Ziff Davis moves forward with digital; hires new president

Ziff Davis Media, publisher of PC Magazine and Electronic Gaming Monthly, has hired a new president as part of its company-wide reorganization.

All sales, marketing and digital event teams will report to new president Peter Weedfald, who recently served as SVP/CMO of Circuit City. Weedfald will be working closely with Ziff Davis Media CEO Jason Young and other senior executives on building strategy and tactics for the business going forward.

So far, the business’ future plans include its two remaining print publications, though Young said, “Our center of gravity is decidedly digital, in terms of the biggest connection to audience and the bulk of our revenue.”

“What’s happening with the print business in our category and our decisions are more a reflection of how the marketplace is evolving organically and how we are evolving our business to service it,” Young explained. “We want to service our customers — both readers as well as advertisers — and as long as there continues to be a demand for content in the print format and advertisers can reach readers by print media, we have a market leading brand that can do that.”

Weedfald is the first Ziff Davis Media president since 2005. In the meantime, the company has had a CEO overseeing three divisional presidents.

“It’s less about bringing a position back and more about bringing in an individual who, based on his experience and knowledge and tenure in the marketplace, just accelerates our opportunity to create incredible value for our customers,” Young explained. “Peter is a very unique and qualified individual in that he has experience across facets of the technology marketplace: he spent more than a decade on the media side of business, including nine years at Ziff, and has spent close to a decade on the marketer’s side as the CMO of Samsung and most recently as CMO of Circuit City.

“To have that perspective as a media executive … and then from a retailer’s perspective is just an incredible purview to bring to the table for us in terms of really understanding what customers are looking for and how our assets can best be packaged into solutions that meet those objectives,” Young added.

Weedfald worked for Ziff Davis in the 1980s, and has also served as SVP and publisher at IDG’s Computerworld, EVP and CEO of Bigfoot Interactive and SVP/CMO at Samsung Electronics North America.

Ziff Davis reached an agreement with shareholders on Tuesday that would allow the company to leave behind its Chapter 11 status as early as this June. The agreed-upon business plan also leaves the company enough cash to pursue its restructuring initiatives, which focus heavily on growing Ziff Davis’ digital assets.

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