Uva named Univision CEO

Ad executive replaces Perenchio

The new owners of Univision are set to announce that they have tapped longtime advertising exec Joe Uva as CEO of the U.S. Spanish-language broadcast giant.

Uva is prexy-chief exec of OMD Worldwide, one of the world’s biggest media buying agencies.

He will steer the ship after Univision’s founder, owner and CEO, A. Jerrold Perenchio, stands down after the $12.3 billion sale to private equity investors led by media mogul Haim Saban goes through. Deal still needs Federal Communications Committee approval, but the FCC is widely expected to rubber-stamp it next month.

Uva was formerly prexy of sales prexy at Turner Broadcasting, and his experience with national ad clients will help Univision raise advertising revenue.

Advertising on Spanish-language media is cheaper than on English-language webs, and ending that trend will be crucial to maintaining Univision’s double-digit growth.

Many remain skeptical that can be done in the short term, and Univision’s stellar profits are expected to flag.

For 2006, Univision’s net income grew 86% to nearly $350 million, while revenue grew 11% to $2.17 billion.

The company is slashing costs and examining the sale of assets like its music publishing biz to help finance the leveraged buyout by Saban, Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Other names bandied about during the CEO search included NBC former prexy of sales Keith Turner and Jim McNamara, former chief exec of Telemundo, NBC Universal’s Spanish-language web.

Contracts for Univision’s prexy-chief operating officer Ray Rodriguez and chief financial officer Andrew Hobson have been extended through 2009, according to recent regulatory filings.

The new owners have been unable to mollify Univision’s estranged production partner, Mexican web Televisa, which also bid for Univision.

Televisa is selling its 11% stake in Univision and wants to end the programming and licensing deal that runs through 2017 and provides the U.S. web with its hit primetime telenovelas. Televisa’s lawsuit, calling for an end to the deal, will likely proceed to trial this fall.

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