CEO hire signals Penton to remain on same path
By Sean Callahan
Penton Media, publisher of Registered Rep. and Supermarket News, named David Kieselstein as its new CEO late last month. Kieselstein, most recently CEO of TNS North America, a custom research division of WPP, succeeded Sharon Rowlands, who left Penton to join Altegrity as CEO on Nov. 1.
Kieselstein had previously led Dun & Bradstreet's small-business division. Prior to that, he spent the majority of his career at Time Warner, where he was CEO of the company's parenting media group. While at Time Warner, he also served as president-CEO of the personal finance media group, where he helped create a partnership with CNN that led to the formation of CNNMoney. He also held a number of marketing management positions at Fortune.
Industry observers say the Kieselstein hire signals that Penton, which is owned by private equity funds MidOcean Partners and Wasserstein & Co., will continue down the same path followed by Rowlands—pushing the company to become more focused on digital products and marketing services.
“He's from outside the classic b-to-b media industry, which is good,” said Roland DeSilva, managing partner of DeSilva+Phillips. “He's going to continue with the strategy of making Penton a digital and information company.”
“It's a real good hire,” said Mike Parker, managing director of AdMedia Partners. “Many of these [b-to-b media] companies are following in the footsteps of consumer media companies like Meredith [Corp.] that got into marketing services a couple of years ago.”
Kieselstein said Penton is poised for growth. “Everyone is oriented toward a growth perspective, which is exactly what I was looking for,” he said in an interview with Media Business. “I'm not really interested in a caretaker opportunity. This is a chance to grow this business going forward. There is tons of opportunity ahead for Penton. Certainly, first is the digital area. There's 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.”
Kieselstein said his experience would help in the tasks he has before him at Penton. “After spending about 17 years at Time Inc., I certainly have a grounding in the media business,” he said. “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.”