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Sharon Rowlands has resigned as CEO of Penton Media, which she joined in November 2008 and led through a bankruptcy reorganization two years ago. Rowlands, who was previously CEO of Thomson Financial, will join Falls Church, Va.-based Altegrity, the parent company of businesses such as HireRight, Kroll and USIS that provide information, risk management and employment screening for corporate and government customers, on Nov. 1.
Throughout her tenure at Penton, Rowlands has looked to move the company away from its printcentric focus and rely more on digital properties, events and data for revenue. This year, the company acquired EyeTraffic Media and used the digital marketing agency as the cornerstone of its launch of Penton Marketing Services.
Rowlands will remain a board member of Penton, which is co-owned by private equity funds associated with Wasserstein & Co. and MidOcean Partners. While a committee searches for a new CEO, Anup Bagaria, vice chairman of Wasserstein, and Tyler Zachem, managing director of MidOcean, will act as interim co-CEOs, according to Warren Bimblick, Penton's senior VP-strategy and development.
“It just looks like she had a better opportunity,” said Mike Parker, managing director of AdMedia Partners, of Rowlands' departure. “She's done a pretty good job [at Penton] over the last three years, taking them through a prepackaged bankruptcy and positioning them for the future.”