Just one month after Richard Beckman arranged a town hall meeting for all Fairchild Fashion Group staff to present an ambitious five-year plan for the division, he is exiting the company to become chief executive officer of e5 Global Media. Beckman’s last day as Fairchild ceo will be Friday, and then he’s moving to e5, a new company jointly formed by Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners that owns The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek and film expo business ShoWest. At e5 — a company roughly the same size as Fairchild — Beckman will become a partner and take on an equity stake (a scenario that never would have occurred at family-owned Condé Nast).
Beckman told WWD he is moving back into his beloved subjects of interest, music and entertainment, while building a global footprint for the publications. Perhaps that will mean tapping into the new playbook he put together for Fairchild, which includes aggressive plans for magazine launches, a televised awards show and possibly a reality TV program. Beckman said Fairchild now has the right team in place for growth, but hedged a bit on the question of whether he would take any employees with him, the way he did when he transitioned from Condé Nast Media Group, where he was president.
This story first appeared in the January 13, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Talk has rapidly turned to his successor, which most believe will come from inside 4 Times Square. When asked whether Beckman’s replacement would come from within the company, Charles Townsend, ceo of Condé Nast, said, “I am 99.9 percent sure [it will]. It took us an hour to get to Los Angeles [by plane from San Francisco, where he met with the Wired staff on Tuesday morning] and another hour and a half in traffic to get here [to the Los Angeles CNP building] and in that time there were about 50 people with their hands up for the job. There are a lot of great leaders here. If I were younger, I would want the job…but I’m not.” Maybe he isn’t, but those mentioned in the internal Condé Nast grapevine as possible candidates include most of the other senior company executives, such as David Carey, Tom Florio, Gina Sanders and Bill Wackermann. The betting has begun.