Cumulus Media Names Mary G. Berner New CEO, Lew Dickey Now Vice Chairman
September 29, 2015 at 1:24 PM (PT)
The CUMULUS MEDIA Board of Directors named MARY G. BERNER CEO of the company, effective TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13th. BERNER joined the CUMULUS board this past MAY. She will succeed LEW DICKEY, the company's Founder/CEO, who will continue to serve as Vice Chairman and as a director of the company.
BERNER most recently served as Pres./CEOof MPA -- THE ASSOCIATION OF MAGAZINE MEDIA ("MPA"), the industry association for magazine media companies.
CUMULUS MEDIA Chairman Of The Board JEFFREY MARCUS, a Partner at CRESTVIEW PARTNERS, which manages funds that own approximately 27% of CUMULUS' outstanding stock, said, "We are delighted that MARY has agreed to serve as our new CEO. She is a proven executive, with over 30 years of experience in media driving results in multi-platform advertising and content-driven businesses. Not only has she successfully built and transformed some of the best-known consumer and b2b media brands and companies in the world, she has demonstrated an ability to turn around a company's performance and build value for shareholders.
"Under LEW DICKEY's leadership, the CUMULUS team has built a formidable national and local footprint, becoming the second largest operator of radio stations in the country, with more than 460 stations across 90 markets, approximately 8,500 broadcast radio affiliates and numerous digital channels serving over 225 million listeners nationwide. However, maximizing the value of these assets requires making them work together effectively and efficiently. At a time when the media landscape continues to undergo seismic transformation, CUMULUS needs a broad-based media operator who can leverage its outstanding resources – from its core strength in radio to its growing presence in digital, experiential and other emerging platforms – and capitalize on the industry's strong fundamentals. The board has had the benefit of seeing MARY in action and is fully confident that she is the right leader for CUMULUS."
BERNER added, "I am honored to have been asked to lead CUMULUS MEDIA and am eager to work with the board and the company's talented teams to implement LEW's vision of building the next generation multi-platform media company. As the director who led the OPERATIONS REVIEW TASK FORCE established by the board, I have insight into the issues that CUMULUS faces, but I also know the operational leverage that can be generated by first focusing on execution. Radio is a powerful and unique medium – the number one mass reach medium in the U.S. – and CUMULUS possesses all of the elements to be one of the industry's winners. I look forward to bringing a renewed focus on operating excellence at all levels and in all functions to help CUMULUS realize its potential and generate improved financial performance and increased value for shareholders."
LEW DICKEY, Pres./CEO of CUMULUS said, "When I founded CUMULUS in 1997, my goal was to create the nationwide platform we have today, with 460 stations in 90 cities, the industry's most important network, and unique original content, such as NASH. After serving the company day-to-day for almost 19 years, and the last 16 as CEO, now is right time for me to transition from CEO to Vice Chairman. I look forward to working with my fellow board members to support our new CEO."
Over more than three decades, MARY BERNER has established a track record of successfully leading media companies to drive financial performance and growth. In recognition of her work, she was named one of the "Top Women in Media" by FOLIO magazine in 2014.
Prior to becoming Chief Executive of MPA in 2012, BERNER served as Chief Executive Officer of READER'S DIGEST ASSOCIATION and a member of the board from 2007 to 2011, where she developed and executed a successful turnaround strategy, oversaw the restructuring of the company's acquisition-related debt (after which she and her team presided over the doubling of the company's stock price) and optimized its brands and assets including through the development of new digital revenue streams. Under her direction, the $2 billion global media and direct marketing company launched 83 websites and 31 mobile apps, and built ALLRECIPES into the world's largest food website.
From NOVEMBER 1999 until JANUARY 2006, she led FAIRCHILD PUBLICATIONS, first as Pres./CEO and then as President of FAIRCHILD and as an officer of CONDE NAST, when FAIRCHILD became a division of CONDE NAST PUBLICATIONS. BERNER and her team led the company to unprecedented portfolio and financial growth – from 31 magazines and businesses in 1999 to more than 60 in 2006 – by growing profitability on core and "mature" properties, reorganizing underperforming but well-positioned businesses, creating sustainable line extensions of existing brands, and starting new businesses and magazines. In recognition of her outstanding performance, leadership and innovative excellence, ADVERTISING AGE named BERNER "Publishing Executive of the Year" in 2004.
As of 4:30p (ET), CUMULUS stock had dipped to 68 cents, down 8.5%.