Gannett's chief digital officer, Chris Saridakis, will exit the company by the end of this month, according to an 8-K filing submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Saridakis has risen rapidly through the ranks at Gannett since he joined the publishing conglomerate through the 2005 acquisition of rich media firm PointRoll, where he was COO at the time. Saridakis was later promoted to CEO at PointRoll, and in 2008 became SVP and chief digital officer for the parent company - reporting to CEO and Chairman Craig Dubow. He also joined the Gannett Management Committee. At Gannett, he led the charge on several of the company's aggressive investments in digital media and services, including the publisher's move to buy out the interests of two publisher partners in online circular provider ShopLocal. In 2008, Gannett also took a controlling stake in jobs site CareerBuilder and acquired social media services firm Ripple6.
So why is Saridakis leaving now, after a run of business moves that has arguably put Gannett in a position better than most rivals to capitalize on the shift of ad budgets to digital channels? Gannett would only say that Saridakis had moved on "to pursue other interests."
A Gannett spokesperson emphasized it was Saradakis's decision to leave, and said its digital business remains strong. She said the chief digital officer position will be filled, adding that no structural changes are expected related to the departure. No interim chief digital officer was named.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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