DorobekInsider: Leadership changes at Government Executive – Dunie takes the reins, Vito shifts to strategy

Curiously timed for the pre-Fourth of July week — and a week when the DorobekInsider was out of town — the Government Executive Media Group announced that long time president and group publisher, Steve Vito, is shifting to from his operational rule to a morestrategic one. His new title, effective immediately, is executive director for strategic development.

From the release:

In this new role, Mr. Vito will work closely with Matt Dunie, who will assume the title of President, in strategic planning and business development of Government Executive Media Group.

I should note that I spoke to Steve Vito and he says he is just fine, thank you very much, and he had nothing but positive things to say about Atlantic Media, Government Executive, and the team. And he stressed that the changes are his decision.


That being said, it seems to be somewhat significant change and has many people peering into the tea leaves.

As the DorobekInsider told you earlier, Dunie joined Government Executive in April — and, as I reported even then, many people were surprised that Vito was reporting to Dunie. That has nothing to do with Dunie. Most people don’t really know him — and that is the point. Vito is well know — and very well respected — in the government market. Speaking personally, I am a huge Vito fan — and I think he has been an elegant leader in a very difficult time for media –particularly for print. And a very interesting time in the government trade press market.

Vito has led Government Executive when 1105 Media’s Federal Computer Week purchased Government Computer News. It was a merger that, in our world, was — and maybe still is — of epic proportions. Government Executive was suddenly a underdog. But in some ways, Government Executive has actually flourished. Vito gets some of the credit, but the forces of the market have also been a significant player. In the end, markets tend to like competition.

But Vito has also made some keen decisions. A key one was to reduce the focus — and dependency — on print, and, by extension, increase theorganization’s online focus. Government Executive has wisely reduced its print frequency — Government Executive magazine is now essentially a monthly — but the group hassignificantly stepped up its online coverage both on, but Vito also hired former FCW editor in chief Allan Holmes to create, to focus on government IT. (When I was at FCW, we were often frustrating that Government Executive magazine would have IT advertisers when, at the time, they didn’t even have a technology reporter.)NextGov has certainly evolved over time, and there still aren’t nearly the cross connections between the GovExec and NextGov Web sites, but NextGov is undoubetedly a player. I don’t know if it is profitable, but… it’s a player.

Another key move: Hiring Bob Brewin. A few years ago, Vito hired Brewin from FCW — from me! Brewin had been FCW’s long-time DOD reporter and was famous — perhaps infamous — for his Intercepts column. Brewin now pens NextGov’s What’s Brewin ‘don’t call it a blog’ blog. (An inside joke — Brewin is adamant that he isn’t a blogger. I keep arguing that if it reads like a blog…) Like him or dislike him — and there are many on both sides of that equation — Brewin is a joy to read and it was a great hire. And I hear he gets great traffic even despite that NextGov still doesn’t highlight him enough.

So this move leaves many people reading the tea leaves of these moves by David Bradley, the chairman of Atlantic Media Company, which owns Government Executive. Bradley, of course, is extremely influential and is widely regarded as one of the smartest publishers around. As I mentioned earlier, there had been word that Bradley had been trying to sell Government Executive. It is unclear if that is still the plan. Insiders tell me Bradley has said he isn’t looking to sell Government Executive. And, of course, if he were to sell it, are there buyers? We are still awaiting the official word onCongressional Quarterly, but, as the DorobekInsider reported earlier, we hear that final details are being worked out on the sale of Congressional Quarterly to the Economist Group. But observers believe that there the Economist Group was essentially the only real bidder… and that CQ sold for less then expected. We will probably never know the specifics, but… Many publishers — even giants like IDG, the publisher of Computerworld, CIO magazine and other publications — are still struggling right now.

There is still a notion of creating non-advertising revenue streams. 1105 Media was shrewd in its buy (PDF doc) of the Federal Employee News Digest (FEND), which is a paid newsletter for feds. And some have speculated that Dunie’s assignment is to find other ways of generating revenue that are not advertising based.

A slight aside: I was interested to see Bradley staunchly defend public policy salon type dinners, which have sponsors and therefore bring in revenue. (Hat tip: MediaBisto’s FishbowlDC)

The Dunie-Vito moves do have people talking. Most people believe this is just a turn of a page and that the chapter has yet to be written.

Below is the full release from Atlantic Media’s Government Executive Group:

Steve Vito to Focus on Strategic Development for Government Executive Media Group

Responsibilities Shift from Operational to Strategic

WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire/ — Government Executive Media Group announced today that Steve Vito, President and Group Publisher, will transition his role from an operational one to a strategic one. Mr. Vito joined Government Executive in April ‘99 and has been president and group publisher since January ‘07. Effective immediately his title will be Executive Director, Strategic Development. In this new role, Mr. Vito will work closely with Matt Dunie, who will assume the title of President, in strategic planning and business development of Government Executive Media Group.

“Our brands are stronger than at any point in our 40 year history. When I joined in 1999, our business consisted of a monthly magazine, one conference, and a relatively new web site. We reached about 60,000 federal executives. Since then, we’ve expanded and diversified dramatically. Today, we offer products across most forms of media and each month we reach about 500,000 end-users in government and the contractor community,” said Vito. In addition to Government Executive, the monthly magazine, Government Executive Media Group has two web sites, and, produces over 70 live and online events annually, and started a fast growing research group, Government Business Council.

Vito continued, “With the media industry at an inflection point, now is the ideal time to pass on the operational control to a successor and focus my efforts on working with Matt and the other managers in the development of new media products.” Mr. Vito will continue to represent Government Executive Media Group at events and with industry organizations.

Matt Dunie joined Government Executive Media Group in March ‘09. He was the President of Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA) from 2000 to 2007 when the company acquired ProQuest to form ProQuest-CSA. Under Matt’s leadership, CSA grew its revenues ten-fold through acquisitions and organic growth. At the time of his departure, the newly formed ProQuest grew to a 1,200 person global information services company.

“Steve has been a hero in this enterprise. It’s great that he will now concentrate on our strategy going forward. He is an exceptional talent,” said David Bradley, Chairman of Atlantic Media, the parent company of Government Executive Media Group.

“Matt brings a wealth of experience in different areas of publishing that we didn’t have. I am excited about working alongside of him in turning our strategy into reality for our group. I will remain firmly engaged here as we plan and implement the next phase of our growth,” said Vito.

About Government Executive Media Group
Government Executive Media Group, a division of Atlantic Media Company, is the premier media resource for federal managers. The magazine and related online, event and research properties cover the entire spectrum of management challenges confronting federal executives in civilian and defense agencies. Government Executive Media Group recently introduced, an interactive online home for the federal IT community. For more information about Government Executive Media Group, visit

Contact: Will Colston
Source: Government Executive Media Group