A Different Kind of CEO

By Smith, Soneni | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, August 1, 1990 | Go to article overview

A Different Kind of CEO


Smith, Soneni, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


BOULDER, COLO.-HOW often on a job do you get a chance to appoint yourself editor, director or, better yet, president? Then, once you're settled in, your boss asks you to quit. Yes, quit. That's what publisher and entrepreneur Doug Greene does to keep his energetic, 60-person staff on its toes and involved in the decision-making at New Hope Communications, Boulder, Colorado.

Breaking the rules

Greene, a self-styled rebel, says that, to do things better, you sometimes have to break all the rules of the past. His quit-your-job ploy is a motivational tool, of course, but staffers really do make up their own job titles and change them-and sometimes their actual jobs, too-at staff meetings. Greene is the Ceo-but at unconventional New Hope, that title stands for Chief Environmental Officer: "I have the job of making sure there is a good bottom line environment, a good corporate environment and a good market environment," says 40-year-old Greene. "I don't want to run a prison for people; I want to run a playground." When people like their jobs, they're "committed and take responsibility."

Greene, a Gralla sales veteran, started his company in 1975, while living in Los Angeles. By the time he was 30 years old, he was a full-fledged publisher operating out of New Hope, Pennsylvania-hence the name New Hope Communications. But the East wasn't kind to his fledgling operation. A high cost of living, hefty salaries and a shallow labor pool drove up operating costs. So Greene sought more fertile pastures. "It was an 18-month process. We settled on Boulder because we feel it is the lifestyle capital of America," he says. He also found a large labor pool of interesting, creative, talented people-who are interested in health and fitness. (Greene, himself, is up at 5:30 AM every day doing exercises.) Once he made the move to Boulder, New Hope Communications boomed.

Greene's company publishes two business magazines and one consumer publication, all controlled circulation, and sponsors one of the leading trade shows in its category.

New Hope targets two distinct publishing niches. Monthly Natural Foods Merchandiser promotes nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, Greene says. Its circulation is 14,000, with about half (7,241) natural-foods retailers. Expansion Management, with a circulation of 32,000, is a bimonthly economic development trade publication that covers job growth and corporate mobility. Certain-issues carry inserts that profile business opportunities in France, Germany and the U.K. The recent U.K. insert reaped $60,000 in ad revenue, says Greene. …

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