Berner Will Head Cumulus Media as CEO

Lew Dickey will serve as vice chairman
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Mary G. Berner

Mary G. Berner

Lew Dickey is out of the CEO chair -- in favor of a woman cited by Cumulus not only for her experience but for her ability to “turn around a company's performance.”

Cumulus Media has announced that Mary G. Berner will serve as new CEO, effective Oct. 13. She joined the Cumulus board of directors in May 2015.

“As the director who led the operations review task force established by the board, I have insight into the issues that Cumulus faces, but I also know the operational leverage that can be generated by first focusing on execution,” Berner was quoted saying in the announcement. “Radio is a powerful and unique medium — the number one mass reach medium in the U.S. — and Cumulus possesses all of the elements to be one of the industry’s winners. I look forward to bringing a renewed focus on operating excellence at all levels and in all functions to help Cumulus realize its potential and generate improved financial performance and increased value for shareholders.”

Berner succeeds Lew Dickey, who has been named vice chairman and will also continue to serve as a director at the company, which he founded.

“After serving the company day-to-day for almost 19 years, and the last 16 as CEO, now is right time for me to transition from CEO to vice chairman,” Dickey said in the release. “I look forward to working with my fellow board members to support our new CEO.”

Berner most recently served as president and CEO of MPA — The Association of Magazine Media. From 2007–2011, she was CEO of Reader’s Digest Association and, before that, was CEO of Fairchild Publications. She has also held leadership roles at Glamour, TV Guide, W, Women’s Wear Daily, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Allrecipes.com.

Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Marcus called Berner “a proven executive, with over 30 years of experience in media driving results in multi-platform advertising and content driven businesses. Not only has she successfully built and transformed some of the best-known consumer and B2B media brands and companies in the world, she has demonstrated an ability to turn around a company’s performance and build value for shareholders.”

Marcus added, “Under Lew Dickey’s leadership, the Cumulus team has built a formidable national and local footprint, becoming the second largest operator of radio stations in the country, with more than 460 stations across 90 markets, approximately 8,500 broadcast radio affiliates and numerous digital channels serving over 225 million listeners nationwide.”

He continued, “However, maximizing the value of these assets requires making them work together effectively and efficiently. At a time when the media landscape continues to undergo seismic transformation, Cumulus needs a broad-based media operator who can leverage its outstanding resources — from its core strength in radio to its growing presence in digital, experiential and other emerging platforms — and capitalize on the industry’s strong fundamentals.”

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