Tag Archive | "Francisco Seghezzo"

Dantur replaces Seghezzo as impreMedia CEO

Dantur replaces Seghezzo as impreMedia CEO

Dantur-Seghezzo

Gabriel Dantur (L) will replace Francisco Seghezzo as CEO of impreMedia starting Jan. 1, 2016.

impreMedia is undergoing a top management change. Francisco Seghezzo, who has led the company since 2012, will leave the post to return to LA NACIÓN in Argentina.

He’ll be replaced by Gabriel Dantur as impreMedia’s new CEO, effective January 1st, 2016.

LA NACIÓN acquired impreMedia in 2012.

Seghezzo joined impreMedia as COO and became CEO when Monica Lozano stepped down from the role in 2014.

According to a company statement, during this time, efforts “have been focused on transforming the company into a sustainable and successful business.”

impreMedia’s “transformation” has included redesigns of its newspapers La Opinión in Los Angeles and El Diario NY and creation of an in-house market solutions division called IM Studio ñ focused on providing client centric services, strategic consultation, creative and content marketing.

But it has been a difficult 4 years for the company, which has seen reduced revenues, restructuring, has undergone a series of layoffs, and battled union problems in New York.

impreMedia says it’s time for the next phase in the company’s “transformation” and that’s where Gabriel Dantur comes in, bringing his experience in digital media, technology and innovation.

An industrial engineer, Dantur joins impreMedia from LA NACIÓN, where he was most recently Vice President of Digital.

He has been on the board of impreMedia’s parent holding company U.S. Hispanic Media, Inc. since 2012.

Here is Francisco Seghezzo’s email to staff announcing his departure and replacement:

Greetings to all:

I would like to announce that, effective January 1st, 2016; I will be leaving my post as CEO of impreMedia to continue working at LA NACION in Argentina, the parent company of impreMedia.

As my replacement, the Board of Directors of U.S. Hispanic Media, Inc. (100% owner of impreMedia) has designated Gabriel Dantur. Gabriel has worked in La Nacion for the past 9 years and has been an integral part of the leadership team that has transformed and further strengthened La Nacion in Argentina. Besides his responsibilities at La Nacion, Gabriel has also been closely involved in the forward progress of impreMedia since La Nacion’s acquisition, acting as an active member of the holding company’s Board of Directors.

I have known and worked with Gabriel for many years and he is not only an excellent professional but also more importantly, human being. I have no doubt that Gabriel is the ideal person for this phase of the company, where his expertise will be very important in the continued transformation and sustainability for the future.

It is very difficult for me to leave impreMedia. It has been almost 4 years of many challenges and learnings, where I always tried to prioritize the development and growth of the Company.

This has been, without a doubt, the most important phase of my professional career, as well as an incredible life experience. I will continue to work with the same enthusiasm during the time I have left as CEO of impreMedia.

My sincere thanks to everyone for all your efforts and, as always, my door is open and I am available for anything you may need.

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El Diario faces more job cuts and NLRB action

El Diario fired employees Aug2014

El Diario employees Annette Santiago (l) and Rosa Murphy (r) claim they were illegally fired during a press conference on the steps of NY’s City Hall .

Stating the company’s financial situation is “difficult” and “needs to continue restructuring to reduce expenses and create sustainable businesses,” impreMedia sent a memo to El Diario employees saying it had to eliminate 7 Guild-represented positions at the paper.

In the memo dated December 2, the company offers a “voluntary resignation” package to Guild employees who willingly come forward to take the buyout before resorting to forced layoffs.

In an interview with Media Moves, CEO Francisco Seghezzo says this is a necessary measure to reduce overhead costs in the midst of a financial crisis.

“In the past year and a half impreMedia has laid off 100 employees. We still have a very heavy infrastructure. If we don’t make the necessary cuts, we won’t be able to continue operating,” he says. “We have no plans to shut down the company. We’re just trying to implement new business development strategies that will help us move the company forward.”

The “voluntary resignation” package, which was negotiated with support from the NY Guild, includes severance pay of one week of base salary for each six months of service and between 4 to 8 months of company-paid medical insurance benefits, based on how long each person worked at the company.

The deadline for the offer, which is limited to the editorial, sales and administration departments is December 16. The company reserves the right to reject any volunteer.

“We can’t have all the volunteers come from just one department,” Seghezzo points out.

If not enough volunteers come forward, the company will choose who they will let go by the end of the year. NY Newspaper Guild President Bill O’Meara negotiated the voluntary resignation offer with impreMedia management.

“It’s in nobody’s interest to have El Diario or impreMedia go out of business, but we have to protect the rights of our guild members,” says O’Meara. “We examined their books. We understand both El Diario and impreMedia as a whole are in a precarious financial position. We offered to work with them, but they haven’t been 100% cooperative, especially when they arbitrarily laid off guild members earlier this year.”

O’Meara refers to the 8 guild workers he claims were illegally terminated in June, violating a settlement agreement coordinated by the National Labor Relations Board after the union filed an unfair labor practice charge against ImpreMedia.

An NLRB regional director issued a letter on November 24 indicating it has found:

  • “reasonable cause to believe that Employer, through Vice President Juan Varela… threatened employees with discharge for supporting the Union”
  • impreMedia violated the union contract by firing 8 Guild employees and replacing them for non-unit employees “to perform essentially the same work”
  • impreMedia is in default of the May 9, 2014 settlement agreement with the NLRB

The NLRB has given the company until December 9 to “remedy” its default, otherwise it will issue a complaint, which will then send the case before an administrative law judge for a ruling. That will probably happen sometime early next year.

The remedy, says O’Meara, is the reinstatement of the Guild employees fired in June, should they want to return to their jobs, or a monetary settlement.

“I don’t like to see anyone lose their jobs, but unfortunately, given the financial circumstances, the new people may have to be displaced.”

If the Guild employees opt out of returning to El Diario, O’Meara says the new workers will have to be included in the bargaining unit: “The company is trying to circumvent the Guild contract by making new hires through impreMedia. But if a reporter working for impreMedia is doing the same work Guild people do and that person’s work is showing up in El Diario, then they have to be covered in the union contract.”

Seghezzo insists the company has been abiding by the terms of the contract. He categorically denies the company is involved in any union-busting actions.

“We’re trying to build a future for the company in accordance with the contracts we have with all our employees in mind, including those in the Union.”

Seghezzo says their current business plan doesn’t call for further layoffs for the rest of the year, but admits he doesn’t know if there may be the need for more cuts in future months.

impreMedia currently has about 230 employees company-wide.

The Guild contract with El Diario expires in 2015. O’Meara says negotiations are set for early next year. “I’m sure they’re going to be very difficult.”

** Disclaimer: I worked for impreMedia Digital as the West Coast Web Editor until May of 2014 and was one the employees laid off by the company. 

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Mónica Lozano steps down as CEO of impreMedia

Monica Lozano, CEO impreMedia

Mónica C. Lozano today announced she is leaving her role as CEO of impreMedia and as Publisher of La Opinión. She will, however, remain as Chair of the Board of impreMedia’s parent company, US Hispanic Media Inc.

In an email she told staff: “After almost thirty years with this great company, I have decided it is time for me to pursue other opportunities.”

impreMedia’s current Chief Operating Officer, Francisco Seghezzo, will become CEO of the company effective June 1st.

“I am forever grateful for the privilege of guiding first La Opinión and then impreMedia through some of its most important years,” shared Mónica in her farewell message.

“Over generations, our company has been defined by its unwavering commitment to producing high quality, relevant content for the Latino community and as a result we are among a very small handful of institutions that have contributed so much to its growth and empowerment.”

As chair of the board, Mónica says she will continue to participate in the strategy and direction of the company.

Mónica is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished and powerful Latinas in U.S. media. She is the granddaughter of Ignacio E. Lozano, Sr., founder of La Opinión newspaper, where she began her career in 1985. She worked her way up to become publisher in 2004. She was named CEO of impreMedia in 2010, leading the transformation of the company from a newspaper business to a multi-media, multi-platform, content company.

Francisco-Seghezzo-small

COO Francisco Seghezzo will take over as CEO on June 1, 2014.

Mónica’s influence reaches across multiple corporate boards. She sits on the board of directors at the Walt Disney Company, Bank of America Corporation, the National Council of La Raza and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

She is also a trustee at the University of Southern California and a member of the Governing Board at University of California.

In 2009, she was named to President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

In 2012, impreMedia was acquired by Argentina’s La Nación newspaper through its subsidiary, US Hispanic Media Inc.

“We thank Monica for her inspired leadership and are pleased that she will continue to be involved with impreMedia,” Seghezzo said in a statement. “Her wisdom and experience will remain integral to our ambitious plans for expanding the reach and impact of our growing array of multi-media content platforms.”

You can read a more detailed account of La Nación’s acquisition in this 2012 Poder magazine article.

 

 

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impreMedia announces restructuring

impreMedia logoIn an email to staff yesterday, impreMedia COO Francisco Seghezzo announced a restructuring of the company that includes the elimination of several finance and human resources positions in New York.

“The newspaper industry is changing very fast and impreMedia needs to adapt very quickly to be sustainable into the future,” Seghezzo told employees.

In the email, he states the company is “creating a new Finance and Planning Department that will have a greater focus on evaluating future business opportunities and supporting our strategic decision-making capabilities” and that in order to accomplish these goals, it “will hire financial analysis expertise to support the kind of innovative and strategic decision-making capabilities that our business requires to grow.”

He did not specify which positions or how many were eliminated.  But sources confirm no editorial positions were affected.

Francisco Seghezzo

Francisco Seghezzo, COO of impreMedia

During an interview with Media Moves in October of last year, Seghezzo stated that the new owners, who took over impreMedia in March of 2012, “established that in 2012 we’d focus 90% of our efforts in planning and 10% in execution and that would reverse in 2013.”

Part of last year’s restructuring included the elimination of some corporate management positions and the division of the company into three new business units.

Media Moves contacted Seghezzo to get more details on the restructure.  While he didn’t say how many positions were eliminated, he wrote:

“We’re committed to making the company grow by improving our products and developing new digital and print products.  We also need to increase audience engagement.  We want to provide increased value for our audience and advertisers.  In order to accomplish this, we need a structure and resources that will allow us to innovate, test, measure and learn.”

 

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Exclusive: impreMedia’s Seghezzo says new hires, English content in future plans

Francisco Seghezzo

Francisco Seghezzo, COO of impreMedia

It has been a little over six months since Argentina’s La Nación newspaper company bought and took over operations of impreMedia for an undisclosed amount in March of this year.  The Argentinian company, through its newly created subsidiary US Hispanic Media Inc. (USHM), acquired 90 percent of impreMedia and senior debt holders GE Capital and Goldman Sachs kept the remaining 10 percent.  You can read more details about the takeover in my article on Poder magazine.

Since their arrival, the new owners have focused on identifying problems and reorganizing the company.  To accomplish the task, USHM named Francisco Seghezzo, COO of impreMedia in April. After an initial evaluation, the former corporate planning director of La Nación in June eliminated some corporate management positions, including Ginger Neal, SVP Digital and Steve Bentz, Chief Revenue Officer.  Among the early changes, he divided the company into three new business units – West, East and Digital – to streamline the functionality of impreMedia’s assets by geographic area to act quickly and focus on local companies.

After six months in charge, I spoke again with Seghezzo to get his assessment on the company’s current situation.  Here’s a portion of the exclusive interview, where he reveals plans to increase circulation, staff and production of English content:

MM: What’s your current evaluation of the company after your first 6 months in charge?

FS: When we came in we established that in 2012 we’d focus 90% of our efforts in planning and 10% in execution and that would reverse in 2013. In the planning process we’ve identified an important number of opportunities based on the assets, important audiences and brands that we have.

The planning process has taken us a lot longer than we anticipated – adjusting the ideas to the execution and market characteristics – but we think we have interesting projects that will increase circulation in all our papers and the visibility our digital Enterprise. We have advanced in renovating the structure and developing circulation tactics that are focused on distribution logistics.

We’ve taken several actions to boost circulation and improve points of sale. We’re also developing other consumer incentives that we’ll begin in November.  We have yet to launch our best initiatives, including an adjustment in the distribution outlets.

We’re also implementing a change in structure and focus of our digital enterprise.  Our team is almost complete.  We’re trying to add other digital inventories to our network and we’re poised to see an increase in traffic and sales in 2013.

MM: Earlier this year you said you would increase circulation of the dailies, which had undergone severe cuts with the previous management. Have you started the process?

FS: We’ve increased La Opinión’s circulation by a daily 3,500 copies, which reinforces that the brand is strong. We are currently reviewing all the weeklies and we’ll probably be increasing circulation for some of them. We have competitors in all the regions and we want to strengthen our coverage.

We think there’s an opportunity in each market.  The potential we have in national coverage of our print properties is not being taken advantage of.  In order to highlight that we have an important national coverage, we can increase circulation of our weeklies as well as our paid dailies.

MM: Has your online audience grown in the first six months since USHM took over impreMedia?

FS:  impreMedia properties have 2 million total unique visits per month – that number has been pretty stable.  What we have seen is an increase in return visitors and page views.  We’ve also been working with other indicators.  People are coming to us through direct visits, not Google search.  They’re typing our property addresses and the bounce rate has improved.

We’ve worked on the digital front to fix things.  We’ve improved the text links. That has allowed us to see more pages viewed and increased visit duration. We’ve also refined story headlines to get better search rankings. We’ve streamlined the commercial structure.  We’re working on content and the overall product, focusing on the design and navegability of the sites.

MM: With census numbers showing there are increasingly more U.S. born Hispanics that are more comfortable speaking English, do you still envision viability and profitability in Spanish-language publications? 

FS: We’re very much aware of the numbers and the probability that a large percentage of Hispanics prefer English.  That’s helped us come up with three visions on the development of future projects.  Our print properties will continue to be in Spanish, but we eventually plan to launch an English version.  For the time being, we don’t believe in publishing a bilingual product.

Down the line, we plan to launch some products that will accompany the paper, like special collectable sections that could be bilingual.  But they would be written in English and Spanish – they wouldn’t be translations.  The same goes for online.  The websites would be in both languages – and not simple translations, because that doesn’t work.

We will be an English digital site at some point, but we need the structure to generate content.  We will begin gradually experimenting with English content online starting in the second half of 2013.  We’ll probably begin with Vista magazine or a weekly.  We may be able to get all our sites in English by 2014.

In terms of the newspapers, we will remain focused on Spanish.  If we were to consider doing English content, it would be another paper.

Even if the census shows there are 50 million Hispanics, they’re not all Spanish-language speakers. We estimate that to be a market segment of 10 million, which is still very enticing. There’s probably another 15 million that may be attracted to our products from a cultural perspective.

While we’re conceptually evaluating the English option, we have yet to see whether the English-speaking Hispanic market would be interested in a targeted publication or if we would be competing with the established mainstream English media.

MM: Hoy NY online seems to be abandoned. What are the plans with that site? 

FS: This is a brand that we have not focused on at all.  We’re still evaluating whether there’s any value that can be rescued from that site. We haven’t seriously considered if we should even relaunch the site.

MM: In the past few years, impreMedia has done a series of major layoffs in its properties. La Opinión, for example, had more than 100 people in its editorial department in 2004.  That number has dropped to 34. You’ve said you want to increase coverage. How do you plan to do that with your current staff levels?

FS:  We plan to add personnel to our newsrooms.  We’re going to add 3 to 5 people in each paper and in our digital content department.  Part of the plan to improve circulation is to focus on experts and specific topics that we think will help us increase our audience – such as sports, entertainment and local news that focus on people’s interests and that can help them in their day to day lives.  We’ll also highlight local soccer tournaments.  We’ll also launch collectable supplements that will be fixed sections of the paper.

We want to produce unique content and will work to that end.

MM: For the past several years the newspaper design of the impreMedia properties was outsourced to Mexico.  Are there plans to return that portion of the work back to the U.S.?

The outsourcing of editorial and commercial operations happened before we arrived. We brought it back to the U.S. as part of our strategy, because it has a lot to do with our finished product and we wanted to have original designs.  An outside company continues to do a portion of our commercial ads, but we will eventually bring everything back in-house.

MM: Do you think you’ll be able to improve the monetization of your websites?

It is a big challenge. The digital sites have a very different competitive environment. Paper brands have always been a relevant factor when getting advertisers. But it’s not the same for a digital brand, which remains undervalued.

What we’re trying to do is improve our sales force to sell our value proposition.  We’re working with networks and other sites to get better coverage.  We believe we will be able to better monetize our sites. Digital newspapers haven’t evolved like print publications.  The business has other margins, but also other possibilities.

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Argentina’s La Nación takes over impreMedia

Monica Lozano will remain as impreMedia CEO.

After weeks of rumors, impreMedia today announced that US Hispanic Media Inc. (USHM), a subsidiary of Argentina’s S.A. La Nación, has reached an agreement to become the strategic and controlling shareholder of the Hispanic online and newspaper company.

Monica Lozano will remain CEO of impreMedia. Other company managers will also stay. The editorial content will continue under the direction and control of impreMedia’s newsroom staff.

Francisco Seghezzo, former Corporate Planning Director of S.A. La Nación, will join impreMedia as COO.

Francisco Seghezzo will be impreMedia's COO.

According to a press release, “this agreement will enable impreMedia to accelerate its transformation into a robust multimedia company by combining impreMedia’s knowledge of and access to the U.S. Hispanic market with USHM and La Nación’s know-how and successful track record across print and online media platforms in Latin America.”

impreMedia’s leading publications include:  La Opinión in Los Angeles and El Diario La Prensa in New York.

S.A. La Nacion the newspaper La Nación. Its operations include publishing magazines and managing news and information websites. Its subsidiary Dridco runs online classified websites for jobs, real estate and cars in Latin America and Spain. Its consolidated revenue reaches $250 MM per year and it employs 1,500 people in all its companies.

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Veronica Villafañe, Editor and Publisher



I'm an Emmy award-winning journalist, who's worked as an on-air reporter in Spanish and English-language television news. I've worked for Univision, Telemundo, CNN en Español and Los Angeles Fox and UPN stations before diving into a convergence model at the San Jose Mercury News. I was president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists from 2004 to 2006, and inducted into the Hall of Fame in August of 2016. As an online news manager, I was West Coast Web Editor for impreMedia and Managing Editor of IntersectionsSouthLA.org. In addition to running Media Moves, which I founded in June of 2007, I'm a regular contributor to Forbes and also do freelance work as writer, reporter and producer.
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