Bob Pittman has been named chief executive officer of Clear Channel’s parent company CC Media Holdings and will join the Board of Directors of CC Media Holdings and Clear Channel Communications, effective immediately. He also will join the board of directors of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings as its executive chairman, according to the company’s Sunday announcement. He replaces Mark Mays, who in June 2010 announced his intention to step down as CEO and who retains his role as chairman of the board at Clear Channel.
Pittman (pictured) joined Clear Channel in November 2010 as a “significant” investor and the company’s chairman of Media and Entertainment Platforms, so his new role is a clear indication that the media conglomerate has digital at the center of its growth strategy. He also has a well-established track record of building up media companies, a skill that will be particularly useful given the debt burden the company been whittling down since it was taken private in 2008.
The past year has seen Clear Channel make definitive strides into the digital world. Last weekend it officially launched New iHeartRadio, which combines personally-generated custom stations with over 850 of the company’s live broadcasts and digital-only radio stations, and the associated promotional activities demonstrated the potential of the platform for reaching millions of local and national listeners with targeted advertising and to execute on large cross-platform marketing campaigns.
Clear Channel is majority-owned by private equity firms Bain Capital and THL Partners. “I’m thrilled we were able recruit Bob into the CEO role at Clear Channel. He is the perfect fit to lead this incredibly powerful media platform. He embraces creativity, and has given employees the motivation and freedom to innovate, take risks and succeed,” said John Connaughton, managing director of Bain Capital. “He thinks big, is not afraid of change and is intensely focused on driving new businesses, expanding our creative talent and maximizing the full value of Clear Channel’s extraordinary assets, ideas and people.”
Pittman will remain a member of the New York-based private investment and venture capital company Pilot Group. Highlights of his career include being chief operating officer and then chief executive officer of MTV Networks, during which time it became the first profitable cable networks group and built the Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite and VH-1 brands. Previously he was president and chief operating offer of AOL Time Warner, having been chief executive of America Online when the ill-fated merger occurred, and resigned from that beleaguered position in 2002.
“Bob Pittman brings a long history as a brilliant innovator and brand builder — from his days as a very successful radio programmer, creator of MTV and CEO of MTV Networks to his work helping to drive the phenomenal growth of AOL and his successful investments in other digital, media and technology companies. He has already generated a renewed sense of confidence and direction not only at Clear Channel, but across the entire radio and media landscape,” said Scott Sperling, Co-President of THL Partners.
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Photo of Bob Pittman courtesy of Clear Channel