ALM today announced a new executive to lead its global events, three weeks after the departure of the former leader, who left his position just five days after the end of the annual Legalweek/Legaltech conference in New York.
Named today as ALM’s chief financial officer and president of events is Mark Fried, who was formerly president and CEO of Vendome Group, a media and conference company serving healthcare and real estate professionals.
The former head of ALM’s global events, John Stuttard, left the company five days after the conclusion of the Legalweek conference.
At the time, an ALM spokesperson told me that his departure had nothing to do with the results of this year’s conference, and that it would be obvious why he left once his replacement was named.
Fried had been president of Vendome Group since 2006, where his oversight included magazines and related websites with combined circulation of more than 500,000 and six conferences that attracted more than 8,000 attendees, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He previously worked as a publisher for Wolters Kluwer in the UK and for Aspen Publishers until Wolters Kluwer acquired it.
“Mark’s background as a media sector CEO is perfect for our finance and events teams given the stage of our business evolution,” Bill Carter, president and CEO of ALM Media, said in a press release. “His experience working with investors and key financial stakeholders will help us communicate externally while leading the finance function internally. On the events front, Mark’s history of running a business with a large professional services events portfolio makes him a natural fit for that aspect of his role at ALM.”
I spoke briefly this morning with Fried, who, unlike Stuttard, will be ALM’s CFO as well as president of global events. He will spend half his time working on events and half his time on working with the heads of ALM’s various business units to develop better KPIs and financial reporting.
He has not yet had time to assess the Legalweek conference or any other ALM conference, he said. But what makes an event successful, he believes, is a clear strategy and identification of the target market, and then clearly articulating the value proposition for attendees, sponsors and exhibitors.
All of that needs to be done far enough in advance — at least 12-18 months before the event — that there is at least five months to market it to attendees and longer for sales to exhibitors and sponsors.
Fried believes that it is critical for a media company such as ALM to include editorial staff in program development.
“Editorial is your outreach to your market,” he said. “They are the ones who are closest to your delegates and your subscribers. I feel that going forward, editorial involvement in conference planning is critical to the success and growth of the events.”
ALM produces 80 events a year in locations around the world.