8020 Publishing’s Founder on Keith Kelly’s Misguided ‘Speculation’

IMG_0927.jpgWhen the news broke yesterday that 8020 Publishing hired former Condé Nast group president Mitchell Fox as its new CEO, we called our boy (and, shameless plug, Mediabistro Circus speaker) 8020 founder Paul Cloutier for his thoughts.

Cloutier, whose company is rumored to be seeking a second round of funding, denied Keith Kelly‘s assertion that “bringing in a professional CEO is apparently part of the deal [for additional financing].” The founder told us “perhaps [that was] speculation on the part of a reporter looking for something to say. We are working on another round of financing, but it’s not tied to [hiring a CEO] … It’s always nice having the Rolodex that comes with anyone like [Fox], but it’s more the operational and organizational leadership skills [that he brings].”

But how exactly will that overflowing Rolodex help?

Cloutier admitted that having the former exec’s name attached to the company will help draw advertisers to the publications, which are not subject to ASME rules and, therefore, can allow advertisers to sponsor editorial sections.

“Mitchell’s a good seasoned media executive with growing titles on the ad sales side,” Cloutier said. “I wanted to focus more on the editorial, and I was getting to do less and less of that as the company grew.”

Fox, who was on a plane jetting to the West Coast when we spoke with Cloutier yesterday, will be based at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco and start immediately.

In the next year, Cloutier hopes to have the magazines “at the threshold of profitability” and to “line [8020] up for a third title,” the subject of which he says is still being decided.