BECKMAN’S NEW ROLE: Prometheus Media chief executive officer Richard Beckman told colleagues on Thursday that he will spend the next few months developing an entertainment division for the company, which will occasionally take him away from overseeing the group’s day-to-day operations.

Beckman told his top editors and lieutenants in a memo that “for the next few months I will be focusing on this exciting area of growth for all of us.” Beckman said that Prometheus chairman Jimmy Finkelstein will assume some of his responsibilities when he is busy and reminded staffers to make sure Finkelstein is “copied on all key communications related to your areas moving forward so that nothing falls through the cracks.” The story was first reported by the New York Post on Thursday evening.

This story first appeared in the July 29, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Beckman explained that, in developing the entertainment division and expanding the company’s global outreach, he will be out of the country “for a considerable amount of time.”

Soon after the announcement went out, speculation began that Beckman was being sidelined from Prometheus’ publishing division. One source familiar with the situation cautioned that Beckman is great at “branding things,” such as Condé Nast’s Fashion Rocks, but isn’t naturally suited to being the ceo of a company.

Beckman rejected the claim. “That’s not the case. I’m the ceo of Prometheus. I continue to be the ceo of Prometheus,” he said.

“Richard was, is and will be the ceo,” said Finkelstein.

Another source said that there would be obvious “benefits to having Jimmy come in and run this like a small business instead of like Condé Nast.” Meanwhile, by putting Beckman on this assignment, “it gives Richard a chance to go be Richard for a while,” the source said.

Prometheus publishes The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and AdWeek. Beckman has been ceo since January 2010 and has overseen a dramatic reinvention of the titles in a venture backed by Finkelstein. He brought in Janice Min as editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter and Michael Wolff as editorial director of AdWeek, which was formed from the combination of the titles AdWeek, MediaWeek and BrandWeek.

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