Meredith Corporation has elected former BCW global chair Donald Baer, lead independent director on the company’s board of directors. Baer, who is now CEO of Palisades Strategic Advisors, was CEO and worldwide chair at Burson-Marsteller before it merged with Cohn & Wolfe in 2018. He also served as White House director of strategic planning and communication and chief speechwriter during the Clinton administration. In its fiscal 2020 second-quarter earnings call on Feb. 7, Meredith reported $811 million in revenues, down from $878 million in the prior-year period. The company has also recently shed Family Circle, Money and Martha Stewart Weddings from its stable of magazines and has reimagined several others as quarterly publications. In his new role, Baer will collaborate with chairman Steve Lacy, vice chairman Mell Meredith and president and CEO Tom Harty on setting agendas for board meetings, facilitate discussions among the independent directors outside of board meetings, and provide advice and counsel to the board.
Just days after taking over as chief executive of Tribune Publishing, Terry Jimenez has already begun swinging the cost-cutting ax. According to a report in the New York Post, execs being shown the door include SVP of sales and strategy Susan Jacobs, VP of strategy marketing Mark Rose, VP of creative and strategy Robin Gruen, VP of business optimization Chris Duplex and chief digital operations officer Grant Whitmore, who was formerly publisher of the New York Daily News. The departures come on the heels of the Jan. 13 announcement of voluntary buyouts for staffers with more than eight years of service. Hedge fund Alden Capital Partners is now the company’s largest single shareholder, controlling 32 percent of its common stock.
Television still reigned this year as the dominant platform choice for people who watched the Super Bowl. In the Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted Feb. 3-5, 92 percent of respondents said that they took in the game on television, with four percent watching on their computer, three percent on multiple screens and just one percent on their phones. TV viewers accounted for 98 percent of the big game’s audience in 2016. When asked what part of the broadcast was their favorite, 65 percent said the game itself (down from 72 percent in 2016), with 19 percent opting for the halftime show (up from 13 percent) and 12 percent picking the commercials (up from seven percent). As to how effective those commercials were in getting their messages across, only 17 percent said that a commercial aired during the game made them want to purchase the product advertised. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business.