Rita Ferro Named Disney-ABC Ad Sales President

Courtesy of Disney Channel
Rita Ferro

Using her promotion to create a portfolio-wide ad sales division, the TV Group also elevated Laura Nathanson, Debra O’Connell and Debbie Richman.

In a move designed to better integrate the TV giant's portfolio, Disney-ABC announced Wednesday that Rita Ferro will succeed retiring Geri Wang as president of advertising sales.

But Ferro, who has served as executive vp of Disney media sales and marketing for Disney Channels Worldwide for nearly seven years, will not just be running point on the broadcast network. The longtime Disney exec will oversee all ad sales functions and ad revenue-generating strategies for all of the company's domestic entertainment, news, kids, digital and radio businesses. She will report to Bruce Rosenblum, newly appointed president of business operations.

“We are combining the unmatched power of the Disney-ABC portfolio of brands, franchises and shows to create a one-stop shop for our advertising clients," Disney-ABC Television Group president Ben Sherwood said in a statement. "This new, simplified structure will create innovative and targeted opportunities that showcase the quality and reach of our content.

“Rita has done a tremendous job developing unparalleled relationships with clients and marketers and building the best kids and family sales team in the media industry,” added Rosenblum. “She’s a smart, strategic leader who works collaboratively with clients and internal partners, and has created innovative advertising and sponsorship opportunities across our portfolio of Disney-branded media offerings. Now she’ll harness those abilities on behalf of the entire organization.”

December brought news that longtime sales president Geri Wang, a staple of ABC's annual New York upfront presentation for Madison Avenue ad buyers, would retire in March. The appointment of Ferro and consolidating efforts also marks new positions for a trio of executives. Laura Nathanson will now serve as executive vp client and audience solutions, Debra O'Connell will be executive vp sales and marketing and Debbie Richman has risen to executive vp brand, revenue and yield management. All three of their teams will ultimately report to Ferro.

“It has been an honor to oversee our kids and family sales business, and I look forward to now working in concert across Disney-ABC as one unified sales team,” said Ferro. “It’s exciting to be in a position to deliver clients access to millions of engaged customers across our multitude of experiences, and have more opportunities to identify and create solutions that drive results. With such an amazing senior leadership team already in place, we’re able to hit the ground running.”