Jo Ann Ross Lines Up ViacomCBS Ad Sales Leadership Team

Other senior execs depart as she integrates the CBS and Viacom units

John Halley, Karen Phillips and David Lawenda are among the members of ViacomCBS ad sales' senior leadership team. - Credit by Viacom, CBS
Headshot of Jason Lynch

A month after the CBS-Viacom merger was finalized, ad sales chief Jo Ann Ross has set the members of ViacomCBS’ senior leadership team who will head up the combined company’s market strategy.

Meanwhile, several longtime senior ad sales execs will be leaving the company as Ross integrates the CBS and Viacom teams.

Ross, the longtime CBS ad sales chief who was selected for the ViacomCBS job in October over Sean Moran, her Viacom counterpart, said in a staff memo today that the new team “will bring their specific areas of expertise together and work to ensure our partners have seamless access to the unmatched capabilities that ViacomCBS has to offer.”

As announced in October, Viacom’s John Halley is Ross’ No. 2, serving as chief operating officer, advertising revenue, and evp, advanced marketing solutions, ViacomCBS. His direct reports are Russ Behrman, evp, sales strategy, planning and administration, Mike Dean, svp, advanced advertising and automation (he’ll lead the company’s advanced advertising efforts, including Vantage) and Dario Spina, evp and cmo, Viacom Velocity.

John Bogusz will continue to head up sports sales across CBS and CBS Sports Network as evp, sports sales and marketing, CBS Network sales.

Louis Carr will continue as president, media sales, BET, reporting to Ross and BET president Scott Mills.

Steve Ellis remains as evp, ad strategy and business development, Viacom CBS.

David Lawenda, who had been evp, digital sales and sales strategy at CBS, will now be evp, sales, digital video and interactive for ViacomCBS, heading up digital video and branded content across all platforms, in addition to social influencer sales. He’ll also oversee ad sales at Pluto TV alongside Pluto CEO Tom Ryan.

Dave Morris, who had been svp, advanced advertising and client partnerships, CBS, will now be evp, chief client officer, ViacomCBS, focusing on delivering a unified sales strategy for the company’s top 50 key clients.

Karen Phillips, previously evp, ad solutions for Viacom, will now serve as evp, convergent sales, ViacomCBS, handling multi-platform sales across the company’s cable brands, and overseeing the convergent sales teams in Chicago, Detroit and L.A.

Linda Rene will remain as evp, prime time sales and innovation, CBS Network sales, heading up prime time sales and branded entertainment.

Chris Simon continues as evp, network sales, CBS Television Network, leading client partnerships and linear sales for all dayparts, and overseeing the CBS sales offices in Chicago, Detroit and L.A.

With Ross’ leadership team in place, that means several other top ad sales execs will be leaving the company as part of the integration. Those departing include Valerie Bischak, evp of ad solutions, Viacom, Mary Ellen Bottone, svp, ad sales, Smithsonian Channel, Rich Calacci, cro, Pluto TV, Michael DuPont, evp, ad sales, Pop TV, Bryson Gordon, evp, advanced advertising, Viacom and David Paschkes, evp and managing director, CBS Experiences.

This is Ross’ first stage of integrating the two ad sales teams since she was tapped for the top job in October. Additional layoffs are expected as the CBS and Viacom ad sales teams continue to merge.


@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV/Media Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.
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