Candidate Names Crop Up in CAB CEO Search

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Some familiar names are beginning to surface as prospective candidates to succeed Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau CEO Joseph Ostrow, who will depart next year.

Several industry executives last week said that ex-AT&T Broadband and Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network ad sales boss Jerry Machovina, former MediaOne Inc. director of sales development Pete Moran, and CAB vice president of local sales and marketing Kevin Barry were among the names being bandied about as possible replacements for Ostrow.

Another executive said to be under consideration is Michael Lotito, the former CEO of Mediaport, the Web-based back-office media-management firm recently folded by its three ad-agency owners.

Ostrow is slated to step down at the end of March, but will stay with the CAB as a consultant.

The search for a new CAB chief began in earnest earlier this month when executive-recruiter Korn/Ferry International was retained. Managing director of global media and entertainment practice Bill Simon said he has been working on the CEO search since early October, but declined to comment about the candidacy of any of the executives listed above.

The CAB's search committee, chaired by Insight Communication Co. president Kim Kelly, has asked his firm to conduct "a pretty broad search," encompassing executives in the advertiser, ad-agency and cable-network arenas, Simon said.

According to an Insight spokeswoman, Kelly will not comment about the search. The CAB also declined comment.

Simon, who said that the firm is not yet at the stage of interviewing candidates, estimated that the search could take "a couple of months."

Agency-side advantage

Some cable network and advertising executives have reportedly submitted their names to the CAB and Kelly for consideration. Simon said Korn/Ferry was given "several" such nominations.

But some knowledgeable sources said last week that the CAB's primary focus remains on the agency and advertiser side, as was the case in 1994, when Ostrow was hired from Foote, Cone & Belding.

To that end, Lotito may be a viable candidate and is available. Mediaport was folded in mid-September by Interpublic Group of Cos., Omnicom Group and WPP Group. Previously, Lotito was president of Interpublic's Initiative Media North America media-buying operation.

The other members of the CAB's short list of perhaps four or five names are presently employed, and sources would not identify them. But none of those potential candidates has trade-group experience, though many are familiar with the CAB.

From the outset last August, speculation has centered on the ad community as the likeliest source for the trade group to find its new CEO. Still, one MSO executive suggested another prospect: "I'm sure Kevin Barry would like a shot."

Meanwhile, Moran and Machovina may also be contenders for the post.

Moran had a two-year stint as MediaOne Group Inc. director of ad-sales development before leaving in mid-2000 in the wake of its acquisition by AT&T Corp. He also has worked at various software and digital ad-insertion companies.

Machovina joined YES a year ago as executive vice president of media sales and left last July. Earlier, he was CEO at online-advertising exchange OneMediaPlace and its predecessor,

In 2000, he left AT&T Broadband, where he had been executive vice president of ad sales for that MSO and its predecessor Tele-Communications Inc. He also was active in making TCI an MSO partner in National Cable Communications and a supporter of local-cable research via ADcom Information Services Inc.

Committee silent

Kelly has kept a tight lid on the committee's deliberations, cautioning its members against disclosing any details on the search.

Besides Kelly and Ostrow, the CAB search committee consists of five other cable industry executives: Landmark Communications Inc. president Decker Anstrom; MTV Networks chief operating officer of ad sales Bob Bakish; Comedy Central president Larry Divney; Cox Communications Inc. vice president of ad sales Billy Farina; and Cable News Network president of sales and marketing Larry Goodman.

The CAB has had only three CEOs during its two decades, starting with Robert Alter, who was called back to serve as interim CEO until Ostrow was hired, and Thom McKinney, whom Ostrow replaced in 1994.