We’re hearing from a trusted source this evening that Jim Spanfeller, the CEO of Forbes.com, is resigning, and have confirmed it from him as well. No word yet on who, if anyone, would replace him. (The internal memo to the employees, supposed to go out tomorrow morning, is here).
A bit later in the night, Spanfeller talked to our co-editor Staci D. Kramer about what he says is his decision to leave Forbes after nearly nine years (a record for him when it comes to staying in one place) to launch a new business that would manage startups and turnaround businesses for traditional media companies. His resignation, which he said was not a sudden move or a surprise to the owners of Forbes, will be announced officially Thursday and he plans to stay on at least through Labor Day to aid the transition.
“We’ve integrated the business; it’s not as web-centric anymore,” Spanfeller said. He spoke about joining Forbes when the website had roughly a half-million uniques and leaving with internal Omniture figures showing 20 million uniques — starting with at a multimillion dollar loss compared to what he says now is a multimillion dollar profit. He added: “A large part of the metrics around success have been hampered by the economic downtown and the secular change in media.”
Spanfeller knows that there will be any number of stories flying around, including some we’ve already heard about him being pushed out. “I think there will be lots of different angles on how people try to interpret it,” he said, adding, “at the end of the day, you can’t run your life” based on what other people say or think.
Back story: In the recent weeks, we have heard all kinds of tips about Forbes Media, including one that didn’t pan out about investor Elevation Partners *had* sold its stake in the firm. Rumors about Spanfeller’s fate at the company have been swirling since last year, with one camp rooting for him to be pushed to the top of the ladder (print + online) while another camp wanted him out. It seems like the latter has won, for now.
Back in May, Roger McNamee, co-founder of Elevation Partners, stepped down from the magazine company