Univision taps advertising veteran as CEO

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Univision Communications, the Spanish-language US broadcasting group, is close to announcing that it has hired Omnicom’s Joe Uva to be its next chief executive, people close to the matter said.

Mr Uva’s move to Univision, which is being acquired by a consortium of private investors, makes him the latest senior executive to leave a public company lured by the incentives of the buy-out world.

Mr Uva, who runs OMD, a media buying agency owned by Omnicom, will be offered a stake in Univision when it goes private under the ownership of Saban Capital, Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H Lee Partners.

The appointment caps a search for a successor to Jerrold Perenchio, Univision’s longtime chief executive, that has lasted several months and has been closely followed in the US media industry.

Univision is hoping that by selecting Mr Uva it will be able to meet one of its top challenges in recent years: to translate its high ratings, derived from its position as the leading media outlet for Hispanic-Americans, into higher ad sales.

“We think there’s tremendous upside and opportunity in Univision and a big component of that is in advertising,” Richard Bressler, a managing director at THL, told the Financial Times.

Before his five-year tenure at OMD, Mr Uva spent nearly two decades at Turner Broadcasting System, handling advertising sales and marketing for cable TV channels including TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network.

Univision agreed to be taken over in June in a $12.3bn deal that is expected to close next month. Gaining regulatory approval for the transaction proved fraught, with the Federal Communications Commission imposing a $24m fee on Univision for violating rules governing the broadcasting of educational programmes.

Mr Uva’s move from Omnicom, the world’s largest marketing services firm, comes amid fears of an exodus of talent from the public markets to private equity-backed companies. One of the most high-profile examples of this came in the media industry last year when General Electric’s David Calhoun left the US group to join Nielsen, the Dutch information group that was known as VNU before it was acquired by a consortium including Carlyle, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Thomas H Lee Partners.

Mr Uva did not return a call seeking comment. Univision declined to comment.

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