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Posted by: Tom Lowry on October 30, 2009
BusinessWeek President Keith Fox is stepping down from the magazine but will remain at the parent company, McGraw-Hill Cos.
Fox, 44, informed colleagues of his decision in a staff memo Friday afternoon, less than three weeks after McGraw-Hill announced it had reached an agreement to sell BusinessWeek to Bloomberg LP.
“I am proud that I played a role in ensuring that BusinessWeek has a new home at Bloomberg, where it will thrive under the leadership of Norman Pearlstine,” Fox told staffers (see full memo below). “I am committed to the transition and helping in any way that I can.” A veteran of McGraw-Hill, Fox did not specify the new role he will play at the company. He said he will take on new responsibilities in 2010, after assisting the BusinessWeek team with the transition to Bloomberg. The sale is expected to close in early December.
Norman Pearlstine, Bloomberg’s chief content officer, who will serve as chairman of BusinessWeek, said: “I got to know Keith during the weeks we were doing due diligence prior to agreeing to acquire BusinessWeek. In the weeks since the acquisition was announced, my admiration for Keith and the team of senior managers he assembled
— many of whom will continue in leadership roles after BusinessWeek is acquired by Bloomberg — has only grown. McGraw-Hill is fortunate to have Keith in the company. We wish him and McGraw-Hill all the best.”
Fox’s resignation from his post follows a similar announcement from BusinessWeek editor-in-chief Stephen J. Adler, who told staff on Oct. 22 that he was stepping down. “Keith has been an extraordinary leader in the most difficult of times. He built a stellar business team, created a culture that combined high performance with exceptional collegiality, and won the respect and affection of the entire staff,” Adler said of Fox on Friday. “To me, he was the ideal collaborator and the most generous of colleagues.”
In a homecoming of sorts, Fox was named president of BusinessWeek Group in April 2007, after overseeing marketing strategy at the magazine years before. He was largely seen as a rising star within McGraw-Hill. Under his leadership, BusinessWeek launched Business Exchange, which was recognized as “Best New Site” in min’s (Media Industry Newsletter) 2009 “Best of the Web” awards; unique visitors to BusinessWeek.com grew more than 40%; and BusinessWeek magazine underwent a major redesign. In 2009, BtoB magazine named Fox to its list of “Top Innovators in Publishing.”
Previously, Fox was president of McGraw-Hill Professional, a publishing unit, and senior vice president of marketing and business development at BusinessWeek.
KEITH FOX'S MEMO
When we announced that McGraw-Hill was exploring strategic options for BusinessWeek, I promised to communicate with you as openly and often as I could. In this spirit, I wanted each of you to know that I will be remaining with McGraw-Hill after the deal with Bloomberg is closed. I will continue to play a role in the integration post-close and plan to take on a new role at McGraw-Hill in 2010.
During this process, our collective goal was to find the best buyer for BusinessWeek. I am proud that I played a role in ensuring that BusinessWeek has a new home at Bloomberg, where it will thrive under the leadership of Norman Pearlstine. I am committed to the transition and helping in any way that I can.
It’s been a privilege to be the President of BusinessWeek. I thank Terry McGraw for his confidence and trust in me and Glenn Goldberg for his support, direction, clarity, and sense of humor. I’ve also been a member of an amazing team which has navigated the transformation of the media environment with agility, focus, passion, and integrity. The team – Steve Adler, Jessica Sibley, Tania Secor, Linda Brennan, Roger Neal, and Carl Fischer – is the best in the industry. Like BusinessWeek, they have bright futures ahead of them. I will miss the daily interaction, but I am wiser (and a little grayer) because of their collaborative spirit and desire to make BusinessWeek the global leader in business that it is today.
I also have a special thanks to Patricia Hipplewith, my assistant, who juggled my calendar, protected me from solicitors, and kept me on schedule and well fed! She is the personification of commitment and integrity.
I am humbled by BusinessWeek’s 80-year history. Thank you for allowing me to play a small part in it.
The media, entertainment and marketing worlds continue to shapeshift on a near-daily basis, as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. Where is it all going? No one really knows. But on this blog BusinessWeek’s media writers Tom Lowry and Ron Grover promise to provide ample helpings of scoop, provocation, and sharp analysis as they track and annotate this constantly changing terrain.