Three top WarnerMedia ad sales executives, including president Donna Speciale, are leaving the company.
Along with Speciale, executive vice presidents Dan Riess and Frank Sgrizzi are also exiting. Riess led Ignite, Turner’s branded content department, while Sgrizzi managed portfolio sales and client partnerships for WarnerMedia. Speciale had lead ad sales for WarnerMedia’s Turner cable TV networks since 2012.
WarnerMedia chief revenue officer Gerhard Zeiler will lead the ad sales team as its interim president, along with three other senior executives: Amit Chaturvedi, Katrina Cukaj and Joe Hogan. Chaturvedi will lead revenue operations, ad innovation, ad product strategy, digital sales planning and digital yield management; Cukaj will be in charge of strategic planning, research, network partnerships and marketplace image and experience; Hogan will head up sales, including agency, client, digital, direct response and content partnerships.
When WarnerMedia named Zeiler as chief revenue officer earlier this year, it put him in charge of the company’s advertiser and distributor relationships. AT&T has worked to align its various content departments — Warner Bros., HBO and Turner — more closely under their nascent ownership.
“After a thoughtful review, I concluded that we also need to change the leadership structure to support the transition of our ad sales business,” Zeiler said in a memo to staff. “First and foremost, I want to thank Donna for her leadership and dedication. Over the course of the recent seven plus years, she has invested in building out our award-winning advanced ad and storytelling capabilities for our advertising partners, transforming the way we do business today.”
For Turner, Speciale’s exit follows David Levy, who resigned as president of Turner Broadcasting in February. Levy’s resignation came at the same time that longtime HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced he was also leaving the WarnerMedia umbrella.
Prior to joining Turner, Speciale was head of media investment at media-buying agency MediaVest.
The Information first reported of Speciale’s departure.