Rick Smith Leaves Newsweek

1030smith.jpgNewsweek Inc. announced a major, major shakeup this morning. EIC and CEO Rick Smith is stepping down after 24 years as editor and 16 years as CEO. He will continue to stay on at the company as chairman.

Smith’s move initiated a domino effect at the company. To sum up:

  • Nickelodeon GM Thomas E. Ascheim will be taking over as Newsweek Inc. CEO.
  • Newsweek president Harold Shain has been named president and CEO of Budget Travel.
  • Newsweek executive VP Gregory J. Osberg has been named president of Newsweek, replacing Shain.
  • Washington Post Company VP Ann McDaniel will be doing double duty as managing director of Newsweek Inc.

    Smith will continue to remain actively engaged at the magazine while focusing on corporate and non-profit board work as well.

    Portfolio‘s Mixed Media has the memo.

    Why is he leaving now? It might have to do the fact that, as the memo euphemistically puts it:

    Going forward, Greg will be Tom’s point man in driving the ad pages, the page views, the sales and marketing programs and, ultimately, the advertising revenues that are so critical to our future.

    It is no secret that Newsweek is operating in a challenging business environment. The advertising market for all general interest magazines is difficult, and postal, benefit and other costs continue to rise. But we have met similar challenges in the past, and we will again.

    Translation of the memoese that we just put in boldface? Expect new media efforts at Newsweek Inc.’s properties to go into overdrive in ’08/’09. Our guess would be that they’re going to rely even more on collaborative content development with the Washington Post and Slate, but that’s just us.