What’s Subsequent for MediaLink Following Michael Kassan’s Exit

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The authorized fallout between MediaLink founder Michael Kassan and its proprietor, United Expertise Company (UTA), has caught the world’s leisure and promoting industries unexpectedly, together with many inside the administration consultancy itself.

Now MediaLink, with out its figurehead, is dealing with questions on its management plans shifting ahead, because the succession plan for Kassan has lengthy been an unresolved concern. 

On the coronary heart of the dispute is a “Particular Bills” account that Kassan had requested within the Buy and Sale Settlement through the 2022 $125 million sale of MediaLink by Ascential to UTA. Kassan alleges breach of contract in a $25 million lawsuit filed in opposition to UTA, CEO Jeremy Zimmer and two different executives that UTA backtracked on giving him the $1.5 million expense fund to “create new enterprise alternatives for MediaLink.”

UTA offered ADWEEK with a duplicate of its lawsuit in opposition to Kassan, alleging that the fund has been misused by Kassan to repay money owed and different private bills.

Following information of Kassan’s departure and subsequent authorized motion, UTA launched an additional assertion from its counsel, Bryan Freedman.

Michael Kassan was terminated by UTA on March 7 and made conscious nicely earlier than that that UTA had grounds to fireside him,” Freedman stated. “His declare in opposition to UTA has no advantage and is an try to divert consideration from the misappropriation of firm funds that led to his termination.”

The consultancy holds a singular place within the business, serving to manufacturers work by advertising and marketing transformation tasks, conducting company critiques and inserting executives in new advertising and marketing roles. Whereas Kassan had constructed a staff round him to deal with the shopper work, he’s been the connection builder who’s made MediaLink into the business chief within the area, and business execs are skeptical MediaLink will likely be as enticing to CMOs with out him.

“There’s a robust govt management staff in place at MediaLink that continues to hold the enterprise ahead,” stated a UTA spokesperson when requested a few succession plan. The corporate declined to elucidate additional who will lead the enterprise.

An ideal match goes south

In a 2023 interview with Beet.TV at CES, Kassan spoke about how he noticed his function as being “in the course of a variety of conversations” inside the advertising and marketing and media sectors. He additionally spoke about his relationship with UTA after 5 years with Ascential.

“I noticed a greater life for MediaLink in a unique setting and what UTA promised me, and delivered in spades … was the proximity to the creator economic system. The proximity of content material creation … and the proximity to an important individuals who create the content material on the earth,” he defined.

michael kassan holding a microphone on stage
Michael Kassan at a cocktail party hosted by iHeartmedia and Medialink.Toni Anne Barson/Getty Photographs