Ad Prez Close Exits MTVN

Hank CloseTwo years after he was named president of ad sales at MTV Networks, Hank Close is leaving the post at the end of the year when his contract expires. Close will not be replaced, as MTVN announced a new sales structure--with three top executives reporting directly to chiefs of network clusters.

Close has been with MTVN for four years, and succeeded Larry Divney (a colleague at Comedy Central before) in 2006 in the president's role.

In a memo sent to employees, MTVN CEO Judy McGrath wrote: "Hank has led our ad sales organization through the most dynamic and transformational time in its history..."

In addition to reorganizing the sales organization to capitalize on online and multi-platform opportunities, Close also led MTVN's adoption of new techniques ("pod-busters" was one term) in an effort to ensure that it was prepared to make the transition from the traditional program ratings as currency to the new C3 metric. There was some thought that MTVN would suffer with a younger audience eager to skip commercials.



McGrath said Close "championed our industry-leading effort to maximize the commercial environment for viewers as well as marketers."

Close and Divney first began working together in 1999 at Comedy Central after Close had been at Fox for 12 years. Divney became network CEO and Close replaced him in charge of ad sales--as he would at MTVN seven years later.

Under the post-Close sales structure, Jeff Lucas (head of sales at the entertainment group that includes Comedy Central and Spike), Sean Moran (in charge at the group with MTV and Logo) and Jim Perry (the Nickelodeon segment) will report to the overall heads of those clusters: Doug Herzog, Van Toffler and Cyma Zarghami, respectively.

"Our programming and advertising strategies are more linked than ever before ... (the three) will become fully integrated into the senior management teams of their groups," McGrath wrote.

Separately, MTVN is promoting Carolyn Everson to COO of ad sales--a position that does not replace Close, but seeks to craft strategies to attract clients throughout the MTVN portfolio. She will report to MTVN COO Rich Eigendorff.

Nada Stirratt, executive vice president of digital advertising at MTVN, will also report to Eigendorff under the new structure.

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