The recruiting firm hired by the major creditors who are now owners of Citadel Broadcasting certainly delivered a group of heavy-hitters to constitute the radio company’s new Board of Directors. Unlike the previous board, nearly all have extensive media credentials.
CEO Farid Suleman is the only company employee who is serving on the board of directors, as was the case with the previous board. You know about him, but who are the other six members of the new seven-member board?
First, a name you all know. Jack Sander had a long career in television management which eventually took him to the posts of President/Media Operations and then Vice Chairman at Belo Corporation. He still serves as Senior Advisor to the TV group owner. He has served as chairman of the NBC affiliates board and vice chairman of the Fox affiliates board. Sander was NAB Joint Board Chair when David Rehr was forced out and replaced by Sen. Gordon Smith, so he has a track record of demanding top performance from a CEO. Sander continues to be a member of the executive committee of the NAB Joint Board and is serving a second term as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI).
Also frequently appearing in news stories on RBR-TVBR is Jon Mandel. He stepped down last year as President of NielsenConnect. Prior to that he had been MediaCom Global Buying Officer/Co-CEO. He is currently Chairman of his own company, Dogsled Enterprises, which invests in and advises media and communications companies.
New Citadel director William “Billy” Campbell was President of Discovery Network US 2002-2007 and was President of Miramax Television before that. He was more recently President of Panavision for a few months in 2009. Incidentally, he was involved in a major news event as a passenger aboard US Airways Flight 1549, which crash landed in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. He and all others aboard survived the aircraft ditching.
Greg Mrva is Vice President of Global M&A for Yahoo! He has a Wall Street and private equity background and obviously experience in the Internet side of the media business.
Paul Saleh is General Partner of Menza Partners, which describes itself as “an operational and financial advisory group focusing on media, telecommunications, and technology industries working with clients and partners to deliver superior results.” He was previously CFO of Sprint Nextel Corporation for seven years and served at one point as the company’s interim CEO. Before that, though, he was CFO of The Walt Disney Company. As it happens, the ABC Radio operation which was then part of Disney is now part of Citadel.
The new Citadel board is completed by Doreen Wright, the only female member. She has been Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the Campbell Soup Company since 2001. She held a similar position before that at Nabisco and earlier on was in the financial sector with such names as Merrill Lynch, Bankers Trust and Prudential. She arguably has the least media industry experience, although Campbell’s and Nabisco are big advertising buyers, but certainly has financial credentials.
Aside from Suleman himself, only two of the other seven members of the old eight-member board had a background in the media business or media finance prior to joining the Citadel board.
RBR-TVBR observation: No wimps here! Farid Suleman and the rest of the Citadel management team had better be on top of their game with this board to answer to.