CBS has resurrected its television network division and elevated Peter Lund to president, in effect making him the No. 3 man in the company behind CBS chairman/chief executive Laurence Tisch and CBS/Broadcast Group president Howard Stringer.
Lund, who continues to report to Stringer, will also remain in his post as exec veepee of the broadcast group. In the two positions, Lund assumes responsibility for sales, marketing/communications and affiliate relations, as well as continuing to oversee the seven owned TV stations and CBS’ radio divisions.
Reports of the discussed promotion first surfaced late last year. Although Lund and Stringer were unavailable for comment, a CBS spokeswoman acknowledged that the promotion “was in the works for a long time,” citing Lund’s “vital contributions to the network,” particularly in sales and marketing.
Sources outside the company say Ted Turner was trying to entice Lund away from CBS with the offer of president of Turner broadcast sales. With CBS Entertainment prexy Jeff Sagansky’s plans still in question (Daily Variety, March 14), these sources point out that the loss of two top network officials within weeks of each other would make a lot of people nervous on Wall Street, Madison Avenue and within the Hollywood production community.
According to one insider, Lund will free Stringer to devote more time to stroking the creative community, which would be particularly valuable if Sagansky leaves the web. The current management team has helped CBS achieve what will be its third consecutive season as the No. 1 network in primetime.
In a statement, Stringer mentioned CBS’ record Nielsen ratings for the Winter Olympics, the “stunning success” of “Late Night With David Letterman” and “our continued leadership in primetime and daytime” as reasons for CBS to “formally reinstate the ‘network’ division” and make Lund president.
Right now, CBS is one of Wall Street’s media darlings. “Operationally and financially, CBS is in great shape,” said Melissa Cook, a media analyst for Prudential Securities.
In a recent report recommending CBS’ stock, Jay Nelson, media analyst for Brown Brothers Harriman, said he’s forecasting a 34% spurt in operating profits for the network, to $ 275 million this year from $ 205 million in 1993.
As for two areas directly within Lund’s purview, Nelson predicts that the operating profits of TV stations division will increase to $ 185 million from $ 180 million in 1993, and radio division profits will jump to $ 50 million from last year’s $ 36 million.
Lund spent 10 years at CBS, from 1977-87, before leaving the CBS fold for three years to become president of Multimedia Entertainment, which produces and syndicates “Donahue” and “Sally Jessy Raphael.” He returned in October 1990 in two posts, as executive VP of the CBS/Broadcast Group and president of CBS marketing.
Lund’s first job at the network was VP and general manager of the CBS-owned AM radio stations. He later served as VP-general manager at the network’s O&Os in Chicago and New York, followed by a stint from 1984-86 as president of CBS Sports and then a year as president of the CBS-owned TV station group.
In the 15 years before he joined CBS, Lund was an exec at a variety of radio stations.