David Poltrack, a lion of the television research business whose career at CBS has spanned nearly 50 years, has announced his retirement as Chief Research Officer and President of CBS Vision.

The exit planned for June 30, 2019, has been in the offing for years, the company stressed. But it is just the latest step in a top-to-bottom reshaping of the company after the departure in September of longtime CEO Les Moonves, with executive moves seemingly announced every day. On top of several key executive changes, earlier this month interim board chairman Dick Parsons announced he would step down, citing health concerns.

Poltrack attained his current title in 2005, following several promotions. A familiar sight in a range of settings — from trade shows to academic classrooms to industry conferences — he has become the dean of reading the tea leaves of viewership trends. Areas under his aegis include audience measurement, analytics, market research, program testing and advertising research. One physical manifestation of the legacy Poltrack will leave behind is the CBS Television City Research Center in Las Vegas. The testing facility tucked away in an MGM Grand shopping mall is where teams of researchers overseen by Poltrack have fine-tuned some of the network’s biggest hit shows for years.

CBS

In his remaining months at the company, according to the official announcement, Poltrack will focus on research initiatives including media consumption and brand equity of broadcast networks in new media, as well as the long-term outlook for broadcast networks. Radha Subramanyam, who was named Executive Vice President, Chief Research and Analytics Officer for the CBS broadcast network in 2017, will oversee research as Poltrack makes his transition.

“Dave is a legend in the field of research and our business overall,” said acting CEO Joe Ianniello. “Back in 2014, Dave came forward and said he wanted to step aside in his 50th year at CBS. With today’s news, I am pleased to say he has reached this remarkable milestone…and what an extraordinary 50 years it’s been.”

Jo Ann Ross, President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, saluted Poltrack’s “invaluable contributions to our sales efforts, as well as his undying passion for the media business and his commitment to innovation.” She added that he is “the definition of a true gentleman and a scholar. His many years of loyalty, leadership and dedication are second to none, and his impact on CBS – and the industry as a whole – has been immeasurable.”