Newsweek Daily Beast Names Hill Holliday's Baba Shetty Its New CEO
The Newsweek Daily Beast Co. is naming Baba Shetty its new CEO, succeeding Stephen Colvin, who had been president-CEO at The Daily Beast since 2009 and CEO of the merged Newsweek Daily Beast since its formation in 2011.
Mr. Colvin is leaving the company and joining Lerer Ventures, the prominent venture capital firm, as an "executive-in-residence" offering "strategic input" on its portfolio companies, Lerer Ventures said.
Mr. Shetty arrives from Hill Holliday, the ad agency where he had been chief strategy and chief media officer as well as one of its most-prominent executives.
Although Mr. Colvin reported to Barry Dilller, whose IAC co-owns Newsweek Daily Beast with the estate of Sidney Harman, Mr. Shetty will report to Tina Brown, the editor-in-chief.
Hill Holliday collaborated with Newsweek on its "Mad Men"-themed issue earlier this year. While Mr. Shetty knows his new company well from working together on the agency side, publishing is a new and unfamiliar challenge for him. Before his time at Hill Holliday, Mr. Shetty held posts including head of interactive at Fallon Worldwide and previously worked as an analyst at Forrester and a brand manager at BMW.
Mr. Shetty takes over Newsweek Daily Beast at a time of particular scrutiny for the company. Its magazine has improved its ad pages 2.4% through the Sept. 17 issue this year, according to the Media Industry Newsletter. And traffic has grown quickly at The Daily Beast, which attracted 6.6 million unique visitors in August, up 50% from 4.4 million in August 2011, according to ComScore.
But Mr. Diller said earlier this year that he was formulating a plan that could affect Newsweek's presence in print going forward. The Harman family has also stopped investing in the company, content to let its ownership stake shrink as IAC covers the costs. And Newsweek's covers have lately been attracting both significant attention and criticism."Baba is a real catalyst in bringing ideas to the marketplace," Ms. Brown said in a statement. "We collaborated on our very successful Newsweek "Mad Men" issue together and forged a terrific creative relationship. He is extremely gifted at brand and digital strategy, is a strong leader, and is the perfect partner for the next phase of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company and our expanding events division." Newsweek and The Daily Beast help consumers filter the overflow of information, Mr. Shetty said in the statement. "IAC is a company with deep strengths in managing thriving digital businesses and I'm very much looking forward to working with Tina and Barry to develop the next stage of this company," he said. Mr. Shetty and Mr. Colvin were not available for comment Wednesday morning, the spokesman said.