It doesn’t matter anymore who’s in charge. CEOs come and go, and always talk about how “thrilled they are to lead a company with strong assets and proven brands.” That’s called whistling into the wind, my friends. Job one should be fixing the culture. It’s scary that so few of these leaders recognize that, especially given the profoundly unsettled condition of the print-based media industry these days. Let me take you through some of the evidence. I’ve elected to use recent examples only from Cygnus, but it could easily be one of the others. A few weeks ago, the latest CEO, John French, announced a management restructuring. Three senior executives departed. The story, as all Cygnus stories do, generated an avalanche of comments. Consider these verbatim snippets:• “What goes around comes around. I agree about the Interactive and IT divisions. With few exceptions, they are a total disaster. Unprofessional, unskilled, mired in red tape and playing favorites. Zero help from these groups. Zero leadership, zero communication. Got what they deserve.”• “He [Edit note: I removed the person’s name.] was in over his head certainly and he knew it. He fell into the Idea of protecting his turf rather than working for everyone else. Although the team was mismanaged when he got it, he didn’t know how to restructure. His political tactics were designed to punish everyone else and he cut himself off from the world to avoid further exposure. For Cygnus, the mistake cost dearly in time and resources. Too bad it took so long.• “You are so on the money. The culture that [he] and others represents is one of mistrust. They literally came on board and said “we don’t trust you.” Everything they did said “we don’t trust you.” How can you build a team without trust? Theirs was a culture of intimidation! Yes, HR got behind this negative culture—and so did the sitting President! This culture was destined to fail.”Then, back a bit earlier this year, Cygnus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Here is a bit of what some of what the commenters thought:• “The System Works? Wow, what a great system: A bunch of fools invest (throw away) tons of money buying b2b magazines, proceed to strip them bare, lay off as many editors and sales peoples as possible, eliminate middle management so that the magazines have no relationship to their industries, and then try and sell them off another bunch of losers. Then failing that, they declare bankruptcy. Wow, what a system. Glad it’s dying.” • “We’ll know when they emerge from this, if they are serious about their business: Get rid of the dead-weight management, bring actual talent back, re-establish the core values that have been lost some time ago, and do business based upon principals that leave room for integrity and ethics, as well as profits. The only thing that seems to be certain is this: If they leave the two clowns [a reference to the co-CEOs whom French replaced] in place, it will continue to be a circus, and we’ll sit in the cheap seats and listen to the drum rolls as they perform another high-wire act without a net.”• “Cygnus properties were third-tier when they bought PTN. They’re still third-tier unless they’ve re-defined the tiering system to add a fourth tier.”As part of the bankruptcy process, Cygnus released financial projections, which foresaw a 35-percent revenue decline in 2009, and which FOLIO: wrote about. The reaction:• “Hah! I love it. Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization…and RENT! How about EBITDARS—add salaries in there too! What, isn’t rent a REAL operating expense? Finally the air gets let out of this poor old balloon full of fourth-tier, under-funded, properties (that’s not to blame the hardworking staff that has been bled to death for years). So what is “interactive” revenue—oh, I remember, back in 1998 that’s what we called online revenue. I’d like to see Cygnus increase “interactive” revenues by TEN MILLION dollars next year as it is projected above – sure, no sweat. It’s dollars to dimes people and when we get right down to it the dimes are becoming pennies.”• “Cygnus’ tipping point was the moment the owners brought in [the former co-CEOs] to save the company. The two whiz-kids from out East “streamlined” Cygnus by firing a lot of experienced, talented, knowledgeable people, and then what did they do? They created countless high-paying upper management positions for each and every one of their little friends. Suddenly rank-and-file employees were inundated with orders and commands from people they had never heard of before, with jobs that never existed before, and it all went to crap. The mammoth effort to “go interactive” has been a textbook study in mismanagement. The CEOs really thought that replacing $5,000 print ads with $500 Web ads would save the company. A lot of good people have been screwed over, are being screwed over, and will be screwed over before the dust settles. Note to businesses everywhere: Never hire two CEOs who share one brain.”When Cygnus hired John French, the commenters—presumably the same people who beat up the former co-CEOs, went crazy. A few samples:• “Why don’t these old publishing houses start looking at younger more experienced, Web-oriented publishing professionals that are capable to pull a company like Cygnus out of the rut and into the future? Look at the people outside the inner circle for example? There a many highly qualified, forward looking, quick successful B2B publishers that can manage to the bottom line and create good morale which translates into success. Every time.” • “John French “left” Penton a year ago. Now, he returns, a savior, to Cygnus, using the same “skills,” to “stabilize” Cygnus? Wow.”• “The last we heard from John French, in B to B’s “Who’s Who,” July 14, 2008: “Earlier this year, when French saw that Penton would not hit its year-end revenue goal, he acted quickly to make some difficult and unpopular choices, including instituting salary and hiring freezes in April and eliminating 42 positions in June. In memos, he told staffers the moves would help position Penton for future growth.” B to B, three days later, said this: “Penton Media, one of those troubled B2B media companies, is seeing more upheaval: John French, the CEO, is resigning. He will continue to stay on Penton’s board and will work with Wasserstein and MidOcean, the two joint PE owners of the company, on new media opportunities.”• So, can we expect the same kind of behavior? Come in, lay off people, exit? Expect another wild ride at Cygnus.”In these difficult times, you need vision, adequate resources, and especially, motivated, talented people who support each other, believe in each other and their managers. At many traditional media companies, that’s gone. And so, those companies themselves might be gone too. The corporate culture at Cygnus Business Media is toxic. So, perhaps, is Advanstar’s. And Nielsen Business Media’s. The Prism part of Penton Media used to be.These places and many others have become nasty cauldrons of resentment. It gets expressed every time FOLIO: writes a story about them—expressed in the hundreds of comments from past and present employees. I’m not blaming the employees. The reasons for their unhappiness are obvious. These companies have been through too many cycles of change in ownership, changes in management, downsizings, layoffs, salary cuts, loss of talent, loss of spirit, loss of camaraderie.
Subaru 2020 Subaru Forester makes a play as the value crossover SUVs Crossovers 2019 Subaru Ascent review 1 Tags Enlarge ImageA little more money, but there’s more to love about the functional crossover. Subaru For the 2020 model year, the Subaru Forester will be slightly more expensive. According to a release from Subaru on Thursday, buyers will find the base model is $200 more than the 2019 Forester.Out the door, the cheapest way to drive off in a 2020 Forester will be with a base model that costs $25,505, including destination. The actual MSRP rings in at $24,495, up $200 from the 2019 model. Destination charges have also increased from $975 to $1,010, according to Subaru’s announcement.As mentioned, buyers will get a little more standard equipment with the small price hike. Subaru’s suite of active safety equipment, EyeSight, is standard on all models for 2020. Now, it also includes lane centering and a lane-departure prevention in addition to precollision alert, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and steering intervention. Noting some brands still lock active safety equipment away in higher trims or charge extra for it, that’s a pretty nifty value in itself.The same 2.5-liter flat-4 engine provides hustle for the Forester and produces 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. A CVT is the only transmission offered. All-wheel drive is, of course, standard. This is a Subaru after all. Other features Forester buyers will find in the base model include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, Bluetooth and keyless entry.Prices also climb for the other Forester trims. The Premium model jumps $700 and rings in at $28,405 after the increased destination charge. Yet, there’s still value packed in. Rather than make it an option, Subaru now bundles the All-Weather Package as standard equipment. It comes with heated front seats, heated mirrors and a windshield deicer.Forester Sport models only see the $200 price jump and carry a $30,005 starting price after destination, while the Forester Limited and Touring models climb $300 to start at $32,105 and $35,605 after destination respectively.As buyers climb through the hierarchy of trims, they’ll find more niceties ranging from a leather-wrapped steering wheel to a power liftgate and additional active safety technology. Features such as automatic reverse emergency braking, blind-spot detection and more are optional on most trims.Look for the 2020 Forester at dealers, and most likely in colder climates, later this year. Review • 2019 Subaru Forester review: Smart camera tech watches the road and the driver Comment More From Roadshow Now playing: Watch this: 2:49 More about 2019 Subaru Forester Share your voice Preview • 2019 Subaru Forester: Keep on keepin’ on 2020 Subaru Legacy first drive: It’s what’s inside that counts 2020 Subaru Outback first drive: Tech and trail mix 11 Photos 2019 Subaru Forester watches the road, keeps an eye on… Subaru
Kendall Jenner at the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion ShowDimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s SecretKendall Jenner sure knows how to work the camera. The model took to Instagram to show off her new bikini courtesy of Emily Ratjkowski’s company.The reality star shared several images of herself in a string two piece. Kendall Jenner looked lean in her snaps, so lean in fact that some wondered if the images had been stretched. The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star is one among several celebrities that headed to Coachella this year.Kendall Jenner hung with gal pal Hailey Baldwin at the festival. Hailey, of course, is married to Justin Bieber. A whole host of celebrities perform at the festival each year and 2019 is no different. With performances by Selena Gomez, Cardi B and many more.The festival reportedly attracts over 100,000 fans every year and will be happening in Indio, California on the weekends of April 12-14 and April 19-21. Kendall JennerKendall Jenner Official Instagram (kendalljenner)Kendall Jenner has made a name for herself as a successful model and has amassed quite the fortune, even though it may be dwarfed by sister Kylie’s. The Kardashian Family has been a reality TV powerhouse for several years and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Reportedly Kanye West was supposed to perform at the festival but in January he backed out due to failed negotiations about the stage. According to TMZ, the 41-year-old rapper refused to perform on the standard 60×40 stage as it was ‘artistically limiting.’ Kendall Jenner may be helping out her friend Emily Ratajkowski by modelling the swimsuit from her company. And when you are a world-famous model like Kendall Jenner, any swimsuit looks good.You can check out the pics here: Kendall JennerKendall Jenner Instagram Kendall JennerKendall Jenner InstagramKendall JennerKendall Jenner Instagram