CBS Taps Facebook Alum David Lawenda to Steer Digital Ad Sales

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David Lawenda.
David Lawenda. Credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS

In a bid to optimize the value of its non-linear platforms, CBS has tapped Facebook alum and TV vet David Lawenda to spearhead its digital ad sales efforts.

Lawenda, who in the course of his four years as the head of global marketing solutions for Facebook helped quadruple the social media colossus's stateside revenue, was named exec VP of digital sales and strategy. He reports to longtime CBS sales capo Jo Ann Ross, who was elevated to the role of president and chief advertising revenue officer.

Ross will continue to oversee all ad sales operations for CBS, which in May closed out its ninth consecutive season as America's most-watched TV network.

Also taking on additional responsibilities is Dave Morris, who was named exec VP-advanced advertising and client partnerships. Morris, who reports to Ross, previously served as chief revenue officer for CBS Interactive.

CBS's digital platforms include CBS All Access, the streaming service that will exclusively carry a new "Star Trek" series after it premieres on the broadcast network next month.

Jo Ann Ross.
Jo Ann Ross. Credit: Patrick Demarchelier/CBS

In a statement, CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Les Moonves characterized the sales shuffle as a means to turbocharge "CBS' advertising revenue by working with clients to realize value from every impression across all platforms." (Moonves is perhaps the industry's most vocal proponent of getting compensated for each and every eyeball that watches his content, no matter when and where it happens.)

Prior to joining Facebook in 2013, Lawenda served for five years as Univision's president of ad sales and marketing, where he oversaw a $2.3 billion portfolio. He made his bones at Viacom, where he was instrumental in bringing in more than 200 new advertisers to Spike TV.

"I am proud to say that with today's news the best and most respected sales team in the business has become even stronger," Ross said in the statement. "Combining these two world-class teams will lead to a faster and more effective way for us to do business with our clients."

Ross went on to praise Lawenda for "his intimate knowledge of how the digital marketplace works," before going on to say that she anticipates a "seamless transition."

A 25-year CBS veteran, Ross was the first woman to serve as sales chief of a broadcast network and is the most-tenured sales boss in the broadcast TV business. She has served as president of CBS network sales since October 2002, when she succeeded Joe Abruzzese.

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