PLAYER PROFILE: CUNNINGHAM HAS NEW SPECIAL INTEREST IN FORBES: GRP. PUBLISHER SLOT PUTS EXEC IN CHARGE OF GROWING STABLE OF MAGAZINES

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Much of the activity going on at Forbes Inc. these days has Jeffrey Cunningham at the center of it, at least from an advertiser's point of view.

Mr. Cunningham recently was named group publisher, which means he will be overseeing the business and sales operations for several new ventures, including Forbes Special Interest Publications and recently announced Forbes Global Business & Finance.

TITLE 'MAKES SENSE'

"We're not really title conscious here, but once I started to have responsibilities for other publications, it made sense for me to have the title group publisher if only to give the job a more official status," said Mr. Cunningham, 45.

Before the appointment, Mr. Cunningham was publisher of Forbes, Forbes FYI and Forbes ASAP. He retains responsibility for these in the new position.

The special interest publications unit includes IBM Corp.'s Beyond Computing and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts Magazine, both recently acquired from The New York Times Co. Dick Stockton, former president of The New York Times Co. unit, is now VP-general manager of Forbes Special Interest Publications, and will work closely with Mr. Cunningham.

"Jeff's responsibilities are growing, and that's in recognition of the very real talents he has demonstrated," said Steve Forbes, president-CEO of Forbes Inc. "The company is growing, with global and custom publishing. Of course, we are going forward with these new ventures recognizing that not all are guaranteed to work but that we need to move forward. The greatest risk is standing still."

And "moving" the division is. In the upcoming months, it will launch Key Strategies, a quarterly focusing on financial strategies for small and midsize companies from Keycorp Management Co. That deal is estimated at up to $2 million, industry executives say.

IN NEGOTIATIONS

The unit also is in negotiations with a "major sports services firm," Mr. Cunningham said. And earlier this year, Forbes signed a deal to produce for the Gartner Group a title based on its Web site called Gartner Group Business Technology Journal.

"The idea is to create brands, to partner with established companies with great brand names and bring them into publishing," Mr. Cunningham said. "We are building a great business of premium brand names that work with and for the Forbes brand name."

Mr. Cunningham also has advertising responsibilities for the company's Digital Tool Web site (www.forbes.com) and finding sponsorships for Forbes Management Conference Group.

In addition, he will oversee advertising for Forbes Global Business & Finance, being launched next March.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADVERTISERS

All of these new ventures, and the widening of Mr. Cunningham's responsibilities, mean more opportunities for advertisers, he said.

"The analogy I like to make is Monopoly because everyone knows the game," he said. "It's nice to own Park Place and it's nice to own Boardwalk, but it doesn't really do you any good until you own both of them and put hotels on

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