Following Creditor Agreement, Ziff Davis Media Names New President
Former Circuit City SVP to 'drive brand,' build assets ‘faster than before.'
Following an announcement earlier this week that it had reached an agreement with creditors to effectively allow the company to exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this summer, Ziff Davis Media has named Peter Weedfald to the newly-created president position.
According to Ziff Davis CEO Jason Young, Weedfald’s appointment helps demonstrate “the strength of our brands and teams and the incredible opportunity” the company has as it “continues to expand its digital footprint.” No one has held the position of president at Ziff Davis since 2005.
“Some of the best opportunities lay in times of danger,” Weedfald tells FOLIO: of taking the president post in the midst of Ziff Davis’s bankruptcy procedure. “This company has been around for 20-plus years and has weathered changes in business climate. It continues to be the centerpiece of technology, in the PC, networking and gaming sides."
During the 1980s, Weedfald held several senior-level sales and executive positions for Ziff Davis, at titles such as PC Magazine. Since then, Weedfald has served as senior vice president and publisher at IDG’s Computerworld, executive vice president and chief operating officer at a company called Bigfoot Interactive, and as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Samsung Electronics North America. Most recently he served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Circuit City.
“Simply put, it is my job to drive this brand,” Weedfald says. “Jason and I know each other and have worked with each other for a decade. We do not want to stay steady on the course; consistency is not what we’re looking for. We want to build up our assets to help create high value marketing opportunities for our customers. It’s what this company has done and will now do faster than ever before.”
On Tuesday, Ziff Davis Media announced that it had reached an agreement with an ad hoc group of shareholders which effectively allows the company to exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, possibly as early as June. The agreement de-leverages the company’s balance sheet by converting more than $428 million in funded debt to a new common stock and a new loan note not to exceed $57.5 million.
The tech media publisher has carried a massive debt load since private equity firm Willis Stein & Partners acquired Ziff Davis’ magazine division in 2000 for $780 million. Ziff Davis announced its bankruptcy protection filing in March.