CEO Cella Irvine Out at About.com

By Steve Smith
05/11/2011

The New York Times announced to staff late yesterday (May 10) that Cella Irvine, CEO of the company’s About.com network of informational sites is leaving and being replaced by Martin A. Nisenholtz, longtime SVP of digital operations. Irvine had been struggling to turn around About.com revenue declines in recent years. She arrived in the post right before the worldwide financial collapse. But even during the economic recovery and boom times for digital advertising generally, About.com has seen its traffic fall and revenue drop (10.2% in Q1 2011, the Times reports). A Times story this morning quotes Nisenholtz in a memo to staff saying that the change is an attempt “to renew efforts to help the About Group tackle the pressures of a competitive and evolving marketplace.”

Irvine came to About.com in 2008 from ad agency Digitas. She started her digital career at the Microsoft local media project Sidewalk. At About.com, Irvine tried to broaden the range of ad formats and marketing partnerships the company maintained with marketers. The company issued research about consumer attitudes across a range of segments as the company tried to position itself among advertisers as a source of consumer feedback. Irvine has also been a Minsider columnist here at minonline.