In a surprise announcement, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises revealed that the search is on for its new President of Telemundo Networks.
After four years in the role, Hispanic media industry veteran Luis Silberwasser will be leaving the company on October 1. This will allow Silberwasser to assist with the transition in leadership at the Telemundo broadcast TV network and at the Universo cable TV network.
The reasons for Silberwasser’s departure are not clear. However, NBCU spoke highly of him in sharing news of his pending exit. He “helped change the programming strategy and the positioning of the network” and bet on new genres and formats. “By drawing on his deep understanding of the U.S. Hispanic audience as well as his experience with international markets, Silberwasser was a key contributor in redefining Hispanic media and making Telemundo the preferred media destination for Hispanics today,” NBCU said.
Cesar Conde, Chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group, noted, “Luis helped propel our rise as the definitive media and entertainment brand for today’s Hispanic consumer. He has made an indelible mark on our company at a time of great transformation. On behalf of everyone at Telemundo, I want to thank him for his dedication, partnership and invaluable contributions.”
Silberwasser added, “I’m extremely proud of what we have accomplished at Telemundo and the important role of this organization in serving the Latino community across America. Today, Telemundo is the clear leader, not only in viewership, but as the network that will take content risks and breaks stereotypes. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with the best team in the industry and to have been a part of Telemundo’s groundbreaking success. As I now embark on new content-making ventures, I will always look forward to seeing the Telemundo brand continue its tremendous growth.”
So, why is he leaving? A source close to the matter tells RBR+TVBR that aligning the leadership structure in a way that mirrors that of sibling NBC was the key desire for NBCUniversal. As such, it is believed that it is Silberwasser’s decision to depart and that it was an amicable one.
Word of Silberwasser’s pending exit arrived moments after NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises announced new leadership responsibilities of four key executives, which the Comcast-owned entity believes “will allow the organization to further accelerate its leadership position in media and as the choice and voice of Latinos today across all platforms.”
Beau Ferrari will take a bigger role as EVP of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. Ferrari was appointed to the position in March 2017 and will now “closely partner with all content divisions and NBCUniversal teams across the portfolio.” Further, a network spokesperson says he will leading business and consumer development and insights across all platforms. Programming research will now fall under him. Ferrari was previously EVP/Corporate Strategy and Development at Telemundo’s main rival, Univision Communications.
During his tenure, Ferrari also served as the first CEO and GM of Fusion, the ill-fated multiplatform joint venture with The Walt Disney Company. Additionally, Ferrari headed Univision Deportes and the launch of Univision’s sports network and served as Chief of Staff/Special Assistant to the CEO.
Prior to Ferrari joining Univision Communications, he was co-founder and partner at Royal Palm Capital Partners, a private equity investment and management firm. Ferrari began his career as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York.
Concurrently, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises EVP Mónica Gil is adding the role of Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing all brand and corporate marketing, communications, corporate affairs and human resources. She joined Telemundo in January 2017 following a lengthy tenure at Nielsen.
Additionally, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises EVP/Digital Media and Emerging Business Peter Blacker is given the new role of EVP/Revenue Strategy & Innovation. In the newly created role, “Blacker will work across linear and digital platforms to amplify the company’s monetization efforts throughout all revenue streams.” Blacker is a 14-year Telemundo veteran.
Lastly, Ronald Day has been elevated to EVP/Entertainment from SVP/Programming at Telemundo Networks. It’s a swift rise for the longtime former Univision executive, who rose to SVP/Programming & Promotions in his 16 1/2 years at the operation. Today, Day will be responsible for programming, talent and promotions of prime-time, daytime and specials for Telemundo and Universo Networks.
The digital multicast TELEXITOS, launched and operated by the Telemundo Station Group, will continue to be led by Barbara Alfonso.
The new leadership team will report to Conde and will be based at Telemundo Center in West Miami, which opened in March 2018.
What’s next for Silberwasser could be the biggest topic of conversation in Miami, New York and Los Angeles. He joined Telemundo Networks as President in August 2014 following a lengthy run at Discovery Communications, exiting as EVP/Chief Content Officer for Discovery Networks International. From 1991-1997, Silberwasser was a brand manager for Procter & Gamble Co. in Latin America.
Silberwasser’s exit comes amid widely reported turmoil at Telemundo’s No. 1 competitor — Univision Communications. But, it also comes as Azteca América is gearing up for a massive relaunch under new owner HC2.
So far there’s only speculation on where Silberwasser may be going.