Steve Swartz is a veteran of Hearst’s print business, but as he takes over as CEO this week, he underscored ways the leading magazine company is adapting its products to digital formats.
Swartz, the former head of Hearst’s newspaper business and for the past two years, its chief operating officer, officially succeeded Frank Bennack Jr. June 1 as chief executive of the privately run company.
At a time when traditional media is challenged to keep up with the digital revolution, Swartz emphasized in a note to employees that the 126-year-old company was constantly reinvigorating its mature businesses.
“As in the past, the success of our efforts will be led by the innovators among us, those with the belief in an idea and the drive to see it through, backed by a company willing to invest and take risks,” he wrote.
Swartz isn’t expected to swerve radically from the company’s current direction, but he did point to a few new initiatives underway. A digital studio is being launched to research and develop new ideas. He said Hearst was “actively looking” to make more investments in its fastest-growing sectors: business information and entertainment.
Swartz also said global expansion would continue to be important, pointing to a network of news and information sites that Hearst is building with one of its publishing partners across several cities in Russia.
With Bennack having run Hearst nearly 30 years, it’s hard to imagine a time without him at the helm, and he’s not likely to disappear from the picture completely. In an outgoing memo, Bennack said he would “be around, encouraging and assisting Steve and you in any way that I can. But the company's future course is now in his hands and yours.”