Execs & Accounts for April 19, 2006

NBC Universal has formed a dedicated division aimed at helping it exploit opportunities in digital media. Darren Feher, EVP and CTO of NBCU, will head up the Technology Growth Center (TGC). The TGC will work on technical product development; policy; strategy and standards; emerging technology and research; and anti-piracy technical operations. So far, the unit has helped add iTV and SMS interactivity to NBC programs.

“With digital media rapidly changing the way we do business, it is more important than ever to have a coordinated approach to technology across all of NBC Universal,” said Feher. “I am thrilled to be taking on such an important challenge for the company,” he added.

Fox Interactive Media President Ross Levinsohn will join the board of directors of jobs classifieds site SimplyHired. The seat comes as part of a $13.5 million financing from the company, which will be used in part to help build the team. The second investor in the round was VC firm Foundation Capital.

Verizon has named Andrea Fant-Hobbs as vice president of brand management, reporting to Jerri DeVard. DeVard is SVP of marketing and brand management for Verizon.

Fant-Hobbs will develop and execute all branding, corporate advertising, media planning and buying, as well as sponsorship activities designed to build and extend the Verizon brand. Previously, Fant-Hobbs was vice president and account director for agency Vigilante, where she engineered the launch of GM’s Pontiac G6 on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Online ad rep firm Jumpstart Automotive Media is expanding its creative development department in response to a growth in creative needs. Dave Latham, previously an account manager for Jumpstart, has been promoted to manager of creative development. Other Jumpstart employees will be combined into a new creative team. These include Jennifer Hill, Kelly McGuigan, Heather Curran and Aaron Lowe.

FHMUS.com, the companion Web site to lad mag FHM, has selected Winstar, a division of Interep Interactive, as its exclusive online sales rep. The company recently relaunched its Web site to place an increased emphasis on original content, hoping to become a daily destination for young men. Interep will sell “full-page” ads within a virtual magazine and video ads, among other inventory.

LonelyPlanet.com tapped Quigo to power the travel publisher’s new pay-per-click contextual ad marketplace. The company will use a private-label version of Quigo’s AdSonar platform. Lonely Planet doesn’t accept ads in its guidebooks but recently signed with Travel Ad Network to sell display ads on its site.

Ad network BlueLithium added James Hogan as the sixth member of its board of directors. Hogan is a general partner at Telos Venture partners and holds board positions at four other technology companies.

Analytics firm Omniture has appointed Ned Sizer, formerly a VP at Macromedia, as VP of financial planning and analysis. He’ll report to CFO Mike Herring.

Larry Lieberman, formerly president of entertainment marketing firm Forever Wild, is taking the job of CMO of Virgin Comics/Virgin Animation. Lieberman previously served stints at Comedy Central, Warner Music Group and MTV.

Interactive ad technology firm AdDynamix has hired Sean Finn as EVP of media development. Finn was formerly the vice president of network development at Fastclick/ValueClick Media.

Digital marketing services firm One to One Interactive has appointed Richard Jacobsen to the company’s board of directors. Jacobsen’s background includes serving as president of Time Warner Retail Sales and Marketing, and other roles at Time Inc. He’s currently a member of the board of the International Periodical Distributors Association and has served on other magazine-related boards.

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