July 15, 2015 Last Updated 1:33 pm

Kevin Gentzel, briefly at Yahoo!, now lands spot as Gannett’s first chief revenue officer

The newspaper chain Gannett, recently spun-off from its more profitable broadcast properties, today named Yahoo’s head of ad sales, Kevin Gentzel, as its first chief revenue officer. Actually, Gentzel only lasted six months at Yahoo!, but before that was Chief Revenue Officer at The Washington Post.

The move is a high profile one, and Gentzel’s reputation with agencies is heard to be good (though I really wouldn’t know).

But Gannett apparently wanted to make a splash, and they seemed to have done so with this hiring. But I would warn traditional media companies that just having a hire profile guy on board is not an answer to having the kinds of products ad buyers want today. I would refer you to yesterday’s story about Merediths acquisition of Grocery Server technology company Qponix as an example of a traditional publisher trying to align their product offerings for digital ad buyers.

Here is Gannett’s announcement:

MCLEAN, Va. – July 15, 2015 — Gannett Co., Inc. today announced that Kevin Gentzel joined the company as chief revenue officer. He comes to Gannett most recently as head of advertising sales, North America at Yahoo!, where he led the field advertising sales team and was responsible for all premium, audience, search, native, online video, programmatic, sponsorship and display advertising revenue. Prior to joining Yahoo!, Gentzel served as CRO of The Washington Post where he led The Post’s advertising innovations and development of custom ad solutions as the media organization began its transformation under Jeff Bezos.

“Having Kevin join Gannett in this new role is another testament to the strong position we have in the marketplace and the talented bench of leaders who know our potential and are motivated to help us realize it. I’m excited to have Kevin join our executive management team and am confident he will be a change agent right out of the gate,” said Bob Dickey, CEO for Gannett.

“Kevin becomes the first CRO for Gannett. It indicates an important change in the commitment to leveraging our proven local to national capabilities for advertisers in forward-looking and unique ways. Kevin brings years of media experience, a passion for the business and a track record for innovation while leading successful sales organizations. He understands the very different media and marketing tools necessary to deliver value from the small local business to the country’s top retailers and national brands,” said John Zidich, president of domestic publishing for Gannett.

“I am passionate about journalism and content and creating a great reader experience. Gannett does all of this very well and I am excited about our potential. The new Gannett starts with strong brands and a large audience of over 100 million unique visitors across its owned and operated sites, and continues to have passionate readers engage with its printed newspaper editions,” said Kevin Gentzel, CRO for Gannett. “Its ‘nationwide’ newsroom scales content for readers and advertisers. Every story starts somewhere — and this local-national-local journalism capability Gannett owns is powerful. From an ad product perspective, I am very interested in building branded content capabilities that mirror this local-national-local strategy. All of this gives Gannett the opportunity and permission to do great things and grow.”

Before joining The Post, Gentzel was CRO of NDN, an online video syndication and news distribution platform. There, he was responsible for all advertising revenue, brand marketing and corporate communications for the company, as well as creating future revenue-driving initiatives that grew the brand’s revenue by 300 percent.

Prior to NDN, Gentzel was CRO at Forbes Media where he drove advertising revenue and marketing for Forbes.com and Forbes magazine, among other publications. He was at the forefront of developing native advertising, and created and launched its native product AdVoice on Forbes.com and in Forbes Magazine.

Gentzel started with Forbes Media in 1999, where he was vice president and associate publisher of Forbes Magazine. During this time, Forbes experienced all-time highs in market share within the competitive business magazine category. In 2006, Gentzel was promoted to chief advertising officer of Forbes.com. Under his direction, Forbes.com was awarded “Sales Team of the Year” for 2006 and 2007 by the Razorfish agency and MIN magazine.

Gentzel is a sought-after voice at top media industry conferences and has spoken at events that include Business Insider’s IGNITION, Financial Times’ Digital Media Summit in London, Forbes CMO Summit, and Digiday’s Publishing Summit. He also serves on the advisory boards of a handful of early-stage companies.

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