FM Seeks New Leader as Battelle Doubles Down on Client Relations

John Battelle is on the prowl for a business leader to oversee day-to-day operations at the hybrid ad network/consulting start-up he founded in 2005.

Battelle says he always knew he’d surrender the reins at Federated Media, but he emphasizes he’ll continue to focus on the business — just in a new role. He said that role will involve working closely with brand clients on the best ways to craft their messages in the evolving digital landscape.

“It’s essential that I intensify my role working with our major clients, thinking hard about where the media business is going…and evangelizing the market in which we operate,” he wrote in a blog post.

It’s been a year since FM accepted $50 million from Oak Investment Partners. Some of that money has been spent on offering Federated Media’s clients more expansive branding services. Earlier this spring the firm supported Twitter’s first ad-supported undertaking — a Microsoft-sponsored site called ExecTweets. That was followed by another project, a March Madness tweet aggregator sponsored by AT&T.

The company has also used its cash to pursue new relationships with emerging blogs and social media sites. Just this week it announced new publisher partners, including foodie site Recipe4Living, financial blogs WiseBread and The Simple Dollar, and design community Worth1000.

However the company has lost partners too, including major tech sites like Digg and TechCrunch. FM has said the withdrawal of publisher partners is natural as those sites expand their audience and revenue enough to justify the investment in an in-house sales operation.

The title and precise responsibilities of FM’s upcoming executive hire remain to be seen, but Battelle stated the person will be responsible for running the company, “taking all reports and managing to our plan.”

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