Matthew Petersen, whom Hearst had hired from rival Meredith Corp. to help run its expensive iCrossing purchase, has left the company after a year and a half.
Hearst bought iCrossing, a large digital marketing services agency, in 2010 for a reported $325 million. It was supposed to be the cornerstone of a push into marketing services. Hearst was taking a page from Meredith, which had made a name for itself in digital marketing, so it was fitting that it hired Petersen, who was credited with the company’s growth in that area. He worked for 24 years at Meredith, rising to senior vice president of Meredith Integrated Marketing.
Petersen's departure from Hearst prompted some industry speculation that with Hearst's recent $900 million purchase of Hachette Filipacchi Media, it might turn its focus from marketing services. (His position was eliminated, along with a few other senior people, after the Hachette acquisition.)
Hearst president David Carey said that, in fact, the opposite was true.
"In a short amount of time, iCrossing has added a tremendous amount to Hearst Magazines, both as a profit-generating business and a digital center of excellence for the entire company," Carey emailed. "We have prioritized the continued growth of this unit, and the recent acquisition of the Wallaby Group [serving Latin America and Spain] is just the start of iCrossing’s expansion. Given the importance of this business, and its smart 'connected brands' strategy, iCrossing CEO Don Scales now directly reports to me."
Petersen also was a Hearst legacy. His father is the late Raymond Petersen, a longtime Hearst Magazines executive. The elder Petersen spent 23 years there, becoming a senior vice president, member of the board, and trustee of the Hearst Family Trust. In announcing his death in 2007 at 88, Hearst called Petersen one of the industry’s most prominent executives.
The younger Petersen didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Hearst said there were no plans to replace him.