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Donna Speciale Named Ad-Sales Chief for Univision

Donna Speciale (Courtesy of Jeremy Freeman)

Donna Speciale, the Madison Avenue veteran, will take over ad sales at Spanish-language broadcaster Univision as that company re-organizes under new management.

Univision on Monday named six executives to senior roles at the company, which is now controlled by Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight, with Mexico’s Televisa continuing to control a minority stake. Wade Davis, the former chief financial officer of Viacom, has been leading the investor group, which purchased its 64% stake in the company from Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group at the end of 2020.

A former senior media buying executive who worked for clients including Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, Speciale has cultivated a reputation for being willing to push media companies toward new frontiers. While at Time Warner, she developed new buying procedures that let advertisers use guarantees such as the number of movie tickets sold or the number of visits to a web site rather than traditional broad-based exposure metrics as the base of ad deals. She also steered Time Warner into helping to launch Open AP, a consortium of media companies that are trying to foster new kinds of so-called “audience buying,” or using data to define special types of consumers, such as expectant mothers or first-time car buyers.

AT&T raised eyebrows in 2019 when it parted ways with Speciale after she handled the company’s first upfront sales process following its purchase of the media assets now known as WarnerMedia. The company took months to find a new executive to lead its ad sales efforts, naming former Apple and Hulu ad-sales executive JP Colaco to the role.

Univision named a raft of other senior executives, including Pierluigi Gazzolo as president and chief transformation officer; Luis Silberwasser as president of the company’s national TV properties;’ Friday Abernethy as executive vice president of content distribution and partnerships; Adam Shippee as executive vice president of corporate development, strategy and transformation; and Amy Tenbrink as executive vice president and associate general counsel of revenue and business development.

Variety's Brian Steinberg contributed to this post.


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