"Under Hank's leadership, MTV Networks redefined our relationships with major marketers in every category -- from Microsoft to Verizon and Rhapsody, among many others," wrote Judy McGrath, CEO of MTV Networks in a company memo. "Hank re-aligned our sales organization to effectively deliver value to clients across our brands, fans and platforms. He birthed our digital sales organization, propelling us to a leadership position in the industry in terms of digital client offerings and revenue. Hank has also championed our industry-leading environment for viewers as well as marketers."
Mr. Close also played an instrumental role in the 2007 TV upfront, the first upfront marketplace in which broadcast and cable networks negotiated based on Nielsen's commercial ratings instead of the average program ratings standard they'd been using for several decades. Recognizing that MTV and VH1 were two of the lowest-rated networks during commercial breaks, Mr. Close held out for deals using the old program ratings metric for the remainder of 2007 in an effort to boost the networks' commercial retention rates through branded entertainment by 2008.
With Mr. Close departing, Carolyn Everson has been promoted exec VP-chief operating officer, ad sales, reporting directly to MTVN Chief Operating Officer Rich Eigendorff. Similarly, the heads of MTVN's three main sales divisions will now report to their respective group presidents. Jeff Lucas, exec VP-entertainment group ad sales, will report to Entertainment Chief Doug Herzog. Sean Moran, exec VP-music and Logo ad sales, will report to President Van Toffler. And Jim Perry, exec VP-kids and family ad sales, will report to Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghani.