Investors Applaud Resignation of Primedia CEO

21 April 2003

Last week’s news that Primedia ceo Thomas Rogers had resigned from the media company [WAMN: 18-Apr-03] rocketed shares overnight by 20% – ironically the same percentage hike that greeted news of his appointment back in 1999.

Rogers’ departure was precipitated by the decision of controlling shareholder, leveraged buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, to put the struggling group up for auction – KKK salivating for growth in share value (currently trading 80% below its 1999 price) rather than the ceo’s ambitious expansion program, which included the $515 million acquisition of Emap USA magazines in 2001.

KKR founder Henry Kravis said that he and other Primedia board members recognized irreconcilable "differences" between Rogers’ goals and their own – hence his heave-ho. Rogers contented himself with a pat on his own back, saying he was proud of his work at Primedia.

Primedia founder and former president Charles McCurdy steps into Rogers’ shoes as interim chief executive, saying that he and interim chairman Dean Nelson, a KKR placemen, will continue to cut costs and focus Primedia “on growing its core business”.

A statement observers interpret as an intention to hold a piecemeal auction.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff