Kieselstein lays out initial plans for Penton
By Sean Callahan
On Monday David Kieselstein was named CEO of Penton Media, which publishes Registered Rep. and Supermarket News. Most recently the CEO of TNS North America (a custom research division of WPP), he appears to have experience that will match Penton's needs.
At TNS North America, Kieselstein worked in marketing services, an area that Penton has been ramping up since its acquisition of EyeTraffic last year. At Dun & Bradstreet, he led the company's small-business division, essentially a digital business and another area where Penton is hoping to build.
And Kieselstein, who spent the majority of his career at Time Warner, including a stint at Fortune, has years of experience in traditional media.
He spoke with Digital Directions about how his experience will shape his initial approach to running Penton, a company he believes is on a growth trajectory.
Digital Directions: What attracted to you to the job?
David Kieselstein: Everyone (at Penton) is oriented toward a growth perspective, which is exactly what I was looking for. I'm not really interested in a caretaker opportunity. This is a chance to grow this business going forward. I think there is tons of opportunity ahead for Penton. Certainly, first is the digital area. There's (also) certainly the new market opportunity. Penton is a predominantly U.S.-based company, and I think there's absolutely opportunity to grow in international markets. Marketing services is an area that I want to help grow more significantly. I spent the last three years at TNS in essence running a marketing services company. So seeing how Penton is approaching it, seeing what we can do to accelerate that growth, is exciting. That's a pretty good list. The key to it is actually getting the priorities right, making sure we're going after the right stuff. It's less an issue of what we should go after in terms of coming up with new ideas; it's more making sure we're going after the right ones.
DD: How does what you have been doing in previous jobs play into what you are going to have to do at Penton?
Kieselstein: After spending about 17 years at Time Inc., I certainly have a grounding in the media business. The businesses I was running at the latter portion of my career there—the personal finance media group and the parenting media group—were multimedia companies: print, digital, events. So I certainly have grounding there. My time at Dun & Bradstreet has given me a chance to focus specifically on the b-to-b marketplace, particularly on the small-business area. I was managing a small-business division (at D&B). Over 90% of the business done at D&B in that area actually was Internet-based in point of content provision as well as commerce. And the last three years at TNS focused on marketing services.