Variety, now owned by Penske Media Corporation, showed publisher Brian Gott the door and promoted Michelle Sobrino-Stearns to publisher
Variety promoted Michelle Sobrino-Stearns to publisher on Thursday as Brian Gott affected his long-arranged exit in the first major change since Jay Penske bought the trade paper nearly two weeks ago.
No news was forthcoming about a new editor in chief.
Penske, who bought the paper for $25 million, announced last week at a town-hall-style meeting with the Variety staff that he planned to tear down the paywall. That will pit Variety against other savvy digital competitors like TheWrap, the Hollywood Reporter and, now, its corporate sister Deadline.
Sobrino-Stearns, who previously served as the paper's associate publisher, is Variety's first female publisher. TheWrap and the Reporter already have women in the position — Stacey Farish and Lynne Segall, respectively.
"After experiencing Michelle's determination, smarts, integrity, and love for the Variety brand, I couldn't be happier to nominate Michelle to this role-a role no other woman has ever occupied at Variety's 107 years," Penske said in a statement to TheWrap. "As you know, she started as a sales director over 15 years ago and has risen to the associate publisher, and now will lead this organization through its next chapter of digital growth and expansion."
He also suggested that the parting with Gott was amicable and said he plans "to work closely with Brian on our philanthropic initiatives … for years to come."
The 33-year-old media scion said at the meeting that he plans to keep the two trade publications as separate brands, and had Deadline's Dominic Patten hauled away from the private meeting by security guards.
TheWrap previously reported that Nikki Finke, Deadline's volatile editor and scoop-machine, would have no immediate role. Finke did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Insiders had told TheWrap that tension had arisen between Penske Media Chairman and CEO Jay Penske and Finke because he would not give her a role running the trade.
Updated at 5:41 p.m. PST with statements from Penske.