Turner Ad Sales Chief Donna Speciale to Exit WarnerMedia

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Donna Speciale

She is the latest exec to leave the company as it transforms under AT&T ownership.

Two months after appearing on the stage at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Gardens for WarnerMedia’s first official upfront presentation, Turner ad sales president Donna Speciale is leaving the company amid a reorganization of the division. 

Frank Sgrizzi, who was executive vp portfolio sales and client partnerships, and Dan Riess, who was executive vp of the Ignite, the company's content and data solutions-based team, also will leave the company. 

Chief revenue officer Gerhard Zeiler made the announcement on Wednesday. 

The execs are the latest to exit as WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey is in the throes of synergizing the company’s disparate content brands. Speciale’s one-time boss, Turner president David Levy, and HBO CEO Richard Plepler left in March in the first executive shake-up after AT&T’s $81 billion acquisition of Time Warner cleared a regulatory challenge from the Trump administration’s Justice Department. 

Days later, Stankey tapped Bob Greenblatt to oversee the company’s TV operations (including TBS, TNT and HBO) as well as the streaming service HBO Max, which is set to launch in 2020. Stankey also added Turner Sports and Bleacher Report to CNN chief Jeff Zucker’s portfolio and appointed Zeiler, formerly Turner International president, to chief revenue officer, overseeing network affiliates sales and ad sales for Turner, sports and news. Speciale became among Zeiler’s direct reports.

Speciale joined Turner in 2012 after a long career on the agency side of the industry at MediaVest Worldwide, where she served as president of investment and activation and agency operations. During the company’s upfront presentation to media buyers in May, she talked up the promised massive scale of WarnerMedia’s forthcoming SVOD service.

WarnerMedia has offered generous buyouts to longtime employees, and several veterans of HBO have since left, including chief digital officer Diane Tryneski Bernadette Aulestia, who led global distribution.

The Information was the first to report Speciale’s exit.