CBS Adds Facebook Vet David Lawenda to Bolster Its Digital Ad Sales

Longtime ad sales chief Jo Ann Ross also promoted

Lawenda was head of U.S. global marketing solutions at Facebook until March.

CBS is getting serious about monetizing its digital platforms, enlisting Facebook alum David Lawenda to oversee its digital ad sales.

Lawenda’s arrival is part of a bigger reshuffling for CBS’ ad sales team, with longtime ad sales chief Jo Ann Ross, who has been in the position since 2002, being promoted to president and chief advertising revenue officer.

Lawenda, who until March worked as the head of U.S. global marketing solutions at Facebook, is the company’s new evp, digital sales and sales strategy. In his new role, Lawenda will oversee CBS’ digital advertising sales business and multiplatform sales strategy, including its entire CBS Interactive division. He’ll report to Ross.

Before working at Facebook, Lawenda served as president of advertising sales and marketing at Univision.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to grow CBS’ advertising revenue by working with clients to realize value from every impression across all platforms,” said CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves in a statement. “This new structure, headed by the incomparable Jo Ann Ross, is the most advantageous way to achieve that goal. I am also pleased to have David Lawenda join the best ad sales team in the business to help accelerate our multiplatform sales effort with his remarkable linear and digital experience. This is the right team and the right structure to position CBS for maximum growth as viewer habits continue to change.”

As part of the change, Dave Morris has been elevated to evp, advanced advertising and client partnerships for the company. He had been chief revenue officer for CBS Interactive since 2008. Morris will work on CBS’ efforts in video ad innovation and planning.

“Combining these two world-class teams will lead to a faster and more effective way for us to do business with our clients,” said Ross, who will continue to oversee the CBS ad sales team, in a statement. “I am particularly pleased with what David brings to CBS, including his intimate knowledge of how the digital marketplace works, his relationships and his experience working on all sides of the business. I also look forward to continuing to work closely with Dave in his new role. We expect a seamless transition, and together we expect an even greater momentum using the advances in data and measurement to help our clients target audiences across all CBS channels, linear and digital.”

Ross wrapped CBS’ upfront sales in late June. Volume in prime time was flat compared with last year, but it was up double digits in the morning, daytime and late night. The network sought prime-time CPM (cost per thousand viewers reached) increases in the high single digits and saw high single-digit to low double-digit increases in morning, daytime and late night.

Moonves hopes the company’s new ad sales structure will allow CBS to begin to monetize its audience on all platforms.

“Multiplatform viewing is now the standard, so it’s crucial that we have a revenue structure that takes full advantage of the many opportunities that owning both the No. 1 television network and one of the largest U.S. internet companies affords CBS,” said Jim Lanzone, chief digital officer for CBS Corp. and CEO of CBS Interactive, in a statement. “Our leading digital brands and OTT services are key parts of CBS’ overall content portfolio, and today’s announcement ensures that we will take an even more collaborative approach to growing them with our advertisers.”