WarnerMedia still hasn’t filled its ad sales chief position, which has now been vacant for more than a year, but the company has made an interim ad sales move in the wake of Kirk McDonald’s exit from Xandr on Tuesday.
Joe Hogan, evp of sales and marketing for WarnerMedia, is now overseeing Xandr’s ad sales team on an interim basis, Adweek has confirmed. Xandr chief revenue officer Jason Brown and his media sales team are now reporting to Hogan. Variety first reported the news.
McDonald, who had been interim head of AT&T’s ad-tech unit following the unexpected departure of former Xandr CEO Brian Lesser in March, was hired as GroupM’s new North America CEO on Tuesday. Xandr evp of product and business development Mike Welch will take over as the new head of the company.
Earlier this month, as part of a sweeping executive overhaul from new WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, Otter CEO Tony Goncalves, who had also been in charge of HBO Max, was tapped to head up the commercial unit that combines U.S. advertising sales and distribution groups with home entertainment and content licensing.
Chief revenue officer Gerhard Zeiler, who had previously overseen WarnerMedia ad sales and Xandr (which was added to his purview in April), now leads a newly integrated international group comprised of the international operations of Warner Bros., HBO and Turner Networks.
Under the new structure, WarnerMedia’s commercial ad sales leadership team, which reports to Goncalves, includes Hogan (who oversees sales and client partnerships), Amit Chaturvedi (revenue operations and product management), Katrina Cukaj (ad sales strategy and network partnerships) and Amy Leifer (operations and services).
Hogan and the other team leaders gained Xandr staffers as part of the new interim structure, according to WarnerMedia.
Meanwhile, WarnerMedia has yet to name an ad sales chief following the exit of Donna Speciale in July 2019. While some expected the company to make a decision prior to this year’s upfront, the company was instead content to have Hogan head up its negotiations alongside McDonald.
While the two companies remain separate, Hogan and Xandr’s McDonald had been handling all advertising business—both upfront and scatter—together.
“We’re taking on every piece of business that comes in,” Hogan told Adweek in May, “and we’re looking at our total portfolio of opportunities and solutions and making sure that we’re really allowing the client to see the full breadth of our portfolio.”
Last month, on the one-year anniversary of Speciale’s exit, a WarnerMedia source told Adweek that the company had expected to select its next ad sales chief by the end of summer. That person, the source said, will likely oversee both the WarnerMedia and the Xandr ad sales teams, an arrangement that seems to be solidified by Hogan’s expanded ad sales role.
Hogan remains the likely choice if WarnerMedia elevates an internal candidate to become ad sales chief, but he told Adweek in May that he had no “insight” on whether he’ll be tapped as Speciale’s permanent successor.