Alison Tarrant, an NBCUniversal ad-sales executive vice president known for her smart touch with weaving advertising and content together, is leaving the company a few weeks after it restructured its ad-sales operations.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of the leadership team at NBCU during the transformation and creation of our portfolio advertising sales approach. After building the portfolio network partnerships teams, client partnerships and client strategy teams, it is a good time for me to explore new challenges outside of the company. I am incredibly proud of the many accomplishments of these industry leading teams and believe my colleagues at NBCU will continue the momentum,” Tarrant said in a statement. “I am grateful to [NBCU CEO] Steve Burke,[NBCU ad-sales chairman] Linda Yaccarino as well as many partners at NBCU for this remarkable experience.”
The decision to part ways with NBCU is said to be Tarrant’s, according to a person familiar with the matter.
NBCUniversal last month unveiled a shake-up of its advertising-sales structure, elevating Laura Molen and Mark Marshall each to the role of president of the division, reporting to Yaccarino. Tarrant had reported directly to Yaccarino when she joined NBCU in 2012.
Tarrant is a longtime specialist in finding new ways to align advertising with programming. She spent 12 years at the CW as executive vice president of integrated sales and marketing and became known for striking landmark deals that put Verizon Wireless phones in the hands of characters from “Gossip Girl,” for example, or developing a commercial concept known as a “cwinger” that told a story during a TV ad and then directed viewers to go online to find out more.
At NBCU, Tarrant supervised work with a larger portfolio of networks, and her team developed initiatives such as a 2016 campaign for Chrysler’s Pacifica automobile that doubled as a promotional effort for the release of the animated film “The Secret Life of Pets” from its Universal Pictures unit. The effort made use of everything from late-night host Seth Meyers and his dog to Vox Media and BuzzFeed, two digital-media outlets in which NBCUniversal is an investor. She also helped set in motion what has become in recent years a new-media Thanksgiving tradition at NBC – a live-stream of the network’s broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sponsored by Verizon. “This partnership enables us to create content together that we would not have been able to do on our own,” Tarrant told Variety in a 2016 interview.