TechTarget taps IDG vets to lauch new product group

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TechTarget answered the question late last month about one of the things it would do with the $70 million in venture capital funding it secured earlier this summer: hire talent.

The Needham, Mass.-based information technology media company hired well-respected Maryfran Johnson away from International Data Group's Computerworld, where she was editor in chief. She has the same title at TechTarget.

Additionally, former IDG executive Joe Levy, who had been operating his own consulting firm, also joined TechTarget in late August as an exec VP. He was the founder of CIO magazine.

Sarah Fay, president of Carat Interactive, was impressed with the hires, saying, "TechTarget is really building girth and strength."

Together, Levy and Johnson will launch a new group of products for TechTarget that will include online, print and events. The company is being closed-mouthed about the specific arenas these new media properties will cover, although it seems that part of the goal is to attract C-level executives.

Johnson, who received the inaugural Timothy White Award for courage in journalism from American Business Media earlier this year, said she was torn about leaving Computerworld, where she worked for 15 years. But the opportunity to do something entrepreneurial was attractive. "I'm jazzed about doing something new, building something from the ground up, having a green field opportunity that is very different than working at an established worldwide brand at IDG," she said.

Computerworld Publisher-President-CEO Bob Carrigan said of Johnson, "We just wish her nothing but the best. She's done so much for us and has been just incredible."

Johnson was succeeded as editor in chief at Computerworld by Don Tennant, who was promoted from news editor at the magazine.

When TechTarget received its additional VC funding this summer, company CEO Greg Strakosch said that the money would be used to launch new products, make acquisitions and expand internationally. The new hires are about creating new products, he said.

"I think what this says is that there are great opportunities at TechTarget," he said. "We have great opportunities to attract great people who want to grow and build products." TechTarget is also one of the few b-to-b media companies with genuine prospects for going public since the height of the dot-com boom. That can mean a potential windfall for employees that is hard to duplicate elsewhere in the current media environment.

"Customers vote every day on what model works in the marketplace," Strakosch said. "People vote every day on what model works in terms of where they want to work, too."

He added, "There's more to come."

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