InfoWorld Editor Resigns Following CEO, Top Sales Exec
Series of high profile departures follow shift to digital
The top editor of IDG’s InfoWorld, Steve Fox, resigned yesterday, becoming the latest in a string of high-profile InfoWorld departures in recent weeks including CEO Bob Ostrow and vice president of online sales Kate Hobbie last month.
IDG Communications CEO Bob Carrigan said Fox resigned to join a non-competitive company, Affinity Labs, and that he is being replaced by Eric Knorr, a 20-year veteran of the technology media space who has spent 11 years at IDG.
Fox’s resignation is the fifth recent departure from InfoWorld, which in March ceased publishing in print to become an online-only and events brand. “The bottom line here with these relatively few changes is that we are continuing to transform our business to a web and event-centric model,” Carrigan said. “It’s all part of the evolution of InfoWorld, and we are very bullish on the future for this brand.
The circumstances of Ostrow’s departure are unclear. He was replaced by Matt Sweeney, CEO at Computerworld, who will oversee both brands. “The two will remain as two distinct businesses and two unique brands, similar to what we did by putting Macworld and PCWorld under one CEO,” Carrigan said. Hobbie was let go in late September. None of the ex-InfoWorld executives were immediately available for comment early Tuesday.
One source who is familiar with what’s happening at InfoWorld said the transition to online-only has been bumpy, and that staffers there are frustrated. “It was easier when we were a print product because we had a controlled circulation,” the source tells Folio:. “It was easy to sell to advertisers because our mailing list showed exactly how many readers we had and who they were. Now, online, we can track unique visitors and page views, but we have no idea who our readers are.” The magazine has tried to collect information from its readers online, but “getting them to give up more than their title and e-mail address has been impossible,” the source says.
Carrigan described that characterization as wrong. “Respectfully, this is totally off base,” he said. “Our page views, visitors, time spent on site, and revenue are up since we closed print last April. In fact, we set an all-time record for visits to the site in August with over 1.6 million uniques. Further, InfoWorld continues to innovate on the event side of the business with our SOA, Virtualization and Enterprise Data Protection events. None of these businesses need print to be successful and you can look not only at InfoWorld, but to several other online-only businesses in the tech space to see that online and event-only models work very well. Sure, there are challenges—as you would expect when you transform a business—but InfoWorld is progressing very nicely.”
Before shutting down its print operation, InfoWorld had a ratebase of 185,000, but its Web site was seeing 1.2 million unique visitors each month.