Taunton President Steps Down, Industry Veteran Dan McCarthy Takes Over as Interim CEO
McCarthy has a high profile and long track record in media.
Taunton Press President Tim Rahr announced to the company last week that he's leaving the company and that longtime industry executive Dan McCarthy is taking over as interim CEO.
"After 16 years at Taunton I have decided it is time for me to step away and find my next challenge," Rahr says in a memo that went out to employees Friday. Effective February 1, Rahr says, McCarthy will step in as Interim CEO, reporting to the board of directors. He’s been working with the senior management team over the past six months to help hone strategy and enhance Taunton's revenue focus. "Dan’s an experienced executive, and I will continue to work closely with him and the board until the new CEO is in place," Rahr says.
Taunton has long been considered a gold-standard company in special-interest media. Its editorial model is unusual, often using in-market experts to create content and great editors to make that content accessible. It serves professionals and expert enthusiasts in several fields, including homebuilding, gardening, sewing, woodworking and cooking. The company, founded in 1975 by Jan and Paul Roman, is based in Newtown, Conn. Traditionally it has relied on a subscription-first approach, meaning that circulation revenue was more important than advertising revenue.
In his memo, Rahr says that Taunton is in a good place, and looking forward to a better future. "After a very tough year in FY14, we have made strong progress in the first six months of this year," he says. "There are a lot of positive things going on. We have filled key leadership positions in our franchises and consumer marketing. We are seeing signs of stability, and even growth in the case of books, in our print business. Our digital business continues to grow. And, the search for a new CEO is well underway."
McCarthy has a high profile and long track record in media, including as CEO of Network Communications, which published real estate guides and home design magazines and which grew from $75 million in revenue to more than $200 million in the nine years McCarthy was there. He also was CEO of Primedia Enthusiast Media and of Themestream, a special-interest content portal. "I started working with Taunton last summer," McCarthy tells Folio: in an email on Tuesday. "The focus has been to assist in aligning the operating focus with the growth strategy. That continues to be the mandate. Taunton has great products that have really strong and engaged relationships with its customers. The strategy is to expand those relationships across traditional and new distribution channels. Developing a robust digital product and commerce platform is an on-going focus for the business."
McCarthy says he's going to stay involved with Taunton through the CEO search, and that he hasn't advanced himself as a candidate.