James Heckman resigns as Maven CEO after tumultuous run leading Sports Illustrated publisher – GeekWire
Maven has a new leader.
James Heckman, CEO and founder of the Seattle-based media company that publishes Sports Illustrated, announced his resignation Wednesday. He will be replaced by Ross Levinsohn, currently the CEO of Sports Illustrated media. Heckman will “continue his entrepreneurial role with the company, focusing on key strategic and business development initiatives,” according to a SEC filing.
“The vision of this company has reached an inflection point; now empowering professional brands, at major media scale, with world-class digital technology, distribution and monetization,” Heckman said in a statement.
Heckman previously founded Rivals.com and is a former Yahoo executive. He launched Maven in 2017. The Seattle company made headlines nationally after purchasing publishing rights to SI last year.
Levinsohn is also an ex-Yahoo leader and the former publisher of the Los Angeles Times. He left the newspaper in 2018 following allegations of inappropriate conduct at previous companies.
Maven has had a tumultuous run as SI’s publisher under Heckman’s leadership. Layoffs at the venerable sports magazine in October drew criticism from employees and unions; the company did another round of job cuts in March. Maven was also in the spotlight earlier this year following the firing of longtime soccer journalist Grant Wahl after he criticized its handling of job cuts and salary reductions amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Maven is currently being sued by Meredith Corp., the former owner of Sports Illustrated.
Licensing firm Authentic Brands Group, which bought SI in May 2019 from Meredith, sold the magazine’s print and digital publishing rights to Maven.
A publicly-traded company, Maven has a coalition of more than 300 brands, including History, Maxim, Yoga Journal, SKI Magazine, and others. It purchased finance media company TheStreet in 2019.
Maven also said Wednesday that it landed an undisclosed amount of new funding. A recent SEC filing shows an additional $2.7 million in new capital raised.
Maven raised $20 million in October. It landed a $5.7 million loan from the federal government as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.