Blog Post

Incoming WSJ CEO Stresses Net As Future; Says MKTW Exceeded Expectations

Fortune’s Devin Leonard interviewed incoming CEO Richard Zannino:

— “I think the future structure for us will have to be more of an uber-Wall Street Journal franchise publisher who’ll look after readers and advertisers regardless of what channel they come in.” (This follows reports that Gordon Crovitz, president of DJ electronic publishing, is in line for a job that includes those responsibilities.)

— He’s optimisic about MarketWatch, saying that the recent acquisition exceeded profit expectations in 2005 and should add to earnings in ’06.

Leonard says the Journal “whiffed” on coverage of its own internal shake-up. What didn’t Journal readers see?

— “Since Kann became CEO in 1991, Dow Jones’s total return to shareholders has been 109 percent. By comparison, the New York Times Co. and the Washington Post Co. delivered returns of about 228 percent and 368 percent, respectively.”

— The intersection of Bancroft family dynamics with “deteriorating value.” James Lowell, the family’s former investment advisor: “When we blew the whistle and the sh*t hit the fan (last April), we got all the branches of the family together and said, ‘Something has to be done.’ The changes in the top management were decided on as the first constructive compromise [between the two family factions].”