Amid changes in CBS management over the past couple of decades, advertisers could always count on one thing — a Carnegie Hall preview and Jo Ann Ross putting on a show, often dressing like a character from a hit TV series — to make the network’s publicity stunt.
Now the company’s 30-year veteran is retiring to become a consultant as chairman of Paramount Advertising. John Halley, who previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of advertising, will succeed her as president of Paramount Advertising, overseeing the company’s multi-platform sales efforts across its portfolio of broadcast, cable, digital and streaming assets. He will report to Bob Bakish, President and CEO of Paramount, with immediate effect.
In his new role, Ross will help ensure a smooth transition. She was one of the few CBS executives to lead the CBS/Viacom joint venture, and her retirement truly marks the end of an era.
“Jo Ann is a true trailblazer in our industry and the main driver behind the success of CBS, ViacomCBS, and now Paramount Global,” said Bakish. “As the world of entertainment has evolved, Jo Ann has been at the forefront of advertising innovation that has been instrumental in making Paramount a trusted partner and must-have customer for advertisers around the world. Her talent and passion for this business is matched only by her exceptional ability to lead change, build talented teams and maintain client relationships throughout her illustrious career. She left an indelible mark on Paramount during her record-breaking tenure, and we are grateful for her continued contributions.”
Ross joined CBS in 1992 as Vice President of Olympic Sales and became the first woman to serve as head of sales for a broadcast network and the longest-serving head of sales for broadcast television. She has led transformational advertising practices in the industry that have given the company a first-mover advantage and sustained market leadership, from creating new ways to sell online programming and genre-defining franchises to adapting to the advent of digital video and streaming platforms. Over time, her sharp mind, ingenuity and unwavering commitment to her team and clients have become the hallmark of her leadership.
Halley joined Viacom in 2007 and has over the past 15 years led commercial and business operations in various roles at Viacom, ViacomCBS and now Paramount’s advertising activities. He worked closely with Ross to consolidate post-merger sales and develop a go-to-market strategy. Halley’s efforts have resulted in the introduction of numerous products, including the development of Vantage, an audience targeting platform; the launch of EyeQ, Paramount’s multi-billion dollar television advertising product; and the creation of OpenAP, an advanced activation platform for the converged video market. Halley is currently the chairman of OpenAP.
“John is a proven leader and a visionary who has driven innovations in Paramount’s advertising business that have set the tone for the industry for years to come,” said Bakish. “His deep understanding of both linear and digital businesses and the drivers behind their change has led to key advances in our advertising products and enabled us to deliver better results for our clients. Given the fast pace of advertising development, John is ideally suited to lead Paramount’s sales team.”