Oath hires NFL vet Natalie Ravitz as comms chief as it preps OTT video

On the back of a big merger and rebranding under owner Verizon, and preparing to launch an OTT video strategy, the companies formerly known as Aol and Yahoo (which also owns TC), and now known as Oath, has been making a lot of changes in its executive bench. Today comes the latest development on that front. Natalie Ravitz is starting today as Oath’s new chief communications officer and “chief storyteller.”

She’s replacing Caroline Campbell, who is leaving the company after nine years with Oath and before that AOL. Campbell was based first in New York and then relocated down to Washington. More recently, Oath has been looking for a comms person to work in the role out of NYC, and as Campbell wants to stay in the DC area, it seemed like a good time for the change, TechCrunch understands.

Ravitz is the latest hired in a string of executive appointments that Armstrong has made over the last several months. Others include Guru Gowrappan as Oath’s president and COO; Vanessa Wittman as CFO; and Joanna Lambert running the company’s finance and tech verticals.

But one very important thing to note is that Tim Armstrong, who runs Oath, will not be among the many people moving around or leaving the company, and Campbell’s departure — she’s been closely linked with Armstrong at the company — does not imply that he will soon go, too. We’d heard rumors that he might be tipped to go to WPP, so we asked Armstrong about that directly, and he dismissed the notion. “You’re the second person to ask me,” he said in an interview, laughing. “I’m being totally direct when I say there is nothing with me leaving. Zero.”

Ravitz comes from the NFL, where she was the SVP of communications through the most recent Super Bowl (meaning: she has been tied into a lot of the glitz and excitement, but also the tougher job of handling the Colin Kaepernick story, a controversy that is still ongoing). Before that, she’s was a comms leader for other big-but-also-tough organizations, including 21st Century Fox and News Corp, where she was chief of staff and SVP strategy to Rupert Murdoch; communications director for NYC public schools under Mayor Mike Bloomberg; and press secretary and deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, among other roles.

That list of experience fits the bill at Oath. As we reported earlier this year, the company is working on an OTT video strategy that will bring content from across its existing properties, as well as from premium third-party providers, into a new set of apps. Armstrong confirmed that the plan is going ahead with the first of its “super channels”, as he called them, to launch this coming autumn.

“We are progressing with our plans with super channels in news, sports, entertainment and finance,” he said, “OTT channels that will be of significant scale over the next 12 months.” He said Natalie’s hiring is directly related to that. “We’re following through with this right now.”

The branding for these has yet to be announced — as have the official plans — but the plan is to make the content that is produced at Oath more visible, and thus monetisable.

Oath is an innovative young company being built around incredible platforms and brands in media and tech, with the great advantage of being part of the Verizon family,” said Natalie Ravitz, incoming Chief Communications Officer at Oath, said in a statement. “I’m excited to help Oath tell that story in new ways and to new audiences.”