||This biographical article needs more biographical information on the subject. (April 2014)|
Ross Levinsohn (2011)
New York, N.Y.
|Occupation||Executive, Investor, Board Director|
Ross Levinsohn (born c. 1964) is a digital and media executive, board member and investor best known for his roles as CEO of Yahoo, and President of Fox Interactive. He currently serves on several media and technology boards, and is the Executive Chairman of Scout. Levinsohn currently sits on the Board Of Directors of The Tribune Company, mobile advertising solutions company Millennial Media, Zefr, which provides technology solutions for the biggest content owners and brands on YouTube, the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) and the Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program. Two of his board appointments saw exits in 2014—Softbank purchased Drama Fever and SeaChange agreed to acquire Timeline Labs as the year came to a close. He is an active angel investor and advisor, and has invested in and advises companies including ATTN, Tradesy, Knotch, Enplug, Muzik, Draft, StockTwits, Marketshare, and Fuisz Media.
Mr. Levinsohn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from The American University , and was elected to join the Board of Trustees of his Alma Mater in 2015.
Levinsohn grew up in New York City and Tenafly, New Jersey and graduated from Tenafly High School in 1981, where he lettered in Football, Soccer and Baseball for the Varsity Teams. He has a B.A. in Broadcast Communications from American University.
Levinsohn began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, where he worked on the Procter & Gamble Productions business, which oversaw four daytime dramas including As The World Turns and Guiding Light. In 1986 he began working in sports marketing and promotion across three different firms—Lapin & Rose, at which he helped promote many of the biggest boxing events worldwide, including Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler, and George Foreman vs. Gerry Cooney. He then joined ProServ, one of the two biggest sports marketing firms in the world (along with IMG), which represented such stars as Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras, and Ivan Lendl. There, Levinsohn developed marketing and promotional campaigns for athletes and events, developed television concepts and represented athletes.
HBO would serve as a springboard for his career. From 1989-1996, he held a variety of positions at the pay cable giant. He helped for and lead marketing and promotions for Time Warner Sports, an upstart inside HBO, which focused on operating HBO Sports, TVKO, the pay per view network and Time Warner Sports Productions, which produced programming across all mediums and for clients around the globe. Levinsohn then was tapped to lead a Production and Enterprises Group which looked expand and monetize the HBO brand across Licensing, Production, Merchandising and New Media. It was during this time (1994) that he got his first taste of the Internet, working to develop content for online services including CompuServe, Prodigy and America Online. He was named one of the "40 under 40" to watch by GQ Magazine in 1995.
Levinsohn was recruited by a Kleiner Perkins backed sports internet startup called Sportsline in 1996. There, he became Executive Producer, and oversaw all aspects of content and production for the sports online service. He played a critical role in helping Sportsline grow to become the second biggest sports site on the web, and the largest Fantasy Sports site in the US. He launched an online radio network that helped spawn the careers of several well known on air personalities today, and produced a syndicated television show starring NFL Coaches Marv Levy and Sam Wyche, and host Scott Kaplan. He also played a key role in bringing CBS Sports in as an equity partner in 1997, which enabled the venture backed company to IPO.
1n 1999, he was recruited by Compaq to start a new "portal" division for online search giant Alta Vista. There, he was the architect for Alta Vista Live, the portal experience for the company. He recruited an all star team to launch the service which quickly became one of the most visited sites on the internet, generating billions of page views monthly. Alta Vista was acquired by CMGI, and was on the verge of going public in March 2000, when the stock market crashed and the first bubble burst for many internet companies.
Later that year, he joined News Digital Media, the internet division of News Corporation. In 2001 he took over Fox Sports Interactive Media as SVP and a General Manager from January 2001 to January 2005. He led the interactive sports business for Fox, including the FoxSports.com site, which grew from a few hundred thousand users to more than 35 million monthly users and competed as the most popular sports site in the United States. In 2005 he was asked by Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch to develop a strategy for News Corporation to help it emerge as an internet leader. He developed the business plan for what became Fox Interactive Media and was named President of Fox Interactive Media in July 2005. A direct report of Rupert Murdoch and Peter Chernin, Levinsohn was among the architects of the News Corporation acquisition of MySpace and IGN as well as Askmen.com, Scout.com, Newroo and KSolo. In less than a year, Fox's internet properties generated more page views than any other sites in the United States, in large part due to the phenomenal growth of MySpace. In 2006, Levinsohn led a team that signed a groundbreaking search and advertising deal with Google. Levinsohn and then Google sales head Tim Armstrong along with key players on both sides including James Heckman, Adam Bain and Michael Angus from Fox, and Marissa Mayer and Susan Wojcicki from Google hammered out a nearly $1 billion deal in which Google paid Fox for exclusive rights to search and some display inventory. Fox Interactive Media's properties grew to a top five internet group during Levinsohn's tenure and maintained its growth for more than a year after his departure to explore Venture Capital investing. During his time at Fox, he built a world class management team including several leading figures in the internet world including Adam Bain, President at Twitter, Michael Barrett, CEO of Admeld (bought by Google) and now CEO of Millennial Media, Rich Rosenblatt, CEO of Demand Media, Michael Angus, General Counsel of Time Warner Cable, James Heckman, CEO of Scout Media, Mark Jung, former CEO of IGN and a well known investor and Mickie Rosen, SVP, Media at Yahoo.
In December 2007, Levinsohn and former AOL Chairman Jonathan Miller launched Velocity Interactive Group, a $1.5 billion media and communications investment fund along with Asia's media powerhouse and billionaire Keyur Patel. Their first investments signaled a broad global palette. In the US, video advertising concern Broadband Enterprises, online video programmer Next New Networks (acquired by YouTube), digital media management concern Fabrik, Inc. (sold to Hitachi), Publish 2, Generate, sold to Alloy Digital, True/Slant, sold to Forbes and 5:1, an online advertising marketplace sold to Yahoo. In India, it invested in leading media outlets NDTV and India TV, and Fuse+Media, which has financed motion pictures.
In October 2010, he was recruited to lead Yahoo's Americas Division, the companies largest revenue and profit group. There, he oversaw all media and advertising for the online giant. He helped redefine its go to market content and sales strategy as Executive Vice President of Americas and then Head of Global Media and Executive Vice President at Yahoo!. During this time he helped focus Yahoo on expanding its original premium content offerings, including investing heavily in video and premium brands. Yahoo "Screen", its video hub grew to become one of the largest premium video offerings on the web, with 9 of the top 10 most watched series on the internet. He help bring premium storytellers to Yahoo, including series with Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, Emmy Winner Anthony Zuiker (CSI) and screen legend Robert Redford and his Sundance Institute. Levinsohn also led key strategic deals to help bolster Yahoo's content offerings, including architecting a long term partnership with ABC News which contributed to the growth of Good Morning America. Levinsohn, and ABC News head Ben Sherwood famously struck the deal at a local restaurant in Brentwood, Ca., as both tell it, on a napkin. Other deals with Spotify, Clear Channel, NBC Sports and CNBC helped make Yahoo's content verticals many of the most visited on the internet. He also helped rebuild Yahoo's relationships with Advertisers which had suffered and eroded over the previous four years. He rebuilt ties to such brands as P&G, which chose Yahoo to launch its "Proud Sponsors of Mom's" Olympic video series during the 2012 Summer Games.
He was promoted to the interim Yahoo! CEO position on 13 May 2012 – the fourth CEO Yahoo! has had since September 2011. During his brief tenure, he helped stabilize the Sunnyvale based company and was touted as the likely choice to remain permanent CEO. In July, the Board ended up choosing Google's Marissa Mayer to lead the company. Levinsohn, after being passed over, decided to leave the company in August.
- "Yahoo! Inc (YHOO.O) People". Reuters.com. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Newman, Richard; Yellin, Deena; and Superville, Denisa R. "Tenafly grad takes helm at Yahoo", The Record (Bergen County), 15 May 2012. Accessed 17 May 2012. "In choosing former Tenafly resident Ross Levinsohn as its interim CEO on Monday, embattled Yahoo! Inc. picked a man who is focused, driven and confident.... Levinsohn graduated in 1981 from Tenafly High School, where he was a goalkeeper on the soccer team before switching to football "
- Ross B. Levinsohn. "Ross Levinsohn: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Jarboe, Greg; Reider, Suzie (17 August 2009). YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 14–. ISBN 978-0-470-45969-0. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- Contact Owen Thomas: Comment (2 December 2008). "Velocity interactive group News, Video and Gossip". Gawker. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Contact Nicholas Carlson: Comment. "Ross Levinsohn gets ready for another knife fight". Gawker.com. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Yahoo! Names Fred Amoroso Chairman and Appoints Ross Levinsohn Interim CEO (NASDAQ:YHOO)". Investor.yahoo.net. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn leaves company". Reuters. July 30, 2012.
|Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo!