UBM in Reverse: U.S. Business Units Pulled Back Together
CEO Levin explains new structure attempts to better leverage marketing services.
In early 2008, after a major restructuring by UBM that split CMP Technology into four business units, David Levin told Folio: "The company that was CMP is now gone."
That company may still be gone, but UBM has undergone another restructuring that has recombined its technology businesses under one group—called UBM Technology—pulling together UBM Techweb, UBM Electronics and UBM Channel.
It has also created another group called UBM Connect, combining UBM Medica US, UBM Canon Publishing and a few other UBM units.
UBM Technology, with combined revenues of $285 million, will be led by Paul Miller, who was CEO of UBM Electronics. UBM Connect’s CEO will be Sally Shankland, the former CEO of UBM Medica US. That group will produce about $60 million in revenues.
Bob Faletra will remain as CEO of UBM Channel. However, Tony Uphoff, the CEO of Techweb has decided to resign effective immediately.
The reorg is specifically driven to leverage marketing services through both groups, taking the company a long way from its print origins that were largely left behind starting in 2007. The company has gone from a revenue mix in 2005 when print generated more than 60 percent of revenues to less than 8 percent today. Digital and events contribute upwards of 80 percent of revenues now.
The marketing services operations have been "increasingly consistent" across the various verticals UBM had, says UBM plc CEO David Levin, which sparked the merging of the groups in an attempt to better focus those services across markets.
Yet Levin tells Folio: that while the company has restructured, there really hasn’t been any change at all—at least in the sense that UBM isn’t trying to ward off some doomsday scenario.
"It’s the first time that I’m making a change that isn’t actually a change," he says. "Publishing companies have been doing reorganizations for a decade as they struggle with death experiences. It’s not really a reorganization, it’s an organization, creating space to make something new. The business is about the same size now in revenue [as CMP was] but more than 50 percent bigger in profit, and we have less people."
UBM has been growing, stresses Levin, making the point that the new structure isn’t designed to achieve cost relief, rather it’s responding to requests from marketers to handle increasingly complex, integrated campaigns. And marketers, says Levin, are more comfortable with a company that’s not balkanized into many different verticals.
In line with the idea that the company is changing, but not really, the executive structure for each group will remain intact, with the exception of Uphoff’s departure. "We’re not changing the organization, it’s structurally the same," says Levin.
In a separate statement, Levin addressed Uphoff’s departure: "I understand, but regret, that Tony Uphoff has taken the decision to resign from his position as CEO of UBM Techweb with immediate effect. Tony has been a terrific leader of UBM TechWeb and has really contributed to shaping the business over the past six years. He has been a consistent and vocal supporter of UBM and I am very grateful to Tony for the major contribution he has made not just to Techweb but to the wider world of UBM and wish him all the best in the future."