Forbes Media Picks Its First CEO Not Named Forbes: Mike Perlis

Forbes Media Names Mike Perlis as CEO Forbes Media is turning a page on its storied history, reaching outside the family ranks for the first time to name a new CEO, the company announced Tuesday.

Veteran venture capitalist and media executive Mike Perlis will assume his new post Dec. 1, replacing longtime CEO and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who will continue to serve as company chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media.

Perlis previously served as general partner at Softbank Capital, where he began his career in 2000 and focused on investments in content companies. Some of his bets included The Huffington Post and Associated Content, which Yahoo acquired earlier this year, reportedly for more than $100 million.

Perlis' media background includes a two-year stint as CEO of Ziff-Davis Publishing, a Softbank investment that was sold in 2000. While he was there, Softbank noted he repositioned the media company's brands to be "Internet-centric" from its focus on PCs. He also served a four-year run at TVSM Publishing and as president of Playboy Publishing Group.

In announcing Perlis' appointment, Steve Forbes said:
With the arrival of Mike Perlis, Forbes has been joined by someone who is a proven leader, with great successes in his impressive career. We are fortunate he will be leading the company as CEO, charged with taking a great brand to greater, expanded success. Mike is a well-liked, known and admired force in our business. His experience, coupled with the range of arenas he has spent time in, are the ideal skills that Forbes demands in the days and years moving forward. He will be joining the company on December 1st.

My brother, Tim Forbes, has done an extraordinary job as COO leading the company and navigating the turbulent times, including the recent re-architecting of Forbes Media. He will remain Chairman of Forbes Digital, a member of the Board of Forbes Media and one of the company's chief strategists in the new era of Forbes.
Forbes has been on the prowl for new top executives since earlier this year, according to a Fortune magazine report. The executive search followed a year during which Forbes suffered a staggering 30% drop in its ad pages and had to institute a workforce cut of approximately 25%, the report noted.

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At the time of the report, some of the ideas that appeared to Forbes was entertaining included replacing Tim Forbes as chief operating officer, or possibly bumping him up to the CEO post, at which time Steve Forbes would relinquish that role. According to aForbes blog, the company's large minority shareholder, Elevation Partners, and two company directors -- Ted Meisel and Bret Pearlman -- participated in in the executive search process. And CNBC notes that Tim Forbes also played a role in bringing Perlis to Forbes Media.

"What an exciting time to come to Forbes," Perlis said in a statement. "As media and content continue to evolve, brands are going to play an even more important role. The Forbes name in business and lifestyle is unsurpassed as is its track record for innovation and creativity. I look forward to working with an amazing team at Forbes and our Elevation Partners to take Forbes to even greater heights."
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