Thursday, February 26, 2009

From Hispanic TV to NBC

Univision CMO Moves to NBC Universal Women's Group
Maryam Banikarim to Head Integrated Sales Marketing
By Brian Steinberg February 25, 2009

NEW YORK ( -- NBC Universal has hired former Univision Chief Marketing Officer Maryam Banikarim as senior VP-integrated sales marketing, effective immediately.

She will report to Mike Pilot, president-sales and marketing, NBC Universal, as well as Lauren Zalaznick, president, NBC Universal Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks. She will be responsible for finding advertising opportunities "outside of the transactional environment," NBC said in a statement.

She will also oversee sales marketing for NBC Universal's women and lifestyle cross-platform sales initiatives.

Ms. Banikarim is "creative, isn't afraid to experiment, and most importantly, understands how a media company can effectively function as a first-class marketing partner for its clients," Mr. Pilot said in a statement.

Ms. Banikarim was Univision Communications' first -- and only -- chief marketing officer, promoted to the role in 2005 from senior VP-strategic marketing for Univision's TV operations. (When Ms. Banikarim left Univision on Jan. 12, the company said her position would not be filled.) As Univision's CMO, she was responsible for coordinating the marketing of the company and its four divisions, TV, radio, music and online.

But she did much more. Ms. Banikarim started as CMO when Univision was still owned and run by secretive billionaire Jerrold Perenchio, making it a challenge to promote a company that didn't even allow its executives to speak to journalists, and reportedly even fined them for breaking that rule. She thrived after the company's sale to a group of private equity investors in 2007 and the very different management style of Univision's CEO, Joe Uva, who joined from Omnicom Group's OMD, where he was CEO.

Univision touted its position as the No. 1 Spanish-language network, far ahead of NBC Universal-owned Telemundo in ratings and ad dollars, but considers its real competition to be the English-language networks.

Prior to joining Univision, Ms. Banikarim worked as a management consultant specializing in marketing for a variety of clients including Time Warner, Deutsche Bank and Bacardi. Her previous experience includes roles as the marketing director for CitySearch and as a market planner for Turner Broadcasting. She began her career in 1993 as an account executive at Young & Rubicam.

Ms. Banikarim was named one of Ad Age's 40 Under 40 in 2006, and received a similar honor in 2008 as one of Crain's 40 Under 40 from Ad Age sibling Crain's New York Business.

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