Turner announces a new division to lead its digital innovation internationally, with two key executive moves ensuing. Aksel van der Wal, currently SVP and CFO, is being promoted to the new role of Executive Vice President, Digital Ventures and Innovation for Turner’s international operations, effective January 1. Stepping into van der Wal’s former position in the new year will be Trey Turner, currently SVP of corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions.
“As our industry undergoes huge evolution, the impact of digital disruption and changing consumer behaviour continues to put audience insight right at the heart of our business strategy,” said Gerhard Zeiler, President, Turner International, to whom van der Wal will report. “This new division will ensure that we assess new opportunities for innovation, development and acquisition through the lens of relevant, robust consumer data and through a realigned, agile organisational structure. Aksel’s experience in transformative management, his first-class understanding of both the linear and digital media landscapes, and his detailed knowledge of Turner’s international operation, all combine to make him a superb fit for this new role.”
Under van der Wal, the new division will focus on driving profitable growth through international consumer-centric initiatives, including all of Turner’s international multi-platform suite of digital properties and its direct-to-consumer product strategy. He remains responsible for the company’s international technology & operations (T&O) organization.
In close co-operation with the Turner International presidents, van der Wal has the responsibility for the existing portfolio of international products and services on the web, for smart phones, games, apps and OTT, and he will also be charged with developing new digital direct-to-consumer businesses, leading a cross-platform business intelligence function that drives consumer insight; managing the internal T&O infrastructure; and helping to implement the strategy of the non-linear ad sales business. Additionally, he will identify new opportunities for Turner and decide on how to engage in those new areas, through technological product innovation and/or acquisitions.
Aksel van der Wal joined Turner in 2014 as CFO, Turner EMEA and was promoted to SVP and CFO, International, in June 2015. Before joining Turner, van der Wal worked for three years and served as CEO, Time Out, in London and New York. His leadership of its global operations embraced digital expansion, a complete overhaul of its digital platforms, new e- commerce operations and the revitalization of its traditional businesses through innovative approaches. Prior to Time Out, he was CFO at Seatwave, and previously held senior financial and business development roles at Vodafone including CFO of partner markets. He started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has an MBA from INSEAD, and a LLM tax law from Leiden University, NL. A native Dutch speaker and fluent in English, he also speaks German, French and Spanish.
Based in Atlanta, Turner will report to Pascal Desroches, EVP and CFO of Turner, while working closely with Zeiler. He will be responsible for all of International’s financial operations and will be an active partner and contributor in shaping the direction of the company’s international business and implementing its strategy.
Before his current SVP role at Turner, Trey Turner was director of finance for CNN worldwide, where he was responsible for strategic finance support, leading the financial analysis and business justification for new initiatives, partnerships, and investments. Prior to joining the company, Turner was with the corporate finance department of Stephens Inc. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in analytical finance from Wake Forest University, where he graduated cum laude, and currently serves on the Alumni Council for the School of Business.