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KSL Ex-CEO Cohen Starts New Media Shop

25 Sep, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. – Hank Cohen, former CEO of the bankrupt independent media shop KSL Media (Response This Week, Sept. 18), is starting a new agency called Windstar Media under the umbrella of Inter/Media Group of Companies, which houses direct response, production and advertising groups.

Cohen says he plans to serve smaller marketers with media budgets between $10 million and $30 million, and that he believes he can eventually grow the company beyond $700 million in billings. Cohen will run the company with Robert Yallen, president of Inter/Media and a partner in the venture.

“I’m so glad to be working with Bob. Not only is he brilliant, but he’s built a company that has all the resources I need to make this work,” Cohen said in a conversation with Response.

He added that he’d been talking with Yallen (a member of the Response Advisory Board) since 2009 about “adding another company to his [Yallen’s] services.”

Cohen, who left KSL about a month ago after serving as its CEO since 2006, told AdAge he had had years of disagreements with KSL’s chairman and founder Kal Liebowitz. “I was becoming increasingly disaligned with my partner’s visions,” he said. “I had a very small ownership of that company. [Liebowitz] was the guy. I worked for him for 25 years.”

Cohen also told AdAge he had been concerned about the firm’s profitability, which influenced the timing of his departure. “Toward the end I understood profitability was dwindling. I continued to put energy into increasing revenue to offset debt. I wish I could have done more,” he said.

Cohen will focus his time on adding accounts to Windstar in the coming months. “I’m having discussions with everybody I’ve known and using my full list of resources,” he said. Cohen said he did not have a non-compete contract with KSL and departed abruptly, giving no notice. He said he sought legal counsel when making the decision to leave.

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