Media Masterclass: 11 of the Most Influential Leaders in Media and Publishing Today
While rumors of the death of publishing may have been greatly exaggerated, it is still one of the most challenging periods the industry has ever faced. As people continue to change the way they consume content, media companies have had to adapt or get left behind. It is hard to think of an industry more impacted by technology than media and publishing.
With so much information freely available online, consumers have grown unwilling to pay for content meaning media and publishing companies have had to develop new ways of generating revenue. Social media, mobile technology, and the continuously evolving digital landscape pose a significant challenge to media and publishing companies today.
Yet, within this period of great change, there are opportunities to be had. The most innovative companies – led by their forward-thinking management – have risen to the top while others have failed the technology challenge and fallen behind. To get a sense of how today’s top publishing companies came to the fore, we profiled 11 of the most influential leaders in the industry today.
Dave Gwizdowski, SVP of Revenue, The Associated Press
With a wealth of experience in broadcast journalism, Dave joined AP in 1997 as a Regional Television Executive before moving to Director of Network Sales in 2001. He assumed his current role as SVP of Revenue for the Americas where he leads The Associated Press’ sales, marketing, and product teams through important, inventive deals from Chile to Canada.
Dave’s impressive grasp of the challenges facing media today has played a key role in AP’s success. Meeting the technology challenge head on, Dave was instrumental in the introduction of AP’s new video portal in 2013 which, for the first time, delivered both broadcast and online video together on a single platform to AP customers.
Edgar Hernandez, SVP of Sales, Complex Media
Edgar is currently in his second term at Complex Media. In 2005, Edgar was instrumental in building up new and existing customers across Spirits, Fashion, Grooming, and Footwear before moving on to leadership roles in sales and marketing at Stuff and Vibe Media. As SVP of Sales, Edgar is responsible for driving revenue across all publishing functions at Complex including advertising sales and marketing activities – a task he has excelled in with revenue growth soaring as high as 154%.
Beginning as a youth culture print magazine in 2002, Complex has grown into a multi-layered media company. In many ways the archetype for digital transformation, the company has started to focus more on original video and branded content in 2015 bringing people like Spike Lee into the company to shape their direction.
Moksha Fitzgibbons, Chief Revenue Officer, Complex Media
Having joined Complex Media in its 2002 infancy, Moksha Fitzgibbons has excelled at riding the wave of technological change. His role has expanded from individual sales contributor, to National Sales Director, to VP Of Sales, to EVP Sales/Marketing to most recently Chief Revenue Officer.
Moksha was part of the core team at Complex that developed and executed on a strategy of transforming Complex Media from a traditional (print) media company to a digital-first brand with strong consumer touch points on-line, mobile, video, social, content and experiential.
When it comes to transforming a print magazine into one of the World’s most culturally relevant digital platforms, there is no magic pill. Moksha is still the first person into the Complex office at 7AM each morning. While expanding their video content remains a priority, Moksha explains that “We would never bastardize our brand”. At Complex, maintaining their carefully cultivated sense of identity is key.
Todd Anderman, President Sales, Marketing and Operations at Thrillist
Highly experienced and a proven performer, Todd has spent over 25 years in the publishing industry. Since assuming his current role in January 2013, Todd has helped Thrillist achieve impressive revenue growth.
A forward thinker, Todd has some interesting ideas on blending content and commerce. He has played an important role in the development of Thrillist’s plan to open an internal agency. Using data to optimize and inform their content strategy will be crucial. Todd told AdWeek that “Thrillist will create 10 pieces of content for a brand and measure in real time how its readers are reacting. Based on what performs, it will optimize what should be distributed and where.”
Jarl Mohn, President and CEO at NPR
A veteran of the media industry, Jarl Mohn became CEO and President of NPR in June 2014. A highly experienced and competent leader, Jarl spent almost 20 years in radio, many as a disc jockey at stations including WNBC in New York. He created E! Entertainment Television, where he served as president and CEO for almost a decade. He is the former executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 where he architected the strategy of long-form programming at the heart of the network today and diversified the networks’ audiences by developing innovative programming around alternative music formats.
Demonstrating a natural zeal for promotion, Jarl deployed some old school commercial broadcast marketing tactics to boost listenership. He has also embraced a full steam ahead approach to going digital with the goal of getting ahead of other commercial aggregator competitors.
Lauri Baker, VP, Brand Strategy & Sales at The Huffington Post
With over 15 years’ experience in advertising and corporate marketing, Lauri Baker brings an innovative approach to helping brands redefine and effectively market their brand equity. Lauri has spent the past three years at The Huffington Post, working with brands such as IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Unilever, eBay, Target and Coca-Cola on award-winning content strategies that go far beyond traditional digital campaigns.
Laurie and her team takes each editorial success and experience to transform how real-time content can be used across paid, owned and earned channels for major global brands.The Huffington Post are the most social publisher on the web which is a position Lauri takes seriously. Laurie laid out the philosophy behind her success in an interesting presentation. The key points included:
- Content must be delivered at the speed of culture.
- Social accounts are the new front door.
- Traffic is not an accident. It’s a decision.
- Be a part of the conversation.
- It’s a link-based economy.
Michael Sheehan, Chief Executive Officer, The Boston Globe
In a bid to turn around the fortunes of the Boston Globe, John Henry brought in the well-known Boston advertising executive Mike Sheehan as his new CEO. As former CEO of Hill Holiday, Sheehan certainly has the expertise needed to boost advertising revenue at the Globe.
Sheehan has started something of an overhaul at the Globe including the building of a new life sciences publication from scratch. There has also been the introduction of a new standalone business section and the ongoing makeover of its highbrow Ideas pages.
At Hill Holiday, Sheehan provided a glimpse into his leadership style to the Boston Globe, “I always wanted Hill Holliday to be a place where you could walk in the door and be yourself”.
Steve Palm, President & CEO at NewBay Media
Since its inception in 2006, NewBay has focused on being the #1 content connector to our served markets. Their brands include Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News, TV Technology, Music Week, MI Pro, TWICE, Systems Contractor News, Tech & Learning, Guitar Player, and Guitar World.
Steve Palm joined the company in 2007 where he has led the company’s transformation from mature U.S. based business into an international organization with a majority of revenue now related to digital, event, marketing services and data capabilities.
NewBay’s goal to serve their markets as comprehensively as possible has resulted in an active M&A policy continuing into 2015 with the purchases of AV-IQ and Ratings Intelligence.
Don Reis, SVP and CRO, LA Times
Don Reis has been Chief Revenue Officer and Senior Vice President at Los Angeles Times Communications since January 2015. He previously worked as VP Sales at ESPN and Dow Jones. He oversees sales and sponsorship efforts across the Los Angeles Times, latimes.com, the Spanish-language publication Hoy and other Times publications.
Widely regarded as a “consummate sales pro”, has, in the past, worked successfully with clients like Nike and Adidas.
Larry Dunn, Senior Vice President, Advertising at Newsday
Larry Dunn is the senior vice president of advertising for Newsday Media Group, which includes Newsday, Newsday.com and amNewYork. Larry’s 25+-year career has been in advertising roles in the magazine industry. From 1991 to 2010, Larry was the vice president and group publisher of Multichannel News, Broadcasting & Cable, Video Business and Trade Show Week.
Upon leaving New Bay Media, CEO Steve Palm was quick to pay tribute to Larry’s work. “Larry has made a tremendous, indelible mark upon both brands and the broader industry of television, and he leaves our brands as the market leaders he helped create them to be”.
Simon Fleming-Wood, CMO of Pandora
Simon Fleming-Wood serves as Chief Marketing Officer at Pandora. In this role, Simon oversees the marketing, business development, and communications functions, as well as the Pandora One subscription business. He previously occupied leadership positions at Cisco Consumer Products, Pure Digital, Sega, and EA.
A self-confessed music fanatic, Simon landed his dream job when he became Pandora’s first CMO in 2011. In an interview with CMO.com, Simon provided an insight into his team-building philosophy “It’s not just about hiring good people, because that’s pretty obvious; it’s more about hiring the right people and creating the right environment for those people to be successful.” Simon also maintains that marketing must remain true to the product, “You can’t market something in a way that’s not authentic to what the product is, so you need to start with making sure that the product effortlessly delivers on a need the consumer has.”