One day after announcing its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the appointment of a new CEO, John French, business-to-business publisher Cygnus Business Media has announced a new board of directors.
The new members of the board include French; former BusinessWeek president and publisher William P. Kupper, Jr.; former Warburg Pincus managing director Al Aguirre; John Balzer, a director at Goldman Sachs; b-to-b veteran George L. Hundley, Jr.; and Charles G. McCurdy, the current CEO of Apprise Media and b-to-b company Canon Communications.
In announcing its new board, Cygnus emphasized each member’s work on digital integration and the development of new initiatives beyond print media, perhaps hinting at Cygnus’ goals post-reorganization.
“Today’s media landscape offers exceptional opportunities for growth and transformation as it has in each prior decade,” French said. “Each of our board members has participated in the industry from launching start-ups to establishing world leading mediums. Experience, knowledge and hands-on expertise will provide us with a competitive edge and a unique vision of the future. This new board is reflective of our commitment to our business and to the B2B industry as a whole.”
After the jump, full bios of the Cygnus’ new board members.
Over the course of his career, Aguirre developed a broad set of skills through successful executive level operating roles for media, communications and technology businesses, as well as senior principal and advisory positions on Wall Street. In an investment and operational capacity, Aguirre co-led the acquisition and subsequent doubling of revenue of Method, Inc. a leading brand experience agency. Earlier in his career, Aguirre served as Chief Financial Officer and member of the Board of Directors for TV Filme Inc., a Brazilian wireless cable investment of private equity firm Warburg Pincus, where he directed the company through a successful IPO. Aguirre also served as Chief Finance and Administrative Officer of Tradeum Inc., a pioneer in building digital business-to-business marketplaces. Aguirre led the venture capital fundraising effort for Tradeum, and conducted the negotiations and sale of the company to VerticalNet Inc. for $480 million. He also served as CFO of communications management software company QuantumShift Inc. Aguirre gained principal investing, capital markets, and advisory experience as a managing director at Warburg Pincus, a corporate finance attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell and an investment banker at Morgan Stanley.
John Balzer, CFA
Director, Goldman Sachs Special Situations Group
Joining the board from one of the world’s most respected investment firms, Balzer is a key resource as it relates to the media industry as well as domestic and international financial markets. He has worked with several private media companies focused on traditional advertising-based mediums, and has acted in the capacity of investor through transactions including M&A, credit facilities, debt restructuring, development of growth avenues and strategic expansion. Prior to joining the Goldman Sachs Special Situations Group, he worked at GE Commercial Finance in the Media & Communications Group and in the Assurance, Advisory and Tax practices at Ernst & Young LLP. Balzer holds a B.S. in Accounting from Case Western Reserve University where he graduated magna cum laude. He is a CPA in the State of New York and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
CEO, Cygnus Business Media
As one of the media industry’s most respected executives, French officially assumed the CEO position following the company restructuring. He has been a visible force in the business-to-business media industry, serving in top positions of several leading companies. He was most recently Chief Executive Officer of Penton Media, Inc., and a member of its Board of Directors, assuming the role in 2006 following the acquisition of Penton Media by Prism Business Media. The acquisition created the largest independent business-to-business media company in the U.S., serving 30 industries with more than 900 media products. During his tenure, he oversaw the creation of a digital business division that focused on next-generation initiatives. He has advocated for integrated marketing models aimed at providing awareness for brands through several high quality mediums and supports creating customized market research for customers interested in gaining strategic leverage in their marketplace.
George L. Hundley, Jr.
For nearly three decades, Hundley has provided strategy and development for leading business-to-business brands in a variety of industries including Automotive, Gifts & Toys, Jewelry, Trucking and Retail at Cahners Business Information, once a subsidiary of Reed Elsevier Inc. During his tenure at Cahners, he served as vice president of strategy and development as the company began to focus on expanding it B2B reach into digital. By the end of the 1990s, Cahners would establish itself as the world’s leading provider of business-to-business information with more than 67 percent of U.S. managerial and professional laborers utilizing Cahners’ Business Information services. In 2001, Hundley was named President & CEO of Northstar Travel Media, formerly Cahners Travel Group and the world’s leading publisher of travel industry directories, magazines and newspapers, after it was acquired by Boston Ventures. In 2007, the company launched ProfessionalTravelGuide.com, the world’s most comprehensive travel and trip planning resource, with a travel database of more than 159,000 hotels worldwide; 7,000+ destination travel guides; 10,000+ professional hotel reviews; 150 cruise ship reviews; and 250,000+ associated high resolution images. Hundley began his career in public safety in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as a police officer and later in administration with the department of public safety in charge of purchasing fire trucks, emergency service apparatus and related equipment.
William P. Kupper, Jr.
Board of Directors, Turnstile Publishing Advisory Board, ScrollMotion LLC
Corporate Counsel Member, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Corporate Trustee, Trustees of the Reservation
Kupper’s nearly four decades of publishing, communications and advertising experience has earned him deep respect from his colleagues in the industry. He served as president and publisher of BusinessWeek magazine, an international publication that is read by 5 million people and published in 30 languages each week. During his tenure, he was responsible for overseeing worldwide operations for the magazine’s North American and International editions and for leading the continued expansion of the franchise establishing BusinessWeek Online and BusinessWeek Television. Prior to joining BusinessWeek, he spent 24 years in senior sales management positions at Time, Inc., overseeing publications including Sports Illustrated, Life, Time Magazine and Health Magazine. He is considered by many in the media to be an expert on content delivery and dynamic platforms to engage readers. In 2007, just prior to his retirement, Kupper delivered the University of Delaware’s 158th Commencement speech. Several years earlier, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater Concordia College. Mr. Kupper started his career as a media planner at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample in 1969 after serving in the U.S. Army for two years. He spent ten months in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star and Air Medal with the First Cavalry.
Charles G. McCurdy
Chairman and CEO, Apprise Media LLC
Chairman and CEO, Canon Communications LLC
McCurdy’s expertise in developing and growing niche media is legendary in the B2B industry. As co-founder, President and Director of PRIMEDIA, Inc., he oversaw the acquisition,development, and build-up of more than 20 platform specific media companies. He engineered the company’s entrance into a broad range of media businesses, including enthusiast and business-to-business magazines, consumer guides, specialty video, supplemental educational publishing, and related online and digital media activities. McCurdy pioneered the practice of the leveraged build-up in the vertical media and information sector through the 1990′s and is credited with developing the strategy of growing niche media businesses by surrounding their markets with print, live events, and digital products. In 2004, McCurdy founded Apprise Media LLC on the promise of developing the next-level integrated media companies dedicated exclusively to the advanced manufacturing sector worldwide. Under the Apprise umbrella, he launched Canon Communications, a leading B2B company active in trade shows, magazines, and digital media, as well as the Beckett Media LP and Action Pursuit Group LLC units, which together form Apprise Enthusiast Media, which develops special interest consumer niches through magazines, live events, and digital media. He was named to B-to-B’s Top Innovator list in 2007 and Crain’s 40 under 40 New York’s Top Rising Stars in 1992.
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