CNN Taps Phil Nelson as Executive Vice President of CNN International Commercial

Prior to joining CNN, Nelson was Managing Director, Turner North Asia and South East Asia Pacific.

CNN Worldwide has appointed Phil Nelson to lead the network’s international business operations and its work with commercial partners outside of the US.

As CNNIC’s Chief Operating Officer since 2019, Nelson led operational and international growth initiatives while managing advertising sales support functions. In that time he put in place the framework for CNNIC’s Audience First ad sales strategy, took CNN content onto new platforms, and grew the portfolio of CNN’s international affiliate business.

Prior to joining CNN, Nelson was Managing Director, Turner North Asia and South East Asia Pacific, overseeing all aspects of Turner’s business in these regions. He had previously held other business development and strategic planning roles at Turner since joining in 2010 and has significant digital experience from his time at AOL, where he was Managing Director for AOL Asia. In addition, Nelson holds an MBA from Harvard University and, prior to entering the corporate sector, was a commander in the US Navy.


As Executive Vice President of CNN International Commercial (CNNIC), Nelson is responsible for all international Advertising Sales, Content Sales & Licensing and Commercial Distribution revenue, as well as related client solutions functions including the award-winning Create brand studio and world-class digital and data operations.

In the role, Nelson works with partners across the Warner Bros. Discovery business on areas such as CNN International’s distribution strategy and collaboration on digital operations and ad sales to provide more opportunities for brand partners to access news and other genres across the portfolio. Nelson becomes part of CNN Worldwide’s leadership team and will report to the network’s Group Executive Vice President of Business Operations & Strategy, Chris Marlin.

CNN announced additional changes to CNNIC’s executive leadership team including Cathy Ibal being appointed as Senior Vice President, Advertising Sales, to oversee all CNN’s international advertising sales, and Rob Bradley being appointed Senior Vice President, Digital Revenue, Strategy & Operations.

It was additionally announced that CNNIC’s creative, data, revenue strategy and client services are all being brought into one unit under the leadership of James Hunt, Senior Vice President, Global Client Solutions.


“As we look to the future, we are creating new ways for partners to work with CNN that enable advertisers to engage with our audiences wherever they consume CNN and for broadcasters, publishers, Out of Home partners and platforms to access and leverage our world-renowned content and journalism,” said said Nelson.

“In a fast-changing media landscape, we are combining the best of CNN’s content and commercial offering in an innovative way that reflects client and market needs as well as audience expectations.”

CNN International Commercial (CNNIC) is responsible for the business operations of CNN’s properties outside of the United States.


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