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Departing Forbes Exec Calls Out Crappy Reporting

forbesim_spanfeller2_01Yesterday we picked up the news that Jim Spanfeller was stepping down as the CEO of Forbes.com. Many saw it as yet another by-product of a declining ad market which has hit the business journals particularly hard.

Jeff Bercovici of Daily Finance saw it differently:

Spanfeller did not respond to messages, but his departure is thought by insiders to be a result of pressure by Elevation Partners, the private equity group that bought a large minority stake in Forbes three years ago. In May of this year, Elevation co-founder Roger McNamee resigned from the Forbes board and was replaced by Bret Pearlman, another Elevation Partners executive whose arrival was seen to herald a round of cost-cutting. Since then, rumors have circulated that Spanfeller’s days were numbered, even though he is said to be favored by president/COO Tim Forbes.

Folio’s Jason Fell was able reach the exiting CEO, who set the story straight:

I spoke with Spanfeller this afternoon and he denied reports that his leaving was pressured by Forbes investor Elevation Partners. “That’s just crappy reporting,” he said during a phone conversation. “Unless Elevation has the ability to stick thoughts and actions in my head, they had nothing to do with my decision to move on.”

Crappy reporting,” eh? Luckily for Bercovici, that alleged crappy reporting does not factor in his rankings on the Power Grid. (And yes, we know he checked.)

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