Economist Group President Rossi Exits as Part of Reorganization

(Bloomberg) -- The Economist Group’s president is leaving the company as the publisher of the Economist magazine reorganizes in response to shrinking advertising sales.

Paul Rossi will depart in the coming months, a spokeswoman said Thursday. He was responsible for all of the group’s media properties, including the Economist magazine and its events business. Rossi joined the company in 1987 and held various roles, including publisher of the flagship magazine in North America.

The Economist Group underwent a reorganization earlier this month to bring together its various units, including circulation, sales and events, into a single team led by Michael Brunt, who was named chief operating officer and publisher of the Economist.

First published in 1843, the London-based weekly magazine is known for its affluent audience and analysis of world events. The magazine has instituted a metered online paywall and raised subscription rates.

Operating profit at the Economist Group, which is closely held, dropped 11 percent in 2017 amid a continued decline in advertising sales. Print advertising revenue has shrunk by an annual average of 18 percent over the past five years.

Targeted, low-cost digital advertising had made the Economist’s traditional advertising products “less appealing” and ad sales in the U.S. experienced a “Trump slump,” Rossi noted in the company’s 2017 annual report.

“This has been a difficult year, but we remain competitive and have maintained our market share,” Rossi wrote. “We must now seek every opportunity to win business and keep costs under tight control.”

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