Business vet spent 23 years at Reed Elsevier

Robert Krakoff, prexy-CEO of Nielsen Business Media and previously a longtime exec of Variety’s parent corporation, Reed Business Information, died of natural causes at his Boston home Friday. He was 71.

Prior to joining Nielsen (formerly VNU) in 2006, he served two years as chairman and CEO of Blantyre Partners, a strategic management and investment company for the media industry.

“Bob Krakoff was a true innovator, whose vision sparked the rebirth of Variety,” said Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart.

From 1996 to 2004, he was chairman and chief executive officer of Advanstar, which operates business communications activities through subsid Advanstar Communications.

Krakoff spent 23 years at Variety’s parent Reed Elsevier, a leading international publisher and information provider. During his career at Reed, he held the position of chief exec of Reed Exhibition Cos. and Reed Reference Publishing; chairman-CEO of Cahners Publishing Co. (now Reed Business Information); director of Reed Elsevier; and vice chairman of Reed Elsevier.

He also held executive positions in the areas of finance, marketing and planning at Ford Motor Co., Trans World Airlines, the Singer Corp. and RCA.

He was a past chairman and a past director of the Assn. of American Business Media (ABM) and the 2002 recipient of the ABM’s McAllister Top Management Fellowship award for career leadership in business-to-business media.

In addition, he was a trustee of the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston; a member of the board of Freedom Communications and chairman of its audit and compensation committees; a prior director of three mutual funds of the Aquila Corp.; and a prior member of the board of governors of the Harvard Business School Assn. of Boston.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pennsylvania State U. and his MBA from Harvard.He is survived by wife Sandra, three children and six grandchildren.

Services were pending.

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