Condé Nast Taps AOL’s Jim Norton as Chief Business Officer
Digital sales veteran arrives amid rumors of an impending reorganization.
Veteran digital ad sales leader Jim Norton has joined the ranks of Condé Nast's leadership as its first ever chief business officer and president of revenue, the company announced today.
Norton arrives from AOL, which he joined in 2009 before rising to head of global sales in 2013, responsible for ad sales across AOL's portfolio of brands. Prior to that, Norton spent three years as national sales manager for Google. He also serves as vice chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and will assume the role of chairman next year.
At Condé Nast, Norton will be responsible for all revenue operations for the company's 22 brands, including print and digital, and will report to president and CEO Bob Sauerberg.
"By organizing the company's numerous revenue operations under Jim, Condé Nast will be well positioned to quickly respond to the dynamic marketplace and our clients' needs," said Sauerberg in a statement. "Jim brings a great understanding of the complexities of running a massive sales enterprise and the importance of data-led sales products to maximize our effectiveness."
The move to centralize cross-brand revenue operations under an executive with extensive experience leading digital and data-driven sales efforts at large corporations seems to indicate that Condé Nast intends to offer the full weight of its 90-million-strong digital audience in front of advertisers, mirroring recent similar pivots at other large publishers like Time Inc., Hearst, and Meredith.
In June, Condé Nast announced the launch of a new audience data platform, Condé Nast Spire, and rumors of a potential consolidation or elimination of several individual brand publishers, something also seen at Time Inc. and Hearst, have persisted for weeks but not yet come to fruition. Norton's appointment will likely be seen by many as a harbinger of that long-awaited reorganization.
Additionally, Norton's arrival means chief marketing officer Edward Menicheschi and chief administrative officer Jill Bright are out at Condé Nast, reports WWD. Menicheschi spent eight years as VP/publisher of Vanity Fair before rising to CMO in in 2014. Bright had been with the company since 1993 and had served as chief administrative officer since 2010.
"I am excited to work with the creative, award-winning talent at Condé Nast and to harness the power of their brands for clients," said Norton in a statement. "In every audience segment … Condé Nast is a category leader, and the potential to craft innovative, cross-portfolio marketing partnerships is limitless."
Norton's first day at Condé Nast's One World Trade Center digs is October 17.