Big Executive Shake Up at Cox

Kim Guthrie, President of Cox Media Group has been traveling around the country visiting the Cox stations and handing out miniature boxing gloves to employees.

The mini gloves are to show the staff that they have a "tough fight ahead."

Couldn't you have saved money on the gloves and just told them that. They're grown adults, not 5. 

Anyway, after Guthrie wrapped up her summer vacation....errrrrrr......"listening tour", she decided that a shake up in the executive ranks was in order. 

She sent a long memo to the staff explaining which suit is getting bumped up and which one is getting screwed over. 

Of course, FTVLive has a copy of the internal memo: 

Hi everyone,

Over the past seven months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you on my listening tour, visiting nearly 30 of our teams in the field and hearing inspiring stories of success and innovation, as well as pain points that may be inhibiting our teams from doing their best work. 

My goal has been to learn about the strengths and opportunities at our operations but also to develop a plan on how best to position our nearly 120-year-old CMG for the long term.  In addition to the listening tour feedback, we recently shared the results of our 2017 Employee Opinion Survey[], where our CMG employees are asking for a clearer understanding of CMG’s direction for the future.  A second takeaway from the survey was a desire to have more collaboration between teams and platforms so that we can better leverage all of our assets.

It’s with these thoughts today, that we introduce a new executive team structure, which is the first step in aligning our vision and future strategy.  When CMG was created in 2009, we pulled all of our Newspaper, Radio and TV properties together as one company to break down the existing silos and do a better job collaborating across these three platforms.  We originally made some progress here, with a full convergence model in Dayton and some cross-platform exposure for some of our other employees and properties.  But over time, CMG gradually moved back into a more ‘siloed’ environment, with the three platforms operating more independently of each other.

The current structure simply isn’t able to take full advantage of the opportunity to work together more cohesively, sharing content and resources among our various businesses.  We need an organizational structure with common leadership to help drive collaboration when we have similar businesses, or in markets where we have more than one media platform.

In this realignment, which is effective immediately, each Executive VP will now have a combination of media entities reporting to them that will help streamline decision making.  Our EVPs will now have more cross-platform responsibility, leveraging their core strengths while providing growth opportunities to learn other platforms.  This will also build capability in our leaders and our next generation of employees that will help their careers and plan for a strong future of the company. 

Bill Hendrich’s organization: (*Indicates a new directcid:image002.jpg@01D30F8C.128CECE0report.)

Bill will have oversight of our two-platform media markets – Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tulsa. We now have a great opportunity to closely align leadership and operations of our Radio and TV* platforms in these very important and fiercely-competitive markets.  We will immediately post the roles of a single leader for each of these three markets. This way, we can compete more deliberately together while delivering award-winning content for our audiences and strategic business solutions for our advertisers. Bill will continue to be our point person for driving over-arching industry issues for Radio. 

Bill will oversee: 

Jacksonville Radio and TV* (leadership position to be posted)
Orlando Radio and TV* (leadership position to be posted)
Tulsa Radio and TV* (leadership position to be posted)
Miami Radio (Rob Babin)
Tampa Radio (Keith Lawless)
San Antonio Radio (Ben Reed)
Long Island Radio (John Shea)
Houston Radio (Mark Krieschen)
Radio Programming (Steve Smith)
Radio Revenue team led by Katie Reid
And the Radio Digital Strategy team led by Tim Clarke
Jane William’s organization: (*Indicates a new direct report.)

Jane will continue to be our point person for driving over-arching industry issues for Television.  She will also lead our Atlanta* and Dayton* markets, in which we serve through all three media platforms – Newspapers, Radio and TV.  We have already seen the success of the Dayton model, and will explore this opportunity over time for Atlanta. 

Jane will oversee: 

Atlanta TV (Tim McVay)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution* (Brian Cooper)
Atlanta Radio* (Donna Hall)
CMG Ohio* (Rob Rohr)
Boston TV (Tom Raponi)
Seattle TV (Greg Bilte)
Charlotte TV (Joe Pomilla)
Pittsburgh TV (Ray Carter)
Memphis TV (Paul Briggs)
And the TV Revenue team led by Michelle Harper
Mike Joseph’s organization: (*Indicates a new direct report.)

In addition to Mike’s oversight of The Palm Beach Post, Austin American-Statesman, and Newspaper Shared Services functions, he will assume responsibility for our Healthcare Strategy venture, led by Walt Phillips. This is also an opportunity for our technology-based functions to work more closely together.  Mark Beck and Joe Weir, leaders of CMG Technology and CMD Digital businesses respectively, will report to Mike. Mike will continue to be our point person for driving over-arching industry issues for Newspapers. 

Mike will oversee: 

Austin American-Statesman (Susie Gray)
The Palm Beach Post (Tim Burke)
Newspaper Shared Services
Healthcare Strategy* venture (Walt Phillips)
CMG Technology (Mark Beck)
Digital Revenue Operations* (Joe Weir)
I have asked Mike to evaluate the Newspaper 2020 Strategy being led by Tim Burke, Mark Medici and Eric Myers.

Marian Pittman’s organization: (*Indicates a new direct report.)

Marian Pittman will drive converged content for CMG.  Content is king in our business, and aligning the strategy for how we best distribute content over our various platforms is a key area for our future success.  Fan’s 1st Media and the Verticals are additional examples of creative niche content deployed in a digital environment.  These will combine under Marian in our new organizational structure.

Marian will oversee: 

Fans 1st Media (Leon Levitt) & the Verticals* (Amy Glennon).  
Digital and Core Audience growth and Distribution strategy (Mike Dreaden and Ian Stinson).  Mike and Ian will work on our growth strategy and content collaboration where we have multiple newsrooms in a market.
National Content Strategy, including National Content Desk (Ian Stinson) & Washington
D.C. Bureau* (Mike Dreaden)
Content Optimization and Engagement (Mike Lupo).  We will focus on best practices across platforms and shared newsroom execution. 
CMG Research (Bill Thiel)
And CMG’s Innovation Lab (Leon Levitt who oversees Tim Lott’s team)
Marian will partner with Mike Joseph, CMG Digital and CMG Technology on Product Development Strategy like Over The Top (OTT), apps, Follow the Lead, Millennial News Product, Personalization, etc.

Brett Fennell's group is not changing.  He will continue to oversee: 

National Advertising Platforms (CoxReps – David Palmer & Jason Morrow, Gamut – Rachel Williamson, & Videa – Shereta Williams)
CMG Finance (Jason Facer)
CMG Strategy & Corporate Development (Derek Robinson)
Engineering (Dave Siegler)
And the CMG Finance Resource Center (Melody Darch)
The Chief HR Officer team, (Karen Bennett’s former area as she transitions to Cox Communications on Aug. 28) will not change, although we are still recruiting for her replacement.  The group includes:

CMG Corporate Communications team led by Andy McDill
The Human Resources Business partner teams led by Emily Chambers, Mary Robert, and Ashley Peterson
Total Rewards team led by Stephanie Emhoff  
And Workforce Solutions and the ERC teams led by Anne Friedlander
Talent Management
We’re confident that aligning our leadership and operations in Orlando, Jacksonville and Tulsa markets will provide a stronger presence in each of these markets. Having all of Atlanta under Jane will allow for market-wide decisions, building a coordinated and dominant CMG Atlanta strategy.   

We all know that the media industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and we need to be more agile in our strategy.  We know that collaboration and convergence works.  In Dayton, we have proven results, with significant increases across the board in ratings share, revenue share and profitability. In addition, our Dayton teams now have multi-platform expertise.  Building a successful model in Dayton took time, and we want to be intentional and heed the learnings from Dayton as we consider the same opportunities for our other multi-media markets.  We need to do a better job of sharing best practices and resources.  It is important that in all areas of CMG that we rally together, competing together, rather than against each other. 

This is an exciting time for Cox Media Group.  I want to emphasize this is Phase 1 toward shaping our future. I am challenging the EVP leaders to continue to build a stronger CMG, starting immediately by 1) aligning the multiple platforms under their leadership and 2) perpetuating stronger collaboration across those platforms, teams and departments. Please provide those EVPs who will now oversee new markets and platforms, as well as your local leaders, with your unconditional support. 

We are committed to keeping you informed as we continue to evolve CMG.  Thank you all for your commitment to Speed, Passion and Courage and for your continued contributions to making CMG and your local businesses a success!

We’re in this fight together, and I’m so excited to see all that we’re going to accomplish going forward.