Citing the need for more scaling back at Forbes Media, Roger McNamee, co-founder of the private equity firm Elevation Partners, is stepping down from the magazine company’s board, the investor told NYP’s Keith Kelly. His seat will be handed over to Bret Pearlman, who Kelly described as an “aggressive” cost-cutter.
– Update: CEO Steve Forbes says there are no further cuts planned. MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka has chief executive’s message to the staff about the change. More after the jump
– Tougher time for online: McNamee was behind Elevation’s decision to purchase a minority stake in Forbes Media, which includes the 92-year-old Forbes magazine; the Forbes.com site; and a number of smaller media properties, nearly three years ago for $250- to $300 million. In an e-mail message to Kelly, McNamee indicated his reason for moving aside is related to the company’s inability to see its online advertising revenue offset declines on the print side, something that the investor noted is an industry-wide problems and not particular to Forbes.
– Cuts and more of the same: Forbes has already been fairly aggressive on reining in costs since the financial meltdown last fall. In addition to completing the merger of its online and print editorial operations in January, which left 19 staffers laid off, it shuttered its auto site and gutted the ForbesTraveler staff. In March, the company said it would lay off another 50 employees on top of the 60 that had been let go since the fall.
Earlier this month, Jim Spanfeller, president and CEO of Forbes.com, wrote an opinion piece for paidContent about Google’s impact on online content producers.