BtoB

Special Report: Wickersham seeks better balance

Published on .

Reprints Reprints

Most Popular
Who: John Wickersham

What: President

Where: VNU USA

BUSINESS MEDIA

John Wickersham is busy overseeing the folding of Miller Freeman USA assets into Bill Communications Inc. following VNU’s $650 million purchase of Miller last summer from United Business Media plc. It’s a tough task for the soft-spoken Wickersham, considering that the U.S. now accounts for more than half of VNU’s global revenues—a percentage that’s expected to grow in 2001.

In acquiring Miller, VNU USA inherits a huge portfolio of trade shows. Although trade shows are now a growing percentage of b-to-b publishers’ revenues, Wickersham said he wants to strike a better balance among VNU’s print, Web and events divisions. "To really have a sustainable property you need the balance of magazines," he said. "The profits may not be as attractive as expos, but [print] gives you a deeper relationship with readers and a subscriber following. E-media is the third leg and the least developed."

For 2001, VNU should maintain a "lead position" in b-to-b publishing in several vertical markets, Wickersham said. He will spend the year working to integrate McFadden Publishing and other assets into the VNU fold. And once the company’s $2.3 billion acquisition of ACNielsen Corp. is complete, he hopes to find synergies between the TV audience measurement service and VNU’s marketing and media information properties.

—Matthew Schwartz

Who: Tom Kemp What: CEO Where: Penton Media Inc. Why: Kemp lost out to VNU NV in his bid to buy his alma mater, Miller Freeman USA. However, he made several key moves last year which should keep him occupied in 2001—foremost, taking Penton public in 1998. He also bought Streaming Media Inc. for $65 million, giving Penton new opportunities in the rich-media tech trade show business.

Who: Bob Krakoff What: Chairman-CEO Where: Advanstar Communications Inc. Why: Advan-star’s sale to DLJ Merchant Banking Partners for $900 million gives Krakoff money to spend. Look for him to develop overseas markets.

Who: Don Pazour What: CEO Where: Phillips Business Information L.L.C. Why: Pazour has two important goals for 2001: to enhance PBI’s paltry Web presence and to raise the visibility on PBI’s sleepy magazine unit, probably via acquisitions.

Who: Marc Teren What: CEO Where: Cahners Business Information Why: Teren took charge in 2000 following months of job cuts at Cahners. Things should easier for him this year, but no less busy as he develops synergies with Harcourt General Inc.

Who: Bob Krakoff What: Chairman-CEO Where: Advanstar Communications Inc. Why: Advan-star’s sale to DLJ Merchant Banking Partners for $900 million gives Krakoff money to spend. Look for him to develop overseas markets.

Who: Don Pazour What: CEO Where: Phillips Business Information L.L.C. Why: Pazour has two important goals for 2001: to enhance PBI’s paltry Web presence and to raise the visibility on PBI’s sleepy magazine unit, probably via acquisitions.

Who: Marc Teren What: CEO Where: Cahners Business Information Why: Teren took charge in 2000 following months of job cuts at Cahners. Things should easier for him this year, but no less busy as he develops synergies with Harcourt General Inc.

In this article: