Major ‘Transformation’ Under Way at VNU
Michael Marchesano, much like the company he’s worked for since 1999, is undergoing a transformation. He is leaving the office of president and CEO of VNU Business Media, a position he has held since 2001. In his new post as executive vice president and chief transformation officer for VNU—a global information and media company—Marchesano will now be tasked with a new company-wide business transformation program called Project Forward. He also serves as the chairman of American Business Media (ABM)—the industry association for business-to-business publishers, which, he says, is poised to undergo a transformation of its own.
He spoke with Publishing Executive about the challenges he faces in his new position, the challenges he overcame as he head of VNU Business Media, and the challenges the industry as a whole is encountering as B-to-B publishers are becoming B-to-B information providers.
What is the importance of Project Forward and the New transformation office to VNU’s future?
Michael Marchesano: Project Forward started about a year ago and really was designed to look at the entire VNU organization to strengthen our financial performance and profitability, and to make savings available for reinvestments so we can continue to grow the business—but fundamentally looking at how we can improve and move the businesses from a silo-thinking to more of a collaborative, integrated organization, which really had not been done. …
[Project Forward] was a part-time assignment for one of our executives. The whole idea of establishing a [permanent] transformation office is really to take [the project] to a much higher level of performance and execution, and to really look at what it means to move from a holding-company structure to delivering on that executed, integrated operation, because there is a lot of replication and, to a degree, a more efficient way to leverage the structure of the organization.