As first reported by RBR Saturday afternoon, Westwood One announced the reorganization of its executive management team. The changes were initiated by the Board to create direct leadership for each of the two core business units – the radio Network Division and the Metro Networks Traffic Division – and a renewed focus on the company’s radio business.
In the management reorg, Westwood One named Rod Sherwood as President of Westwood One. Sherwood joined the Company in September as its CFO, and will also continue in that position. The Company also appointed Gary Schonfeld President, Network Division and named Steve Kalin President, Metro Networks Traffic Division.
Sherwood will oversee all operations of the Company along with Gary Schonfeld and Steven Kalin and (i) drive the implementation of the Company’s detailed business plan, including its revenue improvement initiatives and cost re-engineering program; and (ii) lead financing discussions to optimize the capital structure.
Mark Stone, Vice Chairman of Westwood One and Senior Managing Director & President, Operations of The Gores Group, stated, “These management changes were made to create clear lines of authority and responsibility to drive performance in each of the Network Division and Metro Traffic. These two businesses are the largest players in the industry and require direct oversight– The Network Division is the largest independent provider of radio programming and Metro Traffic is the largest provider of traffic information in the U.S. We are enthusiastic about the same investment thesis that supported our initial $100 million investment in the Company and are pleased to have supported the company financially, strategically and operationally.”
Prior to joining Westwood One, Sherwood served as Chief Financial Officer, Operations of The Gores Group.
Schonfeld co-founded radio network MediaAmerica in 1987 and served as its President until its acquisition by Jones Media Group in July 1998, whereupon he became the President of Jones MediaAmerica. Schonfeld served in that position until the acquisition of Jones Media Group by Triton Radio Network in June 2008. Prior to founding MediaAmerica, Schonfeld served as Vice-President Eastern Sales Region for Westwood One.
Kalin joined Westwood One in July as Chief Operating Officer. He will directly oversee the operations of the Metro Networks Traffic Division, including the implementation of the recently announced re-engineering plan.
Westwood One Chairman Norm Pattiz added, "The Board is extremely pleased with this dedicated team of radio industry veterans and experienced executives and our new organizational structure. We are excited that we will be able to leverage Rod Sherwood and Steve Kalin’s talents in their new roles and that Gary Schonfeld has joined the team. Gary has extensive experience in and historical knowledge of the network radio business. This team will enhance Westwood’s industry-leading position and continue to make real changes at the Company.”
As part of the changes to the executive team, the Company announced that Tom Beusse, Westwood One’s current President and CEO, has resigned his position to pursue other opportunities.
RBR/TVBR observation: As we had stated yesterday, this creates a lot of confusion in the marketplace during upfront negotiations. First they combined the sales staffs for traffic and network; now they’re separating them. Nonetheless we hope the new team can right the ship. Other candidates we would have suggested include Reach Media CEO David Kantor; former WW1 Sales Chief Paul Gregrey; Premiere’s Julie Talbott and former Premiere CEO Kraig Kitchin. Even former WW1 CEO Joel Hollander.
Compensation cash for WW1 as well will be significant. During the last eight months, considerable cash is going to be paid out, in upwards of the 10-figure mark, to Beusse, Peter Kosann, Andrew Zaref, Gary Yusko, Gregrey and others.