NBCU Ad Sales Picture Crystallizes

Yaccarino firms up her executive staff with promotions, new hires

Nearly two months after Linda Yaccarino became the head of advertising sales at NBCUniversal’s broadcast and cable networks units, the org chart is coming into focus.

The company announced today that Yaccarino promoted three senior executives from within, while plucking an evp from her old stomping grounds (Turner Broadcasting) and a cross-platform maven from the CW.

Under the new structure, Telemundo Media ad sales chief Dan Lovinger will assume responsibility for overseeing inventory at all of NBCU’s cable nets. In his official capacity as evp of cable ad sales for NBCUniversal, Lovinger will continue to lead the sales effort at NBCU’s Hispanic networks.

Lovinger joined Telemundo in 2011, and in his first two years with the network he nailed down record sales in the annual upfront period. A 20-year ad sales vet, Lovinger came to NBCU from MTV Networks.

The promotion effectively unseats longtime Comcast Networks sales exec Neil Baker, who most recently served as evp of sales for the Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit regions. Baker was the trusted lieutenant to Yaccarino’s predecessor, Dave Cassaro. The two execs shifted from Comcast to NBCU when the cable operator assumed control over the company in January 2011.

Baker joins a growing list of ad sales higher-ups who’ve transitioned out of NBC since Yaccarino first joined the team in October 2011. Former cable sales boss Steve Mandala left the company in April 2012, before moving on to take an evp-level post at Univision. Last month, 23-year NBCU linchpin Marianne Gambelli announced she was leaving 30 Rock, departing just weeks after all sales were consolidated under Yaccarino.

An NBC mainstay going back to 1996, Miller has been promoted from svp of ad sales for USA Network and Syfy to the newly-created role of evp of ad sales at NBCUniversal News Group.

On the digital front, Peter Naylor assumes the title of evp of sales for NBC News Digital, where he’ll oversee all sales efforts for nbcnews.com, msnbc.com, today.com and cnbc.com. Moreover, Naylor will rep ivillage.com, which only yesterday (Nov. 14) became part of the NBC News Digital division. 

Naylor previously served as evp of digital media sales for NBCUniversal.

“Each of these executives brings a tremendous range of sales and marketing experience that is both strategic and forward thinking,” Yaccarino said, by way of announcing the promotions. “As we continue to embrace the challenges and opportunities in a world where none of the old rules apply, it is essential that we structure our group to respond to the changing needs of our clients and position ourselves for continued success.”

The sales chief also dipped into familiar waters, tapping Trish Frohman to spearhead the newly-created Ad Sales Strategy group. In her new role, the 16-year Turner vet will lead NBCU’s sales planning and develop and implement training programs for members of the sales team.

Most recently, Frohman served as evp of sales and marketing for Turner’s sports, event marketing, local and trade groups. 

Finally, as Yaccarino looks to shore up NBCU’s cross-platform sales business, she’s brought on the CW’s Alison Tarrant as evp of client solutions for the Cable Entertainment division. (After Tarrant announced she was leaving the CW, Barbra Robin assumed the role of the broadcaster’s acting head of integrated marketing.)

Effective immediately, all five execs will report directly to Yaccarino.

“I have known each of these leaders for years, some whom I have worked with closely and others by their reputation, and have been continually impressed by their creativity, strategic thinking and ability to partner with clients to deliver innovative solutions for their brands,” Yaccarino said. “I am delighted to have them as part of my senior team.”

Word of Yaccarino’s strategic moves began circulating Wednesday night at the Ad Council’s annual public service award dinner. In one of life’s delicious little ironies, the host of the Waldorf-Astoria event was former NBC and current Turner employee Conan O’Brien.