Kosann leaving Westwood One


Lots of changes in the executive suite at Westwood One. CEO Peter Kosann announced that he will leave the company in early 2008, once it completes its pending reorganization, which will end the management contract with CBS Radio (which employs Kosann) and extends its distribution and affiliation agreements with CBS through 2017.

Meanwhile, Gary Yusko has returned to WW1 as CFO and David Hillman has been upped to Chief Administrative Officer. Yusko succeeds Andrew Zaref, who is leaving to pursue another job, as yet unspecified.

WW1 announced back in April that it was reworking its deal with CBS Radio (4/13/07 RBR #73). Back then a company spokesman told RBR that Kosann intended to stay on as CEO after the management agreement was terminated, but that has obviously changed. As for the reworked agreement with CBS Radio, "Westwood is optimistic that it will finalize these new arrangements with CBS Radio in August 2007 and submit such documentation to Company stockholders for their approval in the fourth quarter of 2007, following the Company's filing of a definitive proxy statement with the SEC," WW1 said in yesterday's announcement.

The management shakeup prompted one Wall Street analyst to drop WW1's stock to a "sell." Mark Wienkes at Goldman Sachs thinks the premium already built into the stock price for a potential sale is overstated and he sees a 26% downside risk to his new target price of five bucks a share.

SmartMedia observation: The search begins for a new CEO and our bulletin yesterday noted that a name likely to be on the list of candidates is Kraig Kitchin, who just left rival Premiere Radio Networks. There's lots of speculation anyway that WW1 may not be a freestanding company for long anyway. After advising the WW1 board on its dealings with CBS Radio, UBS is expected to start shopping the company. We reported earlier this month (7/3/07 RBR #129) on buyout rumors that focused on former CEO Shane Coppola and Citadel Broadcasting, although we noted that Citadel CEO Farid Suleman had already said no thanks.