It's Not Just a Magazine: Leveraging Legitimacy With Chief Executive
Over the past 32 years, Chief Executive magazine has built a remarkable following of some of the most influential people in business. However, it's largely been run as a traditional print magazine that hosted a couple of events and maintained a Web site on the side. Greenhaven Partners believes that it can be much more.
In July, Greenhaven, which "buys and builds specialty information businesses that can thrive in the digital media marketplace," acquired Chief Executive with an eye toward what it could become in the modern multichannel information space. Publishing Executive Inbox spoke with Marshall Cooper, managing director of Greenhaven Partners, about those plans and how they fit the magazine's unique audience.
INBOX: Why did Greenhaven Partners approach Chief Executive?
MARSHALL COOPER: We actually tried to buy the company in 2001/2002, but weren't able to do so. It has been long-owned by non-publishing people without media backgrounds. The last owner was Butler International. They were an IT staffing company, so Chief was viewed as sort of a little trophy, and it was used to gain access to powerful people and win new business for the parent. But it was basically run as a loss leader.
INBOX: What do you plan to implement now that Greenhaven is running Chief Executive?
COOPER: The vast emphasis has [previously] been on the print magazine. We have aggressive plans to expand the Web site and make it more user-friendly, more timely and more relevant. Information could be organized in a more effective manner, and there are a bunch of features that need to be added and enhanced. The magazine has always been the priority; once the magazine was published, then content went over to the Web site. We need to reorient and have more of a digital focus, workflow and content.
A good example would be that we publish the CEO Confidence Index, an incredibly prescient gauge of economic activity in this country. Unlike most indexes, which simply take the measure of people in the middle of the economy, these are decision makers for the economy. CEOs are the ones who actually direct tremendous resources. They control our destinies because they influence the direction of broad economic trends.