Greg D’Alba Exits CNN

By Merrill Knox 

greg dalbaLongtime CNN sales chief Greg D’Alba is leaving the company just weeks before the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers.

Donna Speciale, currently president of Turner Entertainment & Animation Ad Sales, will now take on the CNN sales duties in her new role as President of Turner Broadcasting Ad Sales.

D’Alba joined Turner Broadcasting in 1986 as an account executive and rose through the ranks before being named president of CNN and Turner Digital Ad Sales in 2012. His departure was first reported by the New York Post.


Turner Broadcasting president David Levy calls Speciale, who joined Turner Broadcasting in 2012, a “respected and strategic sales executive, with strong relationships within the ad sales and media landscape.”

Read Levy’s full memo after the jump.

Dear Colleagues,

As we continue to observe, our business is more complex than ever before. The media landscape is going through a transformation and that’s having a profound impact on every facet of our business and portfolio. Technology keeps creating change and has provided consumers the ability to consume more content across more screens than ever before. This evolution in technology and consumer consumption habits continues to have a profound impact on the advertising marketplace.

Also continuing is agencies aligning their infrastructure, as television-buying groups are merging with digital groups. I’ve had many conversations with Greg D’Alba about this very topic.

Turner’s leading portfolio of brands and unequalled targeting capabilities enable us to creatively bring together advertising opportunities to meet our clients’ needs uniquely and better than any other media company. Combining our television and digital ad sales functions and marketing functions allows us to provide more cohesive support to our advertising partners and further build collaborative relationships with them that will ultimately help meet their business goals and objectives. In turn, this new strategic direction will help us further maximize our revenue potential across our entire portfolio.

However, this new direction means changes to our ad sales structure and operations. As such, Donna Speciale will assume the new role of President of Turner Broadcasting Ad Sales.

In this expanded role, Donna will now oversee ad sales for all of Turner’s domestic television and digital entertainment, news, kids and young adult brands and will continue to report directly to me. Donna has made an immediate impact on our business since joining Turner from MediaVest two years ago. She is a respected and strategic sales executive, with strong relationships within the ad sales and media landscape, as well as a successful track record of maximizing revenue potential. With her more than 20 years’ experience on the agency side, she has a strong understanding of the complexities of our clients businesses. I am pleased Donna will be leading Turner’s ad sales strategy.

With the implementation of this new structure, Greg will be leaving after more than 27 years with our company. In 1986, Greg joined Turner Broadcasting Sales as an account executive and rose through the ranks to head CNN Ad Sales in 2003. Greg was promoted to President of CNN and Turner Digital Ad Sales in 2012. From the exponential growth of CNN in the 1990s to recalibrating for a new media environment and staking our claim in the Digital Age, Greg has been a key contributor to and a constant in CNN’s success. His leadership, successful track record of sales integration across multiple platforms and strong relationships within our news organization and clients has significantly increased the value of CNN’s multi-platform brands.

On a personal note, I have worked with Greg for more than 27 years and I want to thank him for his partnership and friendship. I expect you’ll be hearing more from Greg in the coming days.

At this time the following individuals will now report to Donna, including: Katrina Cukaj, EVP of CNN Ad Sales; Andrea Ching, SVP, News & Turner Digital Ad Sales Marketing & Promotions; and John Grill, VP, Corporate Marketing. Additionally, Joe Dugan, SVP, CNN Digital Sales will report to Katrina. Dennis Chang, VP/Digital Sales Manager, Entertainment & Young Adults, and Ed Wise, SVP of Digital Ad Sales Entertainment and Young Adults/ Branded Entertainment, will have a dual report to Frank Sgrizzi, EVP of Turner Entertainment Ad Sales, and Joe Hogan, EVP of Turner Young Adults Ad Sales. Frank, Joe and Allison Radzin, VP, Presentation Design will continue to report to Donna.

On the sports side, Rich Calacci, SVP, Sports Digital/Bleacher Report Ad Sales and Seth Ladetsky, SVP Sports Digital Ad Sales, will now report directly to Jon Diament, EVP of Turner Sports Ad Sales.

Obviously, the changes we are announcing today come at an important time in our business. Through discussions with our clients, we know they’re looking to accelerate the process of integrating their media plans and have a single point of focus that will further streamline the buying process across all screens and opportunities. As agencies and clients begin planning for their 2014-15 upfront, it was imperative to implement our new structure to meet the needs of our advertising partners. Donna and I, along with the ad sales leadership team, are focused on the critical upfront marketplace and we are committed to ensuring business continuity through this period of transition.

Please join me in thanking Greg for his years of service at Turner and wishing him continued success. I appreciate your focus on the success we know lies ahead and your support of Donna and the ad sales leadership team as we move forward together during this upfront season and beyond.