Turner out as NBC Uni ad chief


NEW YORK -- NBC Universal ad chief Keith Turner is leaving the company in the third departure of a top executive in as many weeks.

Turner was a key ally of television group president Randy Falco, who left NBC after a 26-year career to head the AOL division of Time Warner. Turner had been at NBC for nearly two decades, most recently as president of sales and marketing. It was announced in a memo sent today by NBC Uni CEO Bob Wright.

"Keith has been an outstanding leader of our sales organization for the past eight years and has played a significant role in our success throughout his almost 20-year career at NBC," Wright wrote. "He has built a first-rate team of sales professionals who will continue to be industry leaders in our rapidly evolving business environment."

NBC Uni's broadcast TV business fell from its longtime perch at the top of the pyramid with the series finale of "Friends." NBC went from first to fourth in the adults 18-49 demographic the next year, losing almost $1 billion in 2005 and then having another difficult upfront in 2006. It has seen some signs of life with series like "Deal Or No Deal," "Heroes" and "The Office" as well as the introduction of "Sunday Night Football."

It wasn't immediately clear when Turner would depart, or where he was going. Sources have indicated that the new president of NBC's sales and marketing wouldn't come from inside NBC Uni but instead from General Electric, NBC's parent company.

Falco's departure was followed a day later by news that David Zaslav, head of the cable/new media business, would leave to become CEO of Discovery Communications. NBC Uni is undergoing a dramatic change with the NBCU 2.0 program, which was unveiled in October and will lead to 700 job cuts and hundreds of millions of dollars in savings.