NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Joe Bilman, AMI's Chief Digital Officer (CDO), has quickly assembled an A-list roster to join him in the newly created division designed to accelerate AMI into the forefront as a digital content company. Bilman, in a mere thirty days since taking the role, has enlisted some of the industry's top financial, engineering and sales and marketing players to drive AMI's mission in establishing its digital presence.
"In this fast-paced environment, it was essential that I hit the ground running," said Bilman. "With that in mind, I am pleased and excited to have recruited an experienced team – all of whom I've worked with in the past – who bring years of vision to our mission to drive AMI's digital growth across all brands and platforms."
"We brought Joe Bilman on board to create a meaningful digital footprint for our titles," said David J. Pecker, Chairman, President and CEO of American Media, Inc. (AMI). "He has brought together an impressive cast of online and mobile super stars with a proven track record. AMI, is positioned to transform 'itself' in the digital marketplace."
Toby McKenna will assume the role of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). She comes to AMI from Yahoo!, where she was Head of Property and Advertiser Solutions. She led a team of more than 40 employees and managed over $800 million in revenue per year, spearheading the advertising sales packaging and programs across all Yahoo!'s core sites and media platforms. Previously, she worked at American Express Publishing where she oversaw the Digital Sales unit for Travel+Leisure.com.
Michele Ursino takes over as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at AMI digital. Ursino, with a Ph.D. in computer science from Politecnic of Milan, has been involved in software development for over 16 years. Fluent in both the corporate and startup worlds, he founded his own company, Foldier, in 2006 and developed a cutting edge Web 2.0 application for publishing and aggregating news online. More recently, he has been with Autodesk as a lead software architect, pioneering a cloud based platform migration for the CAD software giant.
Paula Buzzard steps into the role of General Manager for the AMI Women's titles. She brings over 15 years experience in digital design, launching ambitious products for large organizations across a variety of categories and countries. Most recently, she was EVP, Global Products at Fox Mobile Group, responsible for Bitbop, a service that allows customers to watch TV on their smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Prior to that, she has worked at a variety of technology and media companies including Microsoft, Google, BBC, Thumbplay and Rodale Inc.
Jay Ehrlich takes the reins as General Manager of the Men's titles at AMI. He joins Bilman's team from his previous role as Executive Digital Director for Women's Health at Rodale Press, where he oversaw the editorial programming and digital, mobile, and social initiatives for the website and all its digital properties. Previously, he held senior positions at CosmoGIRL!, and Teen Beat and Bop. He also launched verticals and developed partnerships for the online-delivery site Kozmo.com.
Peter Van Dijck rounds out the new team as General Manager of Entertainment online. Previously, he was User Experience Lead at Isis, a mobile wallet company owned by AT&T, T-mobile and Verizon, where he was responsible for redesigning the mobile wallet product. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Global User Experience at Fox mobile, responsible for the information architecture of Bitbop.
"AMI is a well-known media powerhouse on the cusp of dynamic transition," said Toby McKenna. "This is a tremendous opportunity to take its brand and titles and leapfrog them into the forefront of the digital economy."
In the past year, AMI has seen tremendous advancement in their digital properties including Shape.com, MensFitness.com and RadarOnline.com. Shape.com is the fastest growing site in the women's health & fitness category, up by over 300% to 3.3 million unique visitors in less than a year. MensFitness.com has doubled its online traffic to over 1 million unique visitors in less than six months, while RadarOnline.com is rapidly approaching 10 million uniques.
Mr. Pecker noted that AMI will be making a multi-million dollar investment in its digital operations over the next year that will be totally funded from the company's cash flow. The company also confirmed that, even with this investment, its current fiscal year EBITDA guidance of between $105 million and $110 million would be achieved.
About American Media, Inc.
American Media, Inc. owns and operates the leading print and digital celebrity and health and fitness media brands in the United States. AMI's titles include Star, OK!, National Enquirer, Globe, Soap Opera Digest, Shape, Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health. AMI also manages 18 different digital sites including RadarOnline.com, OKmagazine.com, Shape.com, MensFitness.com, MuscleandFitness.com and FitPregnancy.com. AMI's magazines have a combined total circulation of almost 7 million and reach more than 55 million men and women each month. AMI's digital properties reach an average of 10 million unique visitors and 80 million page views monthly.
SOURCE American Media, Inc.