Ad-Sales Chief Sverdlik Out at Comcast

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Roger Sverdlik has left Comcast Corp.'s cable unit after almost two years as the MSO's senior vice president of ad sales.

Word of Sverdlik's sudden departure circulated in the cable industry last week — just as Comcast, oddly enough, broke a new trade ad campaign for its recently branded Comcast MarketLink interconnects in Advertising Age.
Comcast's ad insert ran in conjunction with an interconnects guide co-produced by the magazine and the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau.

Comcast announced internally that Sverdlik had left on Oct. 1, sources said. The Philadelphia-based MSO hasn't yet chosen a permanent replacement for Sverdlik, but confirms it has named group vice president Steve Feingold its acting ad-sales boss.

Other replacement contenders mentioned by some industry sources included Philadelphia-based vice president of ad sales operations Harland Moidel, appointed by former Comcast ad chief Filemon Lopez, and Adam Perel, New York-based vice president of national ad sales.

Sverdlik had been enthusiastic about Comcast's expansion in interconnects, fueled in particular by the strong sales gains at the Philadelphia Interconnect. The MSO now operates branded interconnects in 16 markets, up from 10 last January.

Industry sources offered no indication that Sverdlik's departure was related to slumping ad sales or expenditures tied to the interconnects he championed. Comcast views its investment in interconnects as a key means to bolster ad-sales growth in the near future, sources said.

Comcast last Friday said only that he left "to pursue other opportunities."

Feingold, who rejoined Comcast about a year ago, was a regional sales executive for the MSO during the 1980s. In 1988, he moved to Continental Cablevision Inc. in Boston (later MediaOne Group Inc.), where he was Northeast division sales vice president.

Feingold also is Sverdlik's temporary replacement on the CAB board of directors, sources said — at least until the trade group's next board meeting in six weeks.

Sverdlik was also a member of the National Cable Communications board, but officials at the spot-cable rep firm had no comment.

Sverdlik — who had become uncharacteristically mum on ad-sales results at the Philadelphia-based MSO since the end of the first quarter — joined Comcast in fall 1999 from ABC Inc. He then became the MSO's chief negotiator in mid-2000, when Comcast joined with Cablevision Systems Corp. as a partner in the New York Interconnect.

In July of 2000, Sverdlik and Moidel replaced Lopez, who had been serving as Comcast's ad-sales senior vice president since July of 1995, five years after joining the MSO.

Fifteen months ago, Lopez became president of Comcast University, the MSO's new employee training, education and development center in Philadelphia. Cable sources reached last week did not expect him to return to ad sales.

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