The Newsweek Daily Beast Co. has named a new CEO as Barry Diller’s IAC forges a new path for the news outlet and faces fresh questions about its future. Baba Shetty, chief strategy officer/chief media officer at the ad agency Hill Holiday, is now CEO of NewsBeast, replacing Stephen Colvin, who had been with the Beast since its early days in 2009.
Shetty worked with Newsweek in the spring on its well-publicized '60s-style "Mad Men" issue, but curiously, he doesn't have a publishing background; before Hill Holliday, he had stints at Fallon Worldwide and BMW.
At the same time, Lerer Ventures announced that Colvin would join the venture capital firm as an “executive in residence,” working with its portfolio companies and advising the firm on investment opportunities.
The change of the guard takes place at a shaky time for the NewsBeast. In July, the family of the late audio tycoon Sidney Harman stopped investing in the company, ending a year-and-a-half-long joint venture between the Harmans and IAC. Days later, Diller suggested during an IAC earnings call that Newsweek could have a digital-only future, sparking speculation about the magazine’s prospects in print. The company has also recently seen the loss of several key staffers including digital sales lead Eric Danetz and creative director Dirk Barnett and faced criticism over some of its covers.