Facing ‘Cataclysmic’ Changes in Sector, Source Media Strengthens its Bench
Wicks Business Information ex-CEO Doug Manoni joins as EVP.
Source Media, the financial-services publishing giant, last month announced it reorganized into four strategic business groups. At the same time, in an innovative restructuring, the publisher of brands like American Banker and The Bond Buyer assigned its editors to “pools,” where they are used according to the group’s need, rather than any single specific brand.
Yesterday, the company named a team to head each of those divisions, including—most notably—Doug Manoni, the ex-CEO of Wicks Business Information. Manoni will lead the banking division, which includes the flagship American Banker, a suite of mortgage publications, Cards&Payments and the soon-to-be launched Paymentssource.com. His title will be executive vice president and managing director. At Wicks, Manoni competed directly with Source Media, particularly the portfolio he now leads.
The other newly-named division heads are Mike Dukmejian, leading the professional services division which includes Financial Planning, On Wall Street, Employee Benefits News and Accounting Today. He recently joined Source Media from the Fortune/Money Group. Also, Rob Whitaker becomes head of the business technology and securities division, which includes DM Review, Health Data Management and Traders. Mike Stanton, meanwhile, becomes head of the capital markets division, which comprises SourceMedia’s other flagship title The Bond Buyer, and Investment Dealers’ Digest, Asset Securitization Report and Mergers & Acquisitions Journal.
Interestingly, Manoni is the only one of the four who carries the designation of corporate officer. It was unclear what duties would be included in that title, or why the other division heads do not have that same status. Source Media spokesperson Anne O’Brien said this in an e-mail: “Doug’s extensive experience in acquiring and selling information businesses means that he will also be active at a corporate level, hence the descriptor in the release.”
Manoni will attend quarterly board meetings with the rest of the executive team. He is not a voting board member.
Another industry observer who spoke to FOLIO: suggested that Manoni’s corporate officer designation could be intended by Source Media owner Investcorp to signal that a succession plan is being created in the event that current CEO Jim Malkin left the company. According to O’Brien, Manoni was hired by Malkin to replace the outgoing head of the banking division. "Jim Malkin has no plans to leave SourceMedia and is excited to have such a wealth of complementary talent on his executive team," she said.
Manoni himself also dismissed that interpretation. “The banking sector is working through a period of cataclysmic change, and they feel my experience will be helpful,” he said. “I’m not aware of any plans for Jim to be leaving and in fact, he enjoys a solid relationship with Investcorp and the board members with whom I’ve interacted.”
Manoni is one of a handful of b-to-b executives who formed companies in the last 12 to 18 months with the intent to partner with private equity firms and create acquisition rollup platforms. But, with the M&A climate troubled, those executives have had to adjust their plans.
“The reality is that that transaction market is clearly challenged,” Manoni said. “I believe for the next 15 to 18 months we may see it tighten before it improves. The credit markets are really tight and that will hamper the ability to form a platform company. But this job at Source Media is going to be an intellectually stimulating, challenging and rewarding opportunity, and that’s why I selected it, irrespective of the deal market.”