Thomas Rogers: A Webmaster For Old Media

Back to the future? On Sept. 27, NBC Cable President Thomas Rogers was named chairman and CEO of Primedia, the publishing group backed by buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. At NBC, Rogers was known for creating MSNBC and CNBC and pushing the network onto the Web. So what is he doing heading into Old Media at a time when most executives are stampeding to New Media and Internet startups? "I like traditional media assets," Rogers says. "I believe in using their brands to build new assets."

At Primedia, Rogers inherits a diverse roster of publishing titles assembled by departed Chairman William Reilly, ranging from apartment-hunting guides to New York and Seventeen magazines. It's easy to see why KKR's Henry Kravis sought out a CEO who could give Primedia a little Web magic: Recently its stock was trading barely above its 1995 IPO price. To juice it up, Rogers has to figure out how to extend it online. It may not be the next Yahoo!, but the company has nowhere to go but up.

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