Newly Launched Travel Mag Afar Raises Rate Base, Dumps Editor, Publisher

Although it may seem like a crazy time to launch a magazine, travel pub Afar, which debuted this summer, proves that it can be done — and done successfully.

Today, the magazine’s publisher, Afar Media, announced it was raising the title’s rate base by 50 percent to 75,000 readers, starting with its March/April issue.

Along with a rate base increase, it seems like Afar is doing some staff restructuring as well. We noticed in today’s announcement that founder Greg Sullivan was listed as editor-in-chief, a position formerly held by Susan West. Folio reports today that West has left the company, along with founding publisher John Sheehy, whose position has been eliminated.

Although today’s rate base announcement didn’t mention those staffing changes, it did highlight some of the other restructuring and promotions going on at the fairly new company. Executive VP and managing director of digital operations Dan Orum has been promoted to president of Afar Media, co-founder Joe Diaz (pictured) is taking on the role of VP of sales and brand development and Derek Butcher has been named chief architect and chief technology officer. Afar is also bringing on consultant Dawn Drew, a former National Geographic Traveler publisher, to develop the magazine’s brand across platforms such as digital, products and live events.

Update: A spokesperson told us West’s departure was part of the magazine’s restructuring and Sullivan, Afar‘s founder and editorial director, has taken on her responsibilities.

Full release after the jump

Read more: Editor, Publisher Out at Afar Amid RestructuringFolio

How To Pitch: Afar

Previously: Afar Names Susan West Editor-in-Chief, Afar Publisher John Sheehy: Downturn Is Actually Helping Travel Mag Launch

AFAR Media Celebrates New Year with 50% Rate Base Increase and Executive Promotions

San Francisco, CA (January 26, 2010) — Continuing to grow its experiential travel brand, AFAR Media is off to a running start in 2010. Founder, Editor-in-Chief and CEO Greg Sullivan announced Afar magazine will boost its rate base by 50 percent to 75,000 with the March/April issue. Concurrently, Sullivan announced the promotions of Dan Orum to President of AFAR Media, Joe Diaz to Vice President, Sales and Brand Development, and Derek Butcher to Chief Architect and Chief Technology Officer. In addition, Sullivan announced the retention of Dawn Drew as a consultant to the company.

Previously Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Digital Operations, Orum will report to Sullivan and take a key role in shaping AFAR Media’s expansion across multiple platforms — including its upcoming social search digital product. Co-founder Diaz will head the sales team for Afar and all future business units of AFAR Media, while maintaining his role in brand development. Derek Butcher was named Chief Architect for AFAR Digital, overseeing the technical infrastructure for, as well as CTO for the company. Drew will guide AFAR Media in developing the brand across multiple platforms including digital, product development and live events.

“We are committed to breaking new ground in both the media and travel industries and are thrilled with the great team we have put together to accomplish this goal,” said Sullivan. “We have connected with a vibrant community of people whose passion is to experience the world through travel by getting beneath the surface of a place and seeing it the way locals do. We have just begun to build on this community and look forward to serving it in unique and innovative ways.”

Launched amid a challenging publishing climate, Afar magazine attracted high profile advertisers in the first two issues including Max Mara, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, Emirates Air, Parmagiani, Ghurka, Belgian Tourist Office, Breitling, Austria Tourism, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Crystal Cruises, Finnair, South African Airways, Switzerland Tourism, Keen, Tablet Hotels, and Tourism Australia, as well as to rave reviews from media critics.

About Dan Orum

Dan Orum joined AFAR Media in June 2009 from International Data Group/Gamepro Media where he most recently served as President/CEO. His extensive background in multi-platform properties comes from nearly 20 years spent developing and managing strategic development partnerships for the following consumer media companies: Oxygen Media, Thrive Partners, an America Online and Time Inc. Joint Venture, America Online/Medior, and Macworld Communications.

About Joe Diaz

Joe Diaz is the Co-Founder of AFAR Media. Previously, he was principal of the Diaz Mendell Group, a real estate investment firm headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to the Diaz Mendell Group, Diaz spent three years as an elementary school teacher with Teach for America in Phoenix.

About Derek Butcher

Derek Butcher has over 12 years of experience in media and technology with well-known companies such as The Industry Standard, IDG, Disney Internet Group, and Infoseek. As Vice President and General Manager of The Industry Standard, he relaunched the internet brand as a new form of online media property. Prior to that, Butcher served as Vice President and CTO of InfoWorld Media Group, where he spearheaded technology initiatives including web publishing systems, content redistribution and syndication, and web serving capacity. Derek also served as Senior Engineering Manager at Disney Internet Group, where he was responsible for the development of the Infoseek search engine portal, as well as assisting with the integration of and

About Dawn Drew

Dawn Drew, founder and CEO of the international marketing and entertainment company The M.O.S.T.E., Inc., brings more than a decade of expertise in travel publishing and building brand extensions to her consultant role with AFAR Media. As Publisher of National Geographic Traveler and Vice President of NGS (National Geographic Society) Global Media Travel, Drew worked with a number of international governments and non-government organizations to develop sustainable tourism and leisure travel programs.

Among her many achievements was the conception and development of a live events business called “Destination Immersion,” designed to provide consumers a tangible, cultural sampling of a destination. In collaboration with the US Travel Association (ITA), Drew was also responsible for the publication of “Geotourism Studies,” a landmark research study that examined the awareness and travel habits of U.S. citizens with regard to sustainable travel.