Adding to an already busy day in digital media, Say Media announced today the appointment of Time worldwide publisher Kim Kelleher as its new president effective Sept. 1. Kelleher will succeed current president Troy Young, who will serve as a special advisor to the CEO.
The hire is a big one for Say Media, which was founded in 2005. Last year, the company made some larger acquisitions, e.g., buying tech blog Read Write Web and home design site Remodelista. With this move, Kelleher returns to female-skewing media (among Say Media's collection of properties is a site helmed by form Sassy editor Jane Pratt), an area where she spent most of her publishing career until her recent move to Time Inc.
Kelleher left Condé Nast in 2010, where she was vp, publisher of Self, to become the first female publisher of Sports Illustrated. Half a year later, then-Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin moved her over to Time when he put the magazine into its own group, separate from Sports Illustrated.
In a statement, Kelleher said she was "thrilled to join this incredible team to help create a once-in-a-generation media company that will lead the industry for years to come.” Sources said that while she moved quickly to integrated Time's print and Web sales staff and brought back fashion supplement Style & Design, she was unhappy with the pace of change at Time. Ad pages at the weekly have declined sharply this year. Though there is no evidence to suggest her departure is directly related to Time's ad struggles, it very well may foreshadow a future of print executives migrating to digital.
There's no word yet on who will replace her at Time; parent Time Inc. is looking internally and externally for a replacement.
Matt Sanchez, the Say Media CEO, told Adweek that the hire was an easy decision for the company, which conducted a months-long search for the position. "It was pretty obvious from the time we started talking that this was a fit," he said.
For a company often listed as one of the more forward thinking in the digital publishing world, Say Media has something of an unusual history. In fact, Say traces its roots to the pioneering Web video ad firm VideoEgg; the current more media-oriented version of the company was born in 2010 following VideoEgg's acquisition of the blogging platform Six Apart. According to the New York Post, Say will pull in $100 million this year.
Sanchez said Kelleher's role would be less about taking Say in a different direction and more about expanding on company growth. "It's really just about taking everything we've been doing to the next level," he said. "We were at the point in the evolution of Say where someone like Kim can come in with her experience and brand relationships and add a lot to where we are going."
When asked if the company plans to make more acquisitions under Kelleher, Sanchez said the company would pursue deals where it makes sense.