Univision hires Randy Falco, former AOL and NBC executive
Univision Communications bolstered its executive team Tuesday by hiring Randy Falco, a longtime television executive known for his operational skills.
Falco -- former chief executive of AOL and former president of the NBC Universal television group --becomes executive vice president and chief operating officer of Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language media company. He will oversee all business functions -- advertising sales, marketing, research and corporate development -- and report to Joe Uva, Univision's chief executive.
The hiring of Falco was something of a surprise. Falco most recently was chairman and chief executive of AOL Inc. After leaving the troubled Internet firm, he served as an informal consultant to Comcast Corp. as it prepared its planned acquisition of controlling interest of NBC Universal. Some thought Falco's relationship with Comcast might lead to his return to NBC, where he spent more than 30 years and earned a reputation as the executive most responsible for making "the trains run on time." Falco was in line for the top job at NBC, but he left in 2006 when it became clear that Jeff Zucker would get the nod.
The move signals that Univision's board -- headed by Los Angeles billionaire Haim Saban -- felt it needed to strengthen its executive bench after a rocky two years as the company navigated through the recession, which brought a downturn in advertising spending, and the restructuring of its mountain of debt. Univision last fall resolved years of acrimony with its longtime Mexican programming partner, Grupo Televisa, ensuring the continued supply of the hugely popular telenovelas.
"I have long admired Univision -- a pioneer in the industry -- and recognized the tremendous potential and influence of the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic population," Falco said in a statement. "I look forward to working alongside Univision's exceptional team as we work to further realize the substantial growth potential of this dynamic organization."
-- Meg James
Photo of Randy Falco courtesy of Dean Cox / AP