Penton Chairman-CEO Kemp to leave company

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Cleveland--Penton Media announced Wednesday that Thomas L. Kemp, chairman-CEO, has tendered his resignation.

Kemp will remain with Penton until a successor has been named. Penton said a national search for a replacement will begin immediately.

“Penton’s business conditions have improved, and the company has achieved a level of stability that we have not experienced during the past few years,” Kemp said in a statement. “Consequently, the board of directors and I have agreed that the time is right for a transition to new leadership.”

Kemp joined Penton in 1996 as CEO and became chairman in 2001. He oversaw a series of acquisitions, including the ill-fated purchase of Mecklermedia and its Internet World magazine and trade show. The acquisition strategy left the company with long-term debt of more than $300 million.

The combination of the debt and reduced revenue and cash flow--the result of a steep downturn in advertising spending in Penton’s core technology and manufacturing markets--caused the company’s share price to tumble from more than $30 per share in 2000 to less than $1 last year, when it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

In early trading Wednesday, Penton shares were at 79 cents, up a penny from Tuesday’s close.

--Sean Callahan

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