After five years as one of the top digital executives at Hearst Magazines, Chuck Cordray is leaving the company to become president of Pitney Bowes’ recently formed Volly. The new entity, which debuted in January, is described as a “cloud-based digital mail communications platform,” and is aimed at consumers who want to organize all their billing statement, magazine subscriptions, catalogs through one digital portal. In other words, it appears to be a direct competitor to Hearst’s new digital billing organizer Manilla.
Hearst unveiled Manilla last month. The company, named for “manila folders,” is headed by George Kliavkoff, who gave up the role of EVP and Deputy Group Head of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication to take that position.
Although Hearst already owns and operates CDS Global, a customer relationship management company that handles magazine subscriptions and renewals for Hearst and other major publishers, the notion of a company, whose primary business is media, getting into account and billing management still seems like a leap.
That’s not the case for Volly, as its parent Pitney Bowes has been in that business for a while.
Still, the hiring of Cordray suggests that that worlds of business software and accounts management and media are blurring. Certainly for a publisher like Hearst, where advertising is a shrinking source of revenues and other streams must be found elsewhere, expanding into managing accounts that can be tied to that main advertising model makes a lot of sense. And it makes even more sense for Pitney Bowes to defend its traditional turf against the incursions of publishers.
That’s where a publishing veteran like Cordray appears to come in. As VP and GM of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, he was responsible for the strategic direction and operating management for Hearst’s interactive efforts across advertising, editorial, online consumer marketing, partnerships and project management for 24 different websites, including 12 tied to Hearst magazine properties and 12 purely digital sites.
Before coming to Hearst, Cordray held executive leadership roles for several large consumer brands, including TV Guide Publishing Group, Primedia (NYSE: PRM), and Meredith (NYSE: MDP) Corp.