Charlie Koones is stepping down March 1 as president and publisher of Variety and the Reed Business Entertainment Group to pursue entrepreneurial ventures in media and entertainment.
Koones has spent 17 years at the paper, which has seen huge growth under his tenure in print, online, special issues, research and new-media developments.
Succeeding him as prexy-publisher is Neil Stiles. Stiles started out as a journalist in the U.K. music press; since then, he has managed two dozen franchises and built a booming Internet business from successful print brands. He is division managing director for Reed Business Information in the U.K.
Koones has been a primary architect of Variety’s digital growth. Since its launch nine years ago, Variety.com has enjoyed major gains in advertising and page views. Koones also was responsible for extending Variety’s new-media portfolio. Recent developments on the website include Digital Variety, Variety Asia Online and a syndication partnership with MSN.
Reed Business Information CEO Tad Smith said, “Charlie has been a great friend to the industry, to Variety and to me, and we will all miss him and support him in his new life adventure.”
Koones’ oversight of the business has generated major growth on the print side as well. Daily Variety’s Gotham edition launched in 1998, and international extensions Variety China and Variety Japan were introduced over the past two years.
One of the most significant achievements under Koones’ leadership was the boom in features, with the VPlus section producing more than 250 specials a year.
As head of the entertainment division of Reed Business Information, Koones spearheaded the 1999 acquisition of the marketing research firm MarketCast, which has since quintupled in size. He also has overseen all aspects of Video Business, 411 Publishing, Tradeshow Week, Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and Twice.
Peter Bart, Variety editor-in-chief, said: “Starting as a kid right out of college, Charlie Koones understood the growth potential of Variety and brought with him a style and energy that proved a vital element in its continued progress. He will be a great success in whatever future ventures he undertakes.”
“Having the opportunity to take Variety as a brand to the next level has been unbelievably satisfying,” said Koones, 45. “This was not an easy decision, but I know the time is right for me to pursue the next step in my career.”
Stiles said: “I’m looking forward to my new role, which comes at an exciting time as show business, new media and publishing converge. I look forward to working with people at Variety, which I have known and admired for many years.”
Among his many accomplishments in media and the Internet, Stiles has overseen eMedia, Reed Business Information’s London-based Internet marketing company that provides key email solutions for sophisticated buyers of media.
In praising Stiles, Smith added, “Neil brings a deep understanding of the Internet and international matters, which are great assets at a key time in Variety’s future growth. Neil is an outstanding publishing executive who has successfully run a number of very profitable ventures. His experience, style and global perspective is the perfect fit for Reed’s flagship brand, Variety.”