Former AOL Media Networks President Michael Kelly has been hired as CEO of The Weather Channel Companies, in indication the company is counting on multiple platforms to fuel ad growth.
The Chicago native replaces interim Weather Channel head Lisa Gersh, who also serves as president of strategic initiatives at NBC Universal. The Weather Channel Companies is owned by NBC Universal and two private equity firms, The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.
In a statement announcing Kelly’s hiring, Gersh and representatives of the equity firms cited Kelly’s two decades of media experience. “He understands how to reach our viewers and users and partner with our advertisers in order to maximize the growth of the business on a cross-platform basis,” said the statement. The Weather Channel has a presence on television, on the Web and on mobile devices.
Kelly served as president of AOL Media Networks from 2004 to 2007. During his tenure, the company completed several acquisitions, including that of Advertising.com and Third Screen Media. Prior to the AOL Media Networks job, Kelly was president of global marketing at Time Warner.
His media career began in 1980 at the Chicago Tribune and his 17 years with Time Inc. began three years later, beginning at Fortune magazine. In 2000, Kelly founded American Town Network, a large “hyper-local” network.
Based in Atlanta, The Weather Channel Companies made up of The Weather Channel Network, The Weather Channel Interactive — including Weather.com and The Weather Channel Mobile — and Weather Services International. Additionally, it operates Weatherscan, an all-local weather network, The Weather Channel Radio Network and The Weather Channel HD.