LodgeNet Hires Ex-Fox Exec Battista As CEO


LodgeNet Interactive, a provider of interactive TV and broadband to hotels and hospitals, appointed Richard Battista, formerly a senior executive at Fox National Cable Networks, News Corp. and Gemstar-TV Guide International, as president and CEO.

In May LodgeNet announced that Scott Petersen, its longtime president and CEO, would resign his executive position with the company June 15. Petersen remains as a member of the LodgeNet board.

Battista will be based in Los Angeles and starts with the company effective Wednesday, Sept. 12.

"The LodgeNet board found the ideal candidate and a proven leader in Rich Battista," LodgeNet chairman Doug Bradbury said in announcing his appointment. "Rich brings a vast amount of experience in managing, rebuilding and developing large-scale businesses across various media platforms."

Last month, LodgeNet said it was exploring refinancing alternatives to address its upcoming debt maturities and “tightening financial covenants.” The company retained Miller Buckfire & Co., a New York-based investment banking and capital markets firm, as an advisor.

For the second quarter of 2011, LodgeNet reported $92.8 million in revenue compared with $106.6 million a year earlier, and a net loss attributable to common stockholders of $103.1 million versus a net loss of $4.4 million in the second quarter of 2011.

Most recently, Battista founded and led Pontiac Digital Media, a company that created and invested in media properties with a focus on digital content.

Previously, he was executive vice president at News Corp. and immediately prior to that he was president of Fox National Cable Networks. Battista served as CEO of Gemstar-TV Guide from 2004 to 2008, before it was sold to Macrovision Solutions (now known as Rovi) in May 2008.

"With the industry's largest footprint reaching over 500 million consumers per year, and services spanning both traditional and new media, LodgeNet is in a unique position to build upon its history of innovation," Battista said in a prepared statement. "The company's extensive platform, commitment to the hospitality market and strong leadership position provide a solid foundation from which to capitalize on its opportunities as well as confront challenges."

LodgeNet, based in Sioux Falls, N.D., provides services to approximately 1.6 million hotel rooms worldwide in addition to healthcare facilities throughout the U.S.