Ross Levinsohn

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Ross Levinsohn
RL Photo.jpg
Born
New York City, New York, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Alma materAmerican University
OccupationCEO, The Arena Group

Ross Levinsohn is an American media executive who has worked in media and technology. He is the CEO of The Arena Group and Sports Illustrated, and has held senior roles at Yahoo, Fox Interactive and Tribune Publishing, including a brief tenure as publisher of the Los Angeles Times.[1][2] He became the CEO of Sports Illustrated in October 2019, and became CEO of The Arena Group in August 2020.[3]

Work[edit]

Early career[edit]

Levinsohn's career began with three advertising and marketing jobs at Saatchi and Saatchi, Lapin and Rose and sports marketing firm ProsServ from 1985 to 1989[citation needed]. He joined HBO in 1989, working in marketing and promotions for Time Warner Sports.[4]

In early 1996 Levinsohn joined SportsLine USA in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.[5] He produced a syndicated television show starring NFL coaches Marv Levy and Sam Wyche, and host Scott Kaplan, entitled "Football Playbook," and syndicated radio programming on Westwood One.[citation needed]

Levinsohn was hired by Alta Vista to help launch the portal division in 1999.[citation needed]

From 2001 to 2005, Levinsohn was senior vice president and general manager at Fox Sports Interactive Media, a division of News Corporation.[citation needed] In late 2004, he was named president of Fox Interactive Media and oversaw the acquisition of MySpace for $580 million.[6]

Levinsohn resigned from News Corp. in November 2006 and was replaced by his cousin.[7]

In 2007, he joined the venture capital firm Velocity Interactive Group, later rebranded as Fuse Capital.[8][9]

Yahoo[edit]

In October 2010, Levinsohn was hired as executive vice president of the Americas for Yahoo.[10] Under his purview, Yahoo acquired 5to1, a digital advertising network run by longtime business partner James Heckman.[11]

During Levinsohn's tenure, Yahoo expanded its efforts in media, including streaming short films and animated content in partnership with Robert Redford and Tom Hanks.[12][13]

Levinsohn led Yahoo for two months as interim CEO in 2012. After the board of directors passed him over for the permanent CEO position, hiring Google executive Marissa Mayer, Levinsohn left the company.[14]

The next year, he became CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media, an offshoot of Guggenheim Partners, the investment firm that then was the controlling owner of the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.[15]

In 2014, Levinsohn became executive chairman of Scout Media, a sports digital media network.[16] The firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2016, seeking approval to sell what remained of the business at auction.[17][18] Levinsohn and Heckman were named as defendants in a shareholder lawsuit filed in 2017 in federal court.[19]

Los Angeles Times[edit]

On 21 August 2017, Levinsohn was named the publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times by tronc, replacing Davan Maharaj.[20]

The Los Angeles Times newsroom filed for a union election in December 2017, four months after Levinsohn was hired, and held a union election on 4 January 2018.[21] The staff cited concerns with the company's "nascent plans to establish a network of non-staff contributors to produce stories outside the main newsroom."[22]

Levinsohn was placed on unpaid leave in January 2018 after reports of two sexual harassment lawsuits, 'frat house' behavior and questionable decisions on the job from interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates.[23][24] A law firm hired by Tronc to investigate the sexual harassment claims found no wrongdoing after a three-week investigation.[22][25]

Levinsohn stepped down as publisher and CEO of The Times and shifted into a new role as the CEO of Tribune Interactive.[25]

The Los Angeles Times was sold to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong in June 2018.[26] Levinsohn left Tribune Publishing in 2018 when his job was eliminated.[27]

The Arena Group[edit]

In June 2019, Levinsohn was named chief executive of Sports Illustrated after his firm, then known as Maven Inc., entered into a $45-million licensing arrangement with the magazine's new owner, Authentic Brands Group.[27] In October, Maven laid off 40 journalists, implemented an independent contractor model and removed longtime editor-in-chief Chris Stone.[28][29]

In August 2020, Levinsohn took over for Heckman as Maven's chief executive.[3] Levinsohn prioritized expanding premium content and settling many of the issues created by previous management including issues with previous owner Meredith and journalist Grant Wahl.[30][31]

On September 20, 2021, the company announced that it rebranded itself as The Arena Group, reflecting the company's shift in business strategy towards building "scalable media verticals."[2][32]

Personal life[edit]

Levinsohn was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, the son of Joyce (née Salton) and Jay Douglas Levinsohn.[33] He graduated from American University with a bachelor's degree in broadcast communications.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reuters, From (16 July 2005). "News Corp. Forms Internet Division". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ a b Andy Meek (September 20, 2021). "Sports Illustrated Publisher Maven Is Rebranding Amid A Strategy Shift". Forbes.
  3. ^ a b Gruenwedel, Erik (August 27, 2020). "Ross Levinsohn Named CEO of Maven". MediaPlayNews.com. Media Play News. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  4. ^ [citation needed]
  5. ^ "CBS Corporation and SportsLine USA Extend Strategic Alliance".[dead link]
  6. ^ Reiss, Spencer. "His Space". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  7. ^ Kiss, Jemimah (17 November 2006). "Fox Interactive's Levinsohn resigns". The Guardian. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  8. ^ Thomas, Owen (13 May 2012). "Meet Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo's Sixth CEO In Five Years".
  9. ^ McMahan, Ty. "Velocity Interactive Rebrands As Fuse Capital, Plugs In Best Buy As Sole LP". The Private Equity Analyst.
  10. ^ Thomas, Owen (13 May 2012). "Meet Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo's Sixth CEO In Five Years". Business Insider. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  11. ^ Cook, John (18 May 2011). "Yahoo buys Jim Heckman's online ad startup 5to1.com". Geek Wire.
  12. ^ Yahoo Seeks to Rebrand Itself at Sundance
  13. ^ Yahoo Partners with Tom Hanks for Animated Web Series
  14. ^ "Interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn leaves company". Reuters. 30 July 2012.
  15. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (15 January 2013). "Ross Levinsohn to run new digital biz".
  16. ^ HeineAugust 1, Christopher; 2014. "Ross Levinsohn Joins Scout Media as Executive Chairman". Retrieved 2022-02-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Corrigan, Tom (2016-12-09). "Scout Media Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  18. ^ "Anatomy of a media failure: Why Scout Media flamed out". Digiday. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  19. ^ "Hernreich 2005 Trust and Serure Scout LLC v. Heckman, Stieglitz, Sornsin and Levinsohn" (PDF).
  20. ^ Lenz, Lyz (24 January 2018). "LA journalism's 'Prince of Darkness'". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  21. ^ Eidelson, Josh (4 January 2018). "After 136 Years, L.A. Times Reporters Decide Whether to Unionize". Bloomberg.
  22. ^ a b Kelly, Keith J. (8 February 2018). "LA Times publisher cleared of wrongdoing, given Tronc post". New York Post. Retrieved 2019-08-24.
  23. ^ James, Meg (2018-01-19). "L.A. Times Publisher Ross Levinsohn to take unpaid leave of absence". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  24. ^ David Folkenflik (2018-01-18). "Accusations Of 'Frat House' Behavior Trail 'LA Times' Publisher's Career". NPR.org. NPR.
  25. ^ a b James, Meg (2018-02-07). "Tronc clears L.A. Times publisher Ross Levinsohn of wrongdoing, names him CEO of new unit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  26. ^ Meg James (2018-06-16). "Historic sale of the L.A. Times to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong to close on Monday". Los Angeles Times.
  27. ^ a b "Ross Levinsohn, now with Maven, to manage Sports Illustrated magazine". Los Angeles Times. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  28. ^ New 'Sports Illustrated' EICs Outline Goals Amid Reports Of Impending Layoffs
  29. ^ "Maven, the Media Company That Slashed Sports Illustrated, Has Had Its Own Share of Financial Woes". Fortune. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  30. ^ Meredith drops $1M suit against Sports Illustrated operator Maven
  31. ^ Grant Wahl will write three final long-form stories for Sports Illustrated
  32. ^ "Maven Rebrands as The Arena Group, Expanding Business Strategy Around Consumer Media Verticals Anchored by Flagship Brands". Yahoo Finance. September 20, 2021.
  33. ^ "Jay Douglas Levinsohn". Los Angeles Times. 23 January 2014.
  34. ^ "Trustee accused of sexual harassment will not seek re-election to board". The Eagle. Retrieved 2019-08-27.