Bell Media adds Astral execs to leadership team

Luc Sabbatini has been appointed president of Bell Media Sales, taking over from Rita Fabian as the BCE-Astral transaction closes July 5.
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Bell Media is adding four Astral executives to its senior leadership team as the Bell-Astral transaction closes today.

Announced by Bell Media president Kevin Crull on Thursday, Jacques Parisien will become president, national specialty and pay TV, radio and out-of-home; Charles Benoît is named president, television and radio, Quebec; and Luc Quétel is appointed president, Astral Out-of-Home.

Parisien, reporting to Crull and based in Montreal, will oversee the company’s 34 national specialty, four pay TV and 107 radio properties in English and French. He will also oversee out-of-home operations, which will retain its name as Astral Out-of-Home. Parisien is currently Astral Media EVP and COO, and president of Astral Radio, and oversees Astral’s operations and growth strategy. He joined Astral in 1994, after working several years at Telemedia prior.

Benoît will oversee Bell Media’s French-language non-sports TV, radio and new media, which will operate as one unit in Montreal. That includes programming, marketing and communications for 21 French-language and four English-language radio stations in Québec, six French-language specialty and pay channels and affiliated digital properties, and operations of 25 radio stations. In his current position as EVP of Astral Radio, Benoît oversees Astral Radio’s 84 radio stations and development opportunities.

Quétel in Montreal will oversee operations of Bell Media’s OOH network in Quebec, Ontario and BC, with product lines including outdoor advertising, street furniture, transportation and digital. Quétel, who has extensive advertising experience with the transportation industry, founded Passeportmedia in 1998, which was then bought by Astral in 2005. Quétel is currently Astral’s VP, business development.

On the sales side, Astral exec Luc Sabbatini has been appointed as president of Bell Media Sales. Sabbatini, following the transaction’s closing, will oversee an integrated French and English sales team.

Rita Fabian, current EVP, advertising sales for Bell Media, will depart the company in early October, after guiding the sales team through the integration process, according to a release from Bell Media.  She first joined the company in 1986.

Sabbatini, who will be based in Montreal and Toronto, will oversee all national conventional and specialty TV, national radio, out-of-home, digital and multi-platform advertising sales, brand partnerships and media creativity.

The move comes as Bell Media also launches Bell Media Mix, a new one-stop advertising opportunity for all of Bell Media’s brands and platforms.

Also announced Thursday, Astral’s current president of Les Chaînes Télé Astral and president of MusiquePlus, Pierre Roy, will retire after a 30-year career in the TV and media industry. He became president of Les Chaînes Télé Astral in 1992, and of MusiquePlus in 2007.

And Astral board chair André Bureau will continue his work as counsel at Heenan Blaikie. Former CRTC chair Bureau joined Astral in 1990 as president and CEO of Astral Bellevue Communications and has held several executive roles in the company.

From Playback Daily