walker’s experience and accomplishments.
He will be finishing up final projects over the next several weeks before departing the company. Walker’s direct reports, Rich Calacci, Joe Dugan, Seth Ladetsky and Ken Shapiro, will now report directly to me.
We thank Walker for his many contributions to our business and wish him the best in his future endeavors.