Univision, the traditional leader in Hispanic broadcasting that has faced fresh challenges in recent years, has confirmed that Randy Falco, who led the company for eight years, will hand the CEO baton to Vincent Sadusky this week.
The move was telegraphed last week in reports by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. Sadusky is the former CEO of Media General, a local TV station giant that was acquired by Nexstar. He also served an executive stint at Univision rival Telemundo, including several years as CFO.
Falco, 64, who made his reputation during a lengthy tenure at NBC, where his achievements included building the network’s multi-billion-dollar Olympics business. He will remain at Univision through the end of 2018 during the transition. Sadusky, 53, will officially begin as CEO on Friday.
In the official announcement about the exec move, Univision chairman Haim Saban called it a “unique moment” for the company. He saluted Sadusky’s “track record of leadership, vision, deep industry experience and relationships,” while also praising Falco. He credited the outgoing CEO for leading “the transformation of UCI into a modern media organization with a diverse portfolio of assets, sterling brands and content that audiences and marketers want.”
Falco’s retirement plans changed abruptly earlier this year. Just months after extending his contract through 2020, he announced that he planned to accelerate the timetable to end his run at the end of this year. The company has hit a bumpy period as it decided to abandon plans for an IPO and initiate a round of significant cost reductions and a reorganization.
While Univision remains the traditional power among Hispanic TV viewers, it has faced intense competition from Telemundo, which has won several ratings victories in recent years and claimed a major beachhead with World Cup soccer rights. At the same time, Univision has scooped up a collection of digital assets such as Gizmodo Media (the former Gawker properties) and The Onion, while also backing cable/digital news channel Fusion.
“Leading UCI has been one of the most personally and professionally rewarding experiences of my life,” Falco said. “So much has changed – and will continue to change – in the media landscape but through it all one thing remains true: no other media company serves and supports Hispanic America like UCI, something that is more important than ever in our world today. I believe wholeheartedly in UCI’s mission and vision and am confident that the company will remain on a path for continued success with Vince leading the way.”
Sadusky, 53, previously led a local TV group, Lin, which was bought by Media General during the station sector’s consolidation wave. “It’s an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to serve as CEO of UCI, a company I have long admired for its important mission to serve as a lifeline and advocate for its community, and the strong bonds it has built with its audience,” he said.