SHOCKER: Charlie Koones Exits Variety

I just got off the phone with Charlie who laughed when I asked if this was another one of those “I’m leaving to spend more time with my family” job exits. “While I adore my family, this isn’t about that. And though I just turned 45, it’s not a premature mid-life crisis either,” said the president and publisher of Variety and Reed Business Entertainment Group since 2000. “I’ve stayed here for 17 years because I’ve been able to do new things. But now I’ve done what I can do here. It’s my time to find private equity or venture capital and find a business and be an entrepreneur. I couldn’t be more excited.”

While I’ve had my differences with Variety as a publication, Koones is a real gentleman and Hollywood will miss him when he leaves March 1. Taking his place as president and publisher is Neil Stiles, currently division managing director for Reed Business. Koones started with Variety in ad sales in NYC. When Daily Variety and Weekly Variety were put together, he was brought to Los Angeles to run marketing. He helped get Variety into the special issues business, then took over sales and marketing. In 1998, he launched and also the Gotham edition. In addition to his present position, he has portfolio responsibility over Marketcast, the marketing research company he acquired for Reed in 1999 to compete with NRG.

What I wanna know is, why was the announcement of his leaving so devoid of the usual platitudes? Heck, there was barely a quote from Reed Business boss Tad Smith.

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