David Lawenda is Latest Ad-Sales Veteran to Exit Paramount

David Lawenda, the chief digital advertising officer at Paramount Global, is leaving the company after a long stint, and is the latest in a series of veteran ad-sales executives to exit in recent months.

Lawenda, who has over the course of his career helped launch the UPN broadcast network and the Spike cable outlet, is expected to stay with the company through September to assist in a transition. Lawenda joined CBS in 2017 to lead digital sales for both the network and the company’s former holding, CNET Media Group. He joined after leading ad-sales efforts for both Univision and Facebook and Instagram.

Lawenda’s coming departure was announced Thursday in a memo from John Halley, president of advertising at Paramount Global.

His departure is one of a recent series of ad-industry notables who have decided to leave the company as it grapples with Wall Street scrutiny, a difficult operating environment and a chaotic sales process. Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder in Paramount Global this week opted to end talks with the Skydance Media that would have merged the company with that studio, which has helped produce some of Paramount’s biggest recent films. John Bogusz, who supervised ad sales for CBS Sports, left the company earlier this year. Linda Rene, who oversaw primetime ad sales for CBS mainstays like “Survivor,” retired in late 2023. Jo Ann Ross, the veteran CBS ad sales chief who became chairman of advertising after the company merged with the former Viacom, stepped away at the end of April.

Paramount leadership has in recent days articulated a plan to cut staffing.

“As the digital team has matured broadly, I have full confidence in our leadership, who continue to outpace the industry in creativity, strategy and execution. We will be sharing more on refinements in the reporting structure in due time,:” Halley said in the memo. “Suffice to say, through our ongoing investment in streaming advertising capabilities, we will continue to innovate on behalf of our clients and grow our multi-billion-dollar digital business under this exceptional team.”

Lawenda served an earlier stint at Viacom starting in 1994 before leaving for Univision.

He recently helped reposition the streaming outlet once known as CBS All Access into the broader hub now called Paramount+

“On a personal note, I will miss David’s strength, optimism, and steady hand, which have helped me greatly throughout our organizational journey together,” Halley said.

(Above, pictured at left: David Lawenda)

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