Friday, September 17, 2010

PointRoll | Ripple6 unit CEO Kim appears gone

CEO and Founder Sang Kim (left) is no longer listed in the executive roster at Ripple6, his apparent departure coming four months after the Gannett subsidiary was folded into the management structure of advertising services provider PointRoll.

Several Gannett Blog readers noted Kim's absence earlier today. I've asked Ripple6 for comment.

Kim's departure would add to worries that key parts of Gannett Digital's operations are unraveling in the absence of a chief digital officer. Chris Saridakis left that post at the end of April, and has not been replaced.

Gannett bought the social media consumer tracker in November 2008. The deal was controversial because it involved buying out the 10% stake owned by Saridakis. Gannett said, however, that the purchase was made without his involvement.


  1. OK, let's see if this makes sense.

    We are transforming the company for a digital world and, at the same time, letting our best digital people stroll out the door. Then these same people will take their skills to our competitors and come back to kick the crap out of the now-weakened and newly-transformed Gannett.


  2. Earth to Crystal Tower. Earth to Crystal Tower....Hey Craig! Are you awake? What's going on here?

    Is this part of the new transformation strategy you'll be telling the board about?

    Not for nothin, but it seems the digital end of the business is unraveling.

    Are lifeboats at the ready?

  3. They didn't let Kim walk out the door. He walked out the door and made it clear he wasn't going to be persuaded to come back.
    I can't blame him. The executives of this company are hopelessly clueless on technologies, but unfortunately they are in positions where they are required to make policy decisions and so have to pretend they in the know.
    I can tell you they are not. I bet that doesn't come as much of a surprise to most of you. Kim told them that, too.

  4. Or

    See Sang start his company.
    See Sang sell his company.
    See Sang wait for the earnout.
    See Sang achieve his earnout and leave.
    See San sipping drinks on the beach.

    Nobody knows or will know the full story but instead of screaming "talent is abandoning ship" why not look to the logical solution? This happens almost hourly in silicon valley.

  5. 12:02 a.m. makes an excellent point on entrepreneurs exiting companies to cash in, and, often, then going on to start other companies.

  6. Sang Kim left of $10 million on the table!!!! He must have been pretty fed up to walk from that much money"

  7. What did the Kegmeister do in the last three years?

  8. True enough...most entrepreneurs are looking for their payout. That may be the case here.

    But, here's the problem. With Gannett's track record of management ineptitude, it's highly unlikely he will be replaced by anyone good anytime soon.

  9. Yes, but GCI is hardly Silicon Valley. The problem is that corporate now has to fill a job and doesn't have the foggiest idea of how to do it. Look at the empty Saridakis seat, which is empty in spite of a nationwide talent search. Outsiders who are qualified for the job do their own research on this company, and withdraw in horror. Now Kim is gone, and they have to replace him. I bet they get the same response. WHo wants to tarnish their resume by working for this company? So they don't fill another job, and others leave, too. Soon it shows up on the bottom line, and corporate screams, orders cutbacks, and digital ends up like newspapers denuded of staff.
    Since you mention Silicon Valley, look what is going on there. Oracle is expanding, planning on investing $4 billion in new technology. ThHey are not alone. There's been a breakthrough in creating a new quantum computer, and it now could appear within five years. It is going to require a whole new stream of talent to assemble it. There are fortunes to be made from this, and the Pentagon is panting for this advance because future intelligence depends on it. And do you really think Gannett is going to draw anybody really good to run its digital operations when applicants talk to Gracia and Craig and realize they don't have a clue what they are doing.

  10. By now, Dubow and his inner circle must surely realize that their only viable end game is to sell off the company in pieces to the highest bidders and monetize its assets while they still have value. It's clear to all but the diehard deniers that Gannett has no chance as a stand-alone new media company. Time to hire an investment banking firm to develop a breakup plan and solicit offers. Time to finally pay heed to their fiduciary duty of creating shareholder value and selling the company at the highest possible premium over the current share price. At the rate they're going, $13 will be that premium.

  11. 1:56 The parts are probably not worth as much as you think.
    What value do you put on USA Today in the wake of the declining circulation and an inability to sell ads? Who wants to buy a sick paper that owns no presses?
    The Daytona paper in Florida went for $30 million, so that is probably a good yardstick for what southern papers would get on the market. The San Diego Union (reportedly) brought $50 million last year, so that gives an indication for what Arizona might raise. Maybe some John McCain Republican would want it.
    But who wants New Jersey? Corzine isn’t interested in the Star-Ledger, so who would be interested in our collection? Besides, everyone in the New York area remembers how the Dolans spent $580 million for Newsday two years ago, and it has cost them a mint. Perhaps like Detroit they could be given away.
    Wisconsin probably has the most attractive properties, and easiest to sell. But they are not big papers.
    TV is in better shape, but is facing a mountain of problems as shows go online and can be seen on computers. With cable networks, local stations are not as valuable as they used to be.

  12. Gee, I don't think things are as bleak as all that, 1:56 p.m.!

    Of course, Gannett's success is going to depend on the honchos doing something that doesn't come naturally: taking less money from the company and investing more into it.

    And those investments should be wise ones, not like those I've seen bandied about here lately. That Web page redesign, for example.

    The company needs vision at the helm, not bean counters. Does anyone on the board of directors read this blog? Have any of the directors taken heed of the call for high quality?

    Or, is 1:56 p.m. right? Is the regime looking to strip the bones and load the meat into its retirement accounts/parachutes?

    I don't think Dubow and Martore are up to the task. They're finance/sales people of the McCorkindale school, the academy that never saw the Internet coming, and couldn't care less about the communities their papers supposedly "serve."

  13. 1:56 here again. True, it's not the greatest time to be a seller. That would have been 2004, when Gannett shares traded for $90, or 2006, when McClatchy paid top dollar, mostly in cash, for Knight Ridder. Smart rats leave sinking ships, and Saridakis and Kim's departures are telltale signs that Gannett's digital strategy is not viable. I'm not necessarily saying that Gannett should fold now, only that it should hire an investment banking firm to present other courses of action. Waiting three years to sell, when the economy has rebounded, could be smart. But it could be unwise if Gannett's current management team flails its way deeper into the quicksand.

  14. Investors have given up on newspapers. None of the major investment houses have an analyst covering the newspaper industry. That speaks volumes about the worth of GCI.


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