Breaking: Bob Safian Named Editor/Managing Director of Fast Company

A staff switcheroo over at Fast Company has editor Mark Vamos stepping into an editor-at-large role for parent company Mansueto Ventures, while Mansueto CEO John Koten cops to having “pried [Bob Safian] away from Fortune” to become Fast Company‘s editor and managing director.

Koten’s pre-press release letter to the Fast Company staff, after the jump.

To the staff:

I’m pleased to announce that Robert Safian will be joining Mansueto Ventures as editor and managing director of Fast Company. Mark Vamos will be taking on the new post of editor-at-large for Mansueto Ventures, a position that will allow him to make important contributions to both of our magazines and our Web sites.

Both of these moves should help us build on the great progress we have made over the past year in improving our products.

Bob is a talented journalist, magazine-maker, and a strong leader. I’ve followed his impressive career with great interest for more than ten years — in part because he spent much of that time working for my direct competition. Frankly, it’s no small relief to finally have him on my side. I also have to admit that I take some pleasure in having pried him away from Fortune magazine, where he has been serving as executive editor.

I know from speaking with friends and colleagues who worked for Bob at the American Lawyer, Fortune, and Money (which he ran for six years as managing editor) that Bob’s a great boss. I know everyone at Mansueto Ventures will enjoy having him around.

First and foremost, though, he’s a terrific editor. Money was a National Magazine Finalist four times under his leadership. He also played key roles in securing National Magazine Awards for The American Lawyer, SmartMoney and Time.

The managing director part of Bob’s title represents an important change. It refers to the strong role I expect Bob to play in helping shape the business operations of the magazine. He’ll be deeply involved in working with the advertising and marketing staffs, the finance department, and our circulation team to help Fast Company achieve its business as well as editorial goals. I view this as consistent with our culture of building an entrepreneurial and progressive company.

Bob will be visiting our offices tomorrow and will be coming in on a regular basis after that. But he won’t officially start his new job here until February 20. Mark will continue to run the editorial department as it completes the March and April issues.

Before I write another word, I want to express my thanks to Mark. As most of you know, he assumed the helm of the magazine during the tumultuous time of the sale. He brought stability when there was none and helped move the magazine forward. During his tenure, Fast Company has won more than a dozen editorial and design awards, including a Loeb, an Eddie, and an Ozzie. Mark can take great pride in the magazine’s radically improved outlook and in the talented staff that he helped hold together.

Mark’s strong journalistic background is perfect match for our company. He obviously has a deep interest in Fast Company‘s subject matter, but he also has experience with Web sites (he ran as well as writing and editing stories about entrepreneurs. I am looking forward to taking advantage of his talents on a number of important journalistic projects that I’d like to see us undertake.

We’ll be putting out a news release in the morning that provides more biographical information about Bob and Mark. I know you’ll give Bob a warm welcome and join with me in wishing Mark all the best in his new assignment.


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