Newsweek Daily Beast Co. CEO Baba Shetty is leaving after just nine months on the job, and one week after confirming that parent company IAC Corp. is interested in selling Newsweek.
Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, said in a memo to staff Wednesday that Mr. Shetty will be "moving on as CEO, taking the summer off to spend time with family." Newsweek's global publisher, Rhona Murphy, will serve as interim CEO, Ms. Brown said.
The staff memo provided no further details about Mr. Shetty's unexpected departure. Mr. Shetty did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment. A spokesman for Newsweek Daily Beast also did not immediately respond to calls seeknig further information.
"We wish Baba great success in his future ventures," Ms. Brown said in the memo.
Mr. Shetty had served as chief of strategy and media at advertising agency Hill Holiday before accepting the Newsweek post in last October. Upon his arrival, Mr. Shetty began overseeing an ambitious redesign of the magazine's website that rolled out in May.
Last week, Mr. Shetty and Ms. Brown confirmed in an email to staff that IAC was entertaining offers for Newsweek. "The simple reason is focus," the pair said in the memo. "Newsweek is a powerful brand, but its demands have taken attention and focus away from The Daily Beast."
IAC bought Newsweek and merged it with The Daily Beast in 2010. The magazine continued publishing until the end of last year, when the U.S. print edition folded and continued only in tablet form.
Read Ms. Brown's full memo on Mr. Shetty's departure:
From: Brown, Tina
Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 5:21 PM
To: Tina Brown (NY)
Subject: From Tina Brown
To: All Staff
From: Tina Brown
I wanted to let you all know that Baba Shetty is moving on as CEO, taking the summer off to spend some time with his family. He has presided over a terrific nine months of product development and digital growth here, during which time he has brought in and cultivated a dynamic digital team, led by Mike Dyer. We wish Baba great success in his future ventures.
I am delighted to announce that our accomplished international publisher Rhona Murphy will be returning to New York as interim CEO, supported by CFO Gary Starr, CAO and GC Randy Shapiro, president Rob Gregory and Andrew Perlmutter, who will assume the role of general manager of business operations and development.
The Daily Beast has had a spectacular spell of growth, topping 16.6 million unique visitors in May on the heels of our second Webby win for Best News site, and we are up 30% in ad sales. The new digital edition of Newsweek continues to be received very favorably -- kudos to all of you for your continued efforts at putting out a first-rate magazine week after week. And this is a good moment to share the news that our social media community has passed the 4 million mark for the first time, indicative of how invested our readers continue to be in our content.
Onward and upward!