About.com CEO Peter Horan is handing over the site's leadership to Scott Meyer, the former NYTimes.com manager who most recently has been working on the New York Times Company's New England newspaper businesses.
The news comes three months after About.com was acquired by the New York Times Company for $410 million. Horan, the company said, had agreed to stay on for a transition period after the purchase, but now wants to return to California, where his immediate family lives. Horan has been CEO at About since December 2003. Prior to that, he was the president of DevX, an interactive publication for developers that is now owned by Jupitermedia Corp. The company had no immediate information about Horan's future career plans.
For Meyer, the move represents a return to the digital side of the business. Since serving at NYTimes.com from 2000 to 2003, he's been vice president of strategic planning for the company's New England Media Group and the Boston Globe. Before joining the Times, Meyer worked at online financial information firm Multex, which was acquired by Reuters in 2003.
"I'm excited to come to About because my love is digital media and I think it's the future of our business at the New York Times Company," Meyer told ClickZ News.
Meyer won't officially start work at About.com until this summer, so he's just beginning intense meetings with Horan and others to establish the site's strategy going forward. He will report to senior vice president for digital operations Martin Nisenholtz.
"What I can tell you is that I think the strategy that Peter has been executing on the past year and a half is right on the money," said Meyer.
Meyer said he sees search and display advertising as big growth drivers for About, but added that he's just getting up to speed on emerging formats like video and podcasting. The new CEO says increasing awareness of the About.com brand will be one of his biggest priorities, though he wouldn't say whether a trade or consumer ad campaign was in the works.
"A lot of what I'll be focusing on with the team here is just telling the About story," he said. "Everyone knows the name About, but we're a bigger and more dynamic brand on the Web for users and for advertisers than people know."
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
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