Archive for the ‘Maggage’ Category

One Reason Behind Penton’s Current Woes: Managers Are Actually Idiots

April 16, 2008

Not the managers of Penton, per se. But any manager that says everyone is replaceable and uses this oft-quoted manager-speak to scare its employees into obedience and to encourage them to aspire to mediocrity. First off, if you plan on running a great business and besting the competition, not everyone is replaceable. See my old blog, theminsider, here for more on how this principle helped destroy a large part of Ascend Media’s business. Second, how does this apply to Penton?

The community marveled when Penton/ABRY turned its penny-stock, at-times-near-bankrupt, highly-leveraged business around and sold it to Prism/Wasserstein/et al for a nice little profit, and around a 60% premium above current stock prices (depending on what you consider current). That trick involved a lot of managerial wizzardry. What has happened since? Two things that I’d like to point out:

1. Most obviously, the economy has softened during an industry-wide (world-wide, really) revolution: One that changed the way the winning players did business; and one that allowed the introduction of many, many new players into a business with a traditionally impossibly high barrier to entry.

2. Much of the management team that turned Penton around is now elsewhere:

– At the top, Penton lost David Nussbaum, the CEO at the time. He is now at ABRY-owned F+W Publications as CEO.

Eric Shanfelt, who headed up e-media for Penton, left the company soon after. He’s now at Aspire Media.

Much more after the jump.



Update on Kilcullen

February 29, 2008

According to a Nielsen Business Media spokesperson, John Kilcullen left to pursue entrepreneurial interests, citing that that is where his passion lies.

John Kilcullen to Leave Nielsen Business Media

February 28, 2008

Surprised I was to read this at today. Partly because I don’t think I’ve ever seen them scoop anything, and partly because there is a real talent drain at Nielsen now that John Kilcullen is leaving. When Tony Uphoff (possibly the next CEO of CMP?) left The Hollywood Reporter, Kilcullen was moved up from his position as helmer at Billboard as president of the music/literary/jewelry group to president of the film and performing arts group and publisher of THR; this beat included continuing to oversee his other properties. Then, under the late Bob Krakoff, VNU, er, Nielsen was reorganized into six market-focused groups, with Kilcullen at the head of two of them, film and music. This guy was running some of Nielsen’s most important brands, and a third of its operating groups. Then, Eric Mika, one of his lieutenants, was moved up to become publisher at THR, taking some of the heat off of Kilcullen. As recently as January, Kilcullen was making personnel changes in his group to get the right mix of talent.

And now he’s gone? Where to? Why? Was he Peter-Principled out of usefulness? Uphoff clearly went to join his friend Steve Weitzner (then CEO of CMP, now CEO of Ziff Davis Enterprise) at CMP. What pushed or pulled Kilcullen out of a job?

Nielsen makes a great hire in Sabrina Crow to solidify its marketing group, but now loses Kilcullen (by the way, of “For Dummies” fame). Ex-Variety publisher, Gerry Byrne, will be taking over the helm in place of the ankled Kilcullen. Byrne has been consulting with Nielsen since January 2007, according to the btobonline article, which you can view by clicking here.

Pack your maggage, John…

New Gig for Greenfield

February 27, 2008

Don’t worry, friends, I will still run the blog, perhaps just at a lower frequency…starting Monday.  This came over the wires today…I’m packing my maggage:


Media Contacts:
Gretel Going
Kate Fleming
Channel V Media



New York, NY (February 27, 2008) -Jeremy Greenfield has been named Editor of Story Worldwide’s Post-Advertising Media Channel, Story Worldwide’s CEO Kirk Cheyfitz announced today. In his new position, Greenfield will lead coverage of the marketing and communications industry’s global post-advertising revolution, a revolution that Story Worldwide has long helped lead. Greenfield will begin on March 3.

As editor of the Post-Advertising Media Channel, Greenfield will work with Story Worldwide’s interactive, marketing and editorial divisions to create a series of blogs, social media groups and other digital applications tracking the industry’s growth and change. The new media will reach both consumers and industry insiders. Greenfield will manage all editorial aspects of the network and will pave the way for offline initiatives such as industry conferences, awards, contests and the release of a related book. He will report directly to Story’s Editorial Director Richard Walsh.

“Jeremy’s hire marks Story Worldwide’s official launch of news and opinion coverage of the post-advertising age,” said Cheyfitz. We believe that this era is about transforming brands into media channels and this is our foray into doing just that. Jeremy’s extensive experience in trade media and his ability to produce and edit several multi-media platforms simultaneously are what we need to see this new channel become a serious force in advertising and communications.”

Greenfield joins Story Worldwide from Access Intelligence, where he served, until recently, as editor of min’s b2b, and, and co-editor of min magazine. He continues to cover the media industry on his personal site, MagGrabBag.

“Story Worldwide has already established itself as a master brand storyteller for its clients,” said Greenfield. “I look forward to using Story’s resources and thought leadership to push the company’s vision for the Post-Advertising Age into existence and to establish a new industry standard along the way.”

Story Worldwide will unveil the specifics of its online initiatives in the coming weeks and months. For editorial inquiries, contact Greenfield at

About Story Worldwide
Story Worldwide (, the world’s first post-advertising agency, believes that the key to brand success is effective storytelling – in any channel, anywhere in the world. Incorporating this philosophy into campaigns for some of the world’s most-recognized brands, Story Worldwide is the driving force behind the Post-Advertising Age. With its decidedly unorthodox approach to content production, Story Worldwide crosses traditional boundaries to redefine the way businesses engage their current and potential consumers, employees, partners, investors and other audiences. Story Worldwide’s signature approaches, storytelling and narrative branding, set the stage for campaigns that attract and engage the desired audiences, standing out clearly in an otherwise oversaturated media landscape. Its unconventional solutions have created loyal consumer audiences for companies including Unilever, Lexus, Coty, RCI and Agent Provocateur. With over 250 employees and offices in New York, Seattle, South Norwalk, London and Hong Kong, Story Worldwide is leading the global post-advertising revolution.

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Seymour Makes Early Important Hire

February 27, 2008

In her first big move as More EIC (aside from emceeing the More Model Search), Lesley Jane Seymour has hired a new executive editor.  Judith Coyne will join More as executive editor from Hearst’s Good Housekeeping where she was executive editor for seven years.  In a statement, Seymour notes that’s she’s happy to bring Coyne on board having worked with her previously, possibly when the ex-YM/Redbook/Marie Claire EIC was at Redbook.  Coyne, an ex-GH/New Woman/ (now an iVillage site) EE/EIC had stints at Redbook and Cosmo.  Pack your maggage, Judy.

Morale at Interview is Good

February 26, 2008

A friend of mine at Interview says that morale at the magazine is good on day 2 of Fabien Baron’s and Glenn O’Brien’s tenures as co-editorial directors, taking over from long-time (18 years) editor Ingrid Sischy.  According to Women’s Wear Daily, Sischy stayed late into the night on Friday closing her last issue.  For the near-term future, June/July will be a combined issue and September will be the relaunch of the new, Sischy-less Interview.

For the full WWD article, click here.

On a Roll: The Week Announces New AP

February 20, 2008

Fresh off its win of maggrabbag’s first ever magazine of the week, The Week has hired a new AP, Peter Granath.  Granath is skipping several rungs on the ladder by jumping over to The Week from his role as New England advertising manager for  Granath will run The Week‘s NY-based sales team and will report to publisher Jed Hartman.

Previously a Time-lifer Granath has been at both People Magazine and Time Magazine.

Reed’s Variety Launches ‘The Biz’ While Reed-Elsevier Launches Layoffs

February 19, 2008

Today saw the launch of’s social networking site, The Biz. As a Facebook/LinkedIn refusenik, I frequently wonder when the first epidemic of sudden head explosion disease is going to hit the Crackberry set. I am already overwhelmed enough as it is with Life 1.0. But, I digress.

It’s my understanding that in showbiz, everyone is looking for work — that is, if the right offer comes along. The Biz, it seems, would be a perfect fit. With the power and reach of the Variety brand behind it, I see at least a profitable and lively job board (the application is being co-launched by Jobster), and, at best, the next Xanga!

Probably a coincidence that it was launched the same day as RBI’s parent company announced 1,000 worldwide layoffs. Though most of those layoffs are back office, maybe some of them are good looking and have talent. It would behoove Reed-Elsevier HR to include in each “happy trails” pack a link to The Biz. This could really fuel some early days spikes in traffic.

Penton Names New General Counsel a Month after Feinberg’s Departure

February 14, 2008

In early January, Penton Media underwent a major reorganization that saw the appointment of six execs to new positions.  Interestingly, three of the execs were from the Prism-side of the business, and three were from the Penton side.  According to CEO John French, this reorg has been in the works since the summer of 2007.  Top management did not know exactly what it was going to do in terms of management structure until the massive integration effort following the 2006 Penton/Prism merger was complete.  In the flurry of appointments and promotions, legal counsel for the company, Bob Feinberg, left to pursue his own private practice.

Earlier this week, Feinberg’s position was filled by Elise Zealand.  Zealand comes from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where she was a senior associate.  Zealand, who has journalism experience early in her career writing for The Cumberland Times-News and The Binghampton Press & Sun-Bulletin, will report to French and will also serve on the Penton executive committee.

Jessica Sibley Hire at BusinessWeek: The Story Behind the Story

February 13, 2008

McGraw-Hill went through a fairly long and exhaustive process to hire the new president of BusinessWeek. After four or five months, they settled on Keith Fox, the internal candidate (under their noses, you might say), who had been president of McGraw-Hill publishing, the book division, though he did have experience at BW as SVP of marketing before he moved to books.

Then Geoff Dodge left, leaving a gaping hole at the publisher position. We all know that, announced last week, Jessica Sibley took over the now-much-expanded position. But how did she get there?

After spending a lot of time and money looking for Fox, who was literally under their noses, MH execs embarked on a second, long search. Three months later (early December), there were still no strong candidates. Fox, who realized the import of the hire, had also been looking around on his own. So he called Ed Koller, president of The Howard, Sloan, Koller Group, executive search consultants to the media industry.

Koller has been in the business for 32 years. Not every single search has gone smoothly, but this one was as easy as can be.

“Within a week after Keith called me, I had him meet Jessica Sibley,” says Koller. “I knew what he was looking for because he’s a person of high integrity who only wants the best talent. He’s very selective.”

Soon after that first meeting, Koller contacted Sibley with the opportunity. After a whirlwind two weeks of 12 interviews with key players, the only thing standing in the way of Sibley’s hire was the approval of David Murphy (head of HR for MH) and that of Terry McGraw. Two weeks into January, after more interviews, those approvals came, and the rest is history.

“In my case, it’s knowing who to send—no wasting time. After 32 years of experience, I know how to do it perfectly,” says Koller.


Koller Hot Streak

Two other recent high-profile placements of Koller’s were Paul Turcotte as SVP of ad sales at Sirius Satellite Radio (came from Hachette), and Justin Smith as president of consumer media at The Atlantic Media Company (came from The Week…my magazine of ‘the week’).

“For the high level searches that I handle myself, I usually know pretty quickly who the right people are. Because we only stick to our knitting here. We’re so focused on what we do,” says Koller.