IDG Communications’ CEO Steps Down
Michael Friedenberg ends his tenure as CEO six months after the company's sale to China Oceanwide became official.
Michael Friedenberg is stepping down from his role as CEO of IDG Global Communications after 12 years with the company, effective immediately, IDG announced today.
Friedenberg’s four year tenure as CEO was one of persistent change for IDG — whose brands include CIO, ComputerWorld, PCWorld, and MacWorld — as it evolved from a traditional publishing model to a more centralized, global business information organization, focused its growing data and marketing services businesses. He helped steer the company through both the passing of founder and longtime chairman Patrick McGovern, in 2014, and the eventual sale to China Oceanwide Holdings Group for about $1 billion, a deal made official earlier this year.
Indications that the company was going through some transitional pains then popped up in May, when a mass round of at least 90 layoffs hit both senior-level executives and staffers at all four of the above-mentioned titles.
In a statement, the company said the cuts were the cost of IDG’s ongoing transformation “from a decentralized and complicated organization to navigate and do business with into a globally streamlined company that provides the greatest possible value and best possible experience to our readers and customers.”
“The timing was right for me to step down from this position, given IDG’s overall health, strong leadership team and a desire to be closer to my family,” Friedenberg said in a statement. “IDG has a very bright future ahead thanks to the talent, passion, and commitment to excellence of our employees around the world, coupled with the incredible leadership and financial resources that China Oceanwide offers.”
China Oceanwide has kept things internal to replace Friedenberg, naming Kumaran Ramanathan president of IDG Communications, effective immediately. Ramanathan until now held the role of CEO of IDG Global Services, a group that oversees IDG’s Global Solutions, Strategic Marketing Services, Corporate Sales, and Research divisions. Altogether, he’s been with the company for nine years.
“I am honored by today’s announcement,” added Ramanathan in the statement. “I was fortunate to have worked with Michael for many years as he led the company through the unexpected passing of our Founder Pat McGovern and transformed the company to become the world’s largest technology media, data and marketing services company.”