Debra O’Connell To Head ABC National Sales

She succeeds the retiring John Watkins in overseeing national advertising sales at ABC’s eight owned stations as well as their extensive digital platforms, The Live Well Network and ABC Regional Sports & Entertainment Sales.

ABC executive Debra O’Connell has been promoted to president of ABC National Television Sales, it was announced today by Rebecca Campbell, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group. She succeeds John Watkins, who previously announced that he will retire at the end of January.

ABC National Television Sales is the sales and marketing arm of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group. O’Connell will be responsible for national advertising sales at ABC’s eight owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Fresno, Calif., as well as their digital platforms, The Live Well Network and ABC Regional Sports & Entertainment Sales. ABC National Television Sales has nine regional sales offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit and Boston.

O’Connell has been with ABC for 17 years. She was previously SVP of sales for ABC National Television Sales, a position to which she was named in 2011. Prior to that, she was SVP of multimedia sales and marketing for the division from 2006 to 2011.  She was also VP of marketing at WABC New York, where she first joined the ABC Television division in 1999 after working at ABC Radio in Sales and Marketing.

She began her career as an account executive for two of Liberty Broadcasting’s radio stations, and marketing director for DiCarlo Distributors.

O’Connell serves as chairman of the Television Bureau of Advertising Sales Advisory Committee, as well as being an executive board member. She is also a member of Nielsen’s Local Alliance Committee. O’Connell is a mentor in The Walt Disney Co. mentor program and is deeply involved in the ABC NTVS internship program.

O’Connell graduated summa cum laude from Dowling College with a B.S. in professional studies and a major in marketing.

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