Michael J. Kelly, former president of AOL Media Networks, has been named President and CEO of The Weather Channel Companies. Kelly will be responsible for the strategic direction and operations of The Weather Channel, The Weather Channel Interactive, weather.com, and The Weather Channel Mobile, the largest content provider on the mobile Web; as well as Weather Services International and Enterprise Electronics Corporation.
Kelly has a print background, starting his career in 1980 at the Chicago Tribune. He moved to Time Inc. in 1983 where he stayed for 17 years. He was president of AOL Media networks, a division of Time Warner, from 2004 to 2007.
MICHAEL J. KELLY NAMED PRESIDENT/CEO OF THE WEATHER CHANNEL COMPANIES
ATLANTA – July 20, 2009 – Michael J. Kelly, former president of AOL Media Networks, has been named President/CEO of The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC). Kelly will be responsible for the strategic direction and operations of TWCC which includes The Weather Channel, the second most distributed cable network, available in 99 million homes; The Weather Channel Interactive and weather.com, the third most visited news and information brand with 41.5 million monthly unique visitors; and The Weather Channel Mobile, the largest content provider on the mobile Web; as well as Weather Services International and Enterprise Electronics Corporation.
In a joint statement, Lisa Gersh, president of strategic initiatives at NBC Universal who has been serving as interim CEO of TWCC; Michael Chae, senior managing director of the Blackstone Group; and Ian Loring, managing director of Bain Capital, said, â€œMike Kelly is a seasoned media executive who will lead TWCC in reaching the great potential envisioned when NBCU, Bain Capital and Blackstone came together to purchase the company last year. He understands how to reach our viewers and users and partner with our advertisers in order to maximize the growth of the business on a cross-platform basis.â€
Kelly has nearly 30 years experience in media and since 2007 has served as an advisor to Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a media-focused private equity fund, identifying and assessing digital media investment opportunities. He also served on the board of several fast-growing digital media companies — Eyeblaster, Visible World and American Town Network — and as an advisor to the board of Contextweb.
As president of AOL Media networks, a division of Time Warner, from 2004 to 2007, Kelly effected enormous change at AOL and in the industry by pioneering the media network strategy through a number of successful acquisitions such as Advertising.com and Third Screen Media. Under his leadership AOL was repositioned in the media and advertising marketplace and experienced significant advertising revenue growth. Previously, Kelly served as president of global marketing at Time Warner, working with all of its companies to bring cross-platform marketing solutions to major advertisers.
“The Weather Channel Companies is a unique organization; it is the premier weather information destination on every platform – TV, Web, Mobile and business to business,” said Kelly. “This is a remarkable and exciting opportunity to be part of a powerful media brand which delivers consumers the information they want where and when they want it while offering advertisers cutting edge cross-platform solutions. This multi-platform success will fuel our growth.”
Kelly began his media career in 1980 at the Chicago Tribune. In 1983 he began a successful 17 years at Time Inc., first at Fortune magazine where he managed the Southeast and New York sales offices and then as part of the launch team of Entertainment Weekly, eventually becoming EW’s publisher. Kelly was named Publisher of the Year twice during the four years he served in that role.
A proven entrepreneur, in 2000 Kelly founded American Town Network (www.americantowns.com), a locally focused and community-based digital platform, serving as CEO and bringing the company from concept to operating entity. Today, ATN is the largest “hyper-local” platform and was recently funded by Idearc.
A Chicago native, Kelly is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.