Neil Ashe, president of CBS Corp.’s interactive unit CBS Interactive, is stepping down in sometime in 2011 (no date has been set) after two years running the division as part of the $1.8 billion acquisition of Cnet Networks.
CBS said it was working on a “relaxed timeframe” to name a successor to his post—probably by the middle of the year. Now word yet on where Ashe is headed, but it doesn’t appear he was forced out, as display ad revenue at CBS Interactive was up some 17% in Q3.
In fact, Ashe, whose contract is up early next year, told PaidContent.org he will help with the transition. He said the unit moved past the integration phase long ago and it’s essentially been an operating job for the past year: “I’m at the end of my original commitment to these guys and I feel really good about where CBS Interactive is.”
Ashe had been at CNET since 2002 and was its CEO during the sale to CBS Corp. He replaced CBSi CEO Quincy Smith in 2008 and took over all of CBS’s digital properties, including Cnet, CBS.com, ZDNet, Last.fm, CBSNews.com, CBS Sports.com, CBS MoneyWatch.com and TV.com.
RBR-TVBR observation: When Ashe took over, one of his missions was to cut out the middleman, so to speak, cancelling outside ad network relationships and selling all inventory exclusively in-house, because of the sales force and skill-set they already had. An interesting gamble, one that takes the kind of critical mass CBSi had across the board for cross-platform ad packaging.