Univision Communications has promoted COO and executive vp Randy Falco to the posts of president and CEO. The appointment follows the departure of former president and CEO Joe Uva earlier this year.
Falco, 57, is a former AOL chairman and CEO and used to be a high-level executive at NBC where he spent more than 30 years. He will now also join the board of the privately held company. Haim Saban is executive chairman of Univision.
Falco joined Univision in early 2011, overseeing all revenue functions, including advertising sales, distribution sales and affiliate relations, as well as the operations of the firm's TV and radio station groups, corporate marketing, research and corporate business development.
"The board unanimously agreed that Randy's track record and expertise make him the ideal executive to lead Univision's future growth," said Saban. "Randy has over 30 years of relevant industry experience and has demonstrated his highly-skilled leadership and strategic vision at Univision over the past six months. We are confident in Randy's ability to deliver on Univision's goals and accelerate our growth as a leading multi-platform media company in America."
Falco said he was "thrilled" to take on the new positions. "Univision has been at the forefront of innovation and has grown its competitive position while continuing to serve and advocate for the important U.S. Hispanic community," he said. "I'm excited to lead a company with such tremendous growth potential and look forward to continuing to work with such an exceptional leadership team."
The new CEO earlier this year told The Hollywood Reporter that the recent census and this year's upfront advertising market could be a "tipping point" for Spanish-language media in the U.S.
Univision said it picked its new CEO after a "comprehensive" search process. Heidrick & Struggles was the executive search firm that Univision worked with, according to sources.
Why did Univision again decide to go with a non-Hispanic CEO? Sources point out Falco's deep TV business experience as a key factor along with a past at a tech firm, which is helpful as media companies, including Univision, continue to push into the online and mobile space. Falco even has public company experience, which may come in handy should Univision's private equity owners ever decide to go public again.
"Randy brings a wealth of traditional and new media experience to Univision and is moreover a substantive marquis name for a potential IPO," said Julio Rumbaut, president of Rumbaut & Co., a Miami-based media advisory firm.
According to sources, Falco was a heavy favorite for the CEO post even when he was first hired. Saban and the rest of the board have also been impressed with his work since he joined the company, they said.
Sources also pointed out that Univision has many Hispanics in top positions who have been working alongside Falco, such as Cesar Conde, the young Univision Networks president who earned a loud ovation at Univision's upfront presentation this year when he told the crowd about how the company has challenged English-language peers, such as NBC.
Falco's promotion comes at a time when NBCUniversal-owned Spanish-language media firm Telemundo is also still looking for a new head after the departure of president Don Browne.