Features

Veronica Rodriguez – TelevisaUnivision  

Building a platform for the Hispanic community 

In the 2.5 years that Veronica Rodriguez has helped guide legal and business affairs for TelevisaUnivision, she’s made significant contributions to building the largest Spanish-language platform in the world, and as important to her, bringing the Spanish-speaking community closer together.  

Veronica Rodriguez | Executive Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Global Head of M&A and Corporate  |  TelevisaUnivision  

Veronica Rodriguez | Executive Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Global Head of M&A and Corporate  |  TelevisaUnivision

At TelevisaUnivision, Rodriguez has been integral to two of the most important recent deals in Spanish-language media and the launch of the largest Spanish-language streaming platform in the world.  

Rodriguez played a key role in closing the $4.8 billion transaction between Grupo Televisa and Univision, creating a media giant that currently reaches more than 100 million Spanish speakers (60% of TV viewers) every day in the U.S. and Mexico with television, streaming, digital and audio services, and programming.  

The transaction was followed by acquiring Pantaya LLC, a U.S.-based streaming platform for Spanish-language movies and series, from Hemisphere Media Group. The acquisition of Pantaya was a stepping stone for TelevisaUnivision’s launch of its own Spanish-language streaming service, ViX, and has been instrumental to its success. ViX was the first large-scale streaming service exclusively serving the Spanish-speaking world and providing the community with modern, informative content.  

Getting her start 

Born in New Jersey to parents who emigrated from Cuba, Rodriguez learned to speak English in kindergarten. Becoming a lawyer was not a predetermined or planned path for her. However, while she was earning her bachelor’s degree in business management from Rutgers University, she took a course on business, government and society with Professor Michael Santoro that included a section on the law. Santoro, an attorney, used the Socratic method to teach the law section and the argumentative dialogues he encouraged piqued Rodriguez’s interest.  

After graduating from Rutgers in 2002, she enrolled at Hofstra University School of Law and earned her J.D. in 2005. Rodriguez’s legal career began in private practice in New York City as an associate at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, where she specialized in M&A and capital markets. In May 2012, Rodriguez joined the New York City office of Paul Hastings as Of Counsel in its Latin American corporate group. In 2021, Rodriguez took a leap, joining Univision. Rodriguez says that she “Always wanted to do more for the Spanish-speaking community,” and joining Univision allowed her to do that.  

Taking action 

When Rodriguez joined Univision she quickly recognized the talent and potential of an attorney on her corporate team in Mexico. Rodriguez took action; she worked with Todd Crider, who leads the Latin American practice at the firm of Simpson Thatcher, to secure a spot for her colleague in the firm’s International Associate Program. 

“Those positions are highly coveted and very difficult to get. It allowed my colleague to gain valuable experience, which would benefit her career,” Rodriguez says. “She told me that opportunity changed her life.”  

Veronica Rodriguez | Executive Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Global Head of M&A and Corporate  |  TelevisaUnivision  

The transaction between Mexico-based Grupo Televisa and U.S.-based Spanish-language broadcaster Univision to create TelevisaUnivision was completed in January 2022, establishing a never-before-seen amount of Spanish-language content in one place.   

“There’s no larger Spanish language content library in the world,” Rodriguez says. “The formation of TelevisaUnivision streamlined content consumption for our audience and has brought our community together.” 

The wealth of content includes news, sports (including the global phenomenon UEFA Champions League soccer), children’s programming, and hit shows such as “Amor Prohibido,” “Lo Imperdonable,” and “Eternamente Amándonos.”  

Rodriguez was instrumental in getting the transaction across the finish line, including working with regulators to obtain the key approvals needed from the United States’ and Mexico’s governments.  

A seamless acquisition and quick launch 

With its vast media operations and enormous content library in place, Rodriguez and TelevisaUnivision turned their focus to building the largest Spanish-language streaming service in the world. A cornerstone of that strategy was acquiring Pantaya, the leading subscription streaming service for U.S. Hispanics at the time.  

Veronica Rodriguez | Executive Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Global Head of M&A and Corporate  |  TelevisaUnivision  

The Pantaya acquisition needed to be completed in a swift and efficient manner but Rodriguez says it was essential for her to understand how Pantaya operated its assets and business, including the scope of rights concerning content and licensing. 

“The acquisition of Pantaya marked an important milestone in the company’s digital transformation and my career,” she says. “It was also an opportunity for me to develop my skillset as in in-house advisor and find creative solutions to meet the company’s objectives and goals.”  

The Pantaya acquisition was key to the future success of TelevisaUnivision’s ViX streaming platform. Within a year following the Pantaya deal, ViX was awarded the Apple TV App of the Year. 

Making a real difference in DE&I 

In addition to internal initiatives and large-scale M&A, Rodriguez has made advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) an important part of her career. Rodriguez has helped develop programs within TelevisaUnivision, as well as providing assistance to peers outside of the company, in order to advance an important movement. In doing so, she’s always kept thoughts from the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in mind: 

“If you are going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, you have a skill — very much like a plumber,” Rodriguez quotes. “But if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself to repair tears in your community, something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you.”  

Veronica Rodriguez | Executive Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Global Head of M&A and Corporate  |  TelevisaUnivision  

Early in her career, a mentor told her that being the best-prepared attorney in the room was more important than being the smartest one—a sentiment that sticks with her today and advice she passes on to young attorneys.  

“It is a reality of our world that qualified people, including many Latinas and women of color, are passed up for important positions, promotions, or opportunities, but it doesn’t stop me,” says Rodriguez. “I’ll never stop advocating for them to get the recognition and success they deserve.”  

Rodriguez says she enjoys building legal teams and always focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion. She oversees the global corporate legal team for TelevisaUnivision and says more than half of her legal team is Latina attorneys. For Rodriguez, it is important that her legal team represents the people it serves.   

“Our team is incredibly dedicated to the people that TelevisaUnivision informs and entertains every day,” Rodriguez says. “It truly is an honor to do our work knowing that our job is to serve our communities in the best way we can.” 

Rodriguez has two sons, aged 7 and 9, and says raising them has helped her develop traits such as patience, multitasking, flexibility, planning and being meticulously organized – traits she says are essential to being a good leader.  

“I think the qualities that make a good mom and a good boss aren’t very different,” says Rodriguez. “As a mother to two very active and growing boys, I have had to learn the value of patience, how to balance multiple responsibilities and how to prioritize my time effectively. My sons have unknowingly helped shape me into a better leader.” 

View this feature in the Vanguard Winter III 2024 Edition here.

Published on: February 9, 2024

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