‘Hard Man’ Falls Hard at Ziff Davis

14 August 2001

A cavalcade of poor results has led to the overthrow of James D Dunning Junior, the macho triple-hatted chairman, president and chief executive at technology and consumer magazine publisher Ziff Davis Media.

Dunning’s abrupt exit followed last week’s revelation of abysmal figures for the group’s first quarter to June 30 – EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortization) down from $32.4 million in 2000 to just $3.5m. During the period, revenue sagged by 37% to $78.9m and Ziff’s workforce was decimated by 23%.

Temporarily filling Dunning’s three-seater is Avy Stein, a founding partner of Ziff’s controlling shareholder Willis Stein & Partners, who observed that the foregoing period had seen “some significant disappointments” and that “we really felt we could use fresh leadership”.

According to Stein, Ziff seeks to replace Dunning with an executive with a better track record in sales and marketing, also “a person who can run an organisation efficiently”. Reported the Wall Street Journal: “Mr Dunning didn’t return calls for comment.”

News source: Wall Street Journal