Donna Speciale Named Univision Advert Gross sales Chief

A year-and-a-half after being ousted as WarnerMedia ad sales chief, Donna Speciale is back in the advertising sales business.

Speciale has been named president of ad sales and marketing for Univision. The hiring is part of a wider executive shakeup at the company announced Monday afternoon.

She replaces the departing Steve Mandala. He rejoined Univision in 2012, after spending 15 years at NBCUniversal and Telemundo.

Executive shake-up

Speciale left WarnerMedia in July 2019, just a week after she had wrapped that year’s upfront negotiations. She had been with the company since 2012. The company took more than a year to fill her position, hiring JP Colaco last October as WarnerMedia ad sales chief.

The hiring of Speciale was one of many sudden leadership changes announced shortly after the investor group led by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis—who is now CEO of Univision—acquired a 64% stake in the company.

Pierluigi Gazzolo, who most recently was president of streaming and studios for ViacomCBS Networks International, was named president of Univision Communications Inc. and chief transformation officer. Luis Silberwasser—who had been Telemundo Networks president—was named president, Univision Television Networks Group, leading Univision’s national TV properties.

Friday Abernethy was promoted to evp of content distribution and partnerships, Adam Shippee was promoted to evp, corporate development, strategy and transformation and Amy Tenbrink was promoted to evp and associate general counsel, revenue/business development.

‘A transformation for Univision’

“Today begins a transformation for Univision. One that will see us accelerate our position as the leading U.S. Hispanic media company as we launch new products and services that will drive value for our U.S. Hispanic audience and for our advertising and distribution partners, who want to reach and engage with this critical audience,” Davis said in a statement.

Other Univision departures as a result of the shakeup include Jonathan Schwartz, chief legal and corporate affairs officer, and Henry Ahn, president of distribution.

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