Upcoming changes at indieWIRE will involve more than just a new face to replace outgoing founder and editor-in-chief Eugene Hernandez, said Rick Allen, the CEO of indieWIRE and its parent company, SnagFilms.
“When you have an editor-in-chief move on, you always say, ‘Okay, how do we want to structure this?’” Allen told theWrap on Thursday night. “And we’re at a point where structurally we’ve got both the resources and the need to deepen our organization.”
Allen said that he has had conversations with iW bloggers Anne Thompson, Todd McCarthy, Leonard Maltin and Peter Bogdanovich about changes in the wake of the departure of Hernandez, who will become the new director of digital strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
“I hate to use a political phrase, but I think it’s time for me to go on a listening tour,” said Allen, whose SnagFilms bought indieWIRE two years ago and oversaw a period of growth and expansion (including the additions of Thompson, McCarthy, Bogdanovich and Maltin) in the site, which will soon become part of the Starbucks Digital Network.
Allen promised “a bunch of other growth announcements” in the coming weeks, as indieWIRE launches its search for a new editor-in-chief. The CEO said he began hearing from candidates as soon as the news spread that Hernandez was leaving.
“I got a bunch of emails and resumes today, some of them from spectacular folks,” he said. “We’re going to conduct a very thoughtful search process with both internal and external candidates – but I don’t feel under extreme pressure, because Eugene will be with us through the end of October.
“Replacing a founder is incredibly tough, so we’ll take as much time as we need to find the right candidate.”
Allen, however, dismissed the notion that Hernandez’s departure would a significant blow to indieWIRE.
“I think that’s hyperbolic,” he said. “Eugene is a unique talent and a close friend, and more than any other human being, he’s responsible for what indieWIRE is. Are we going to miss him? Absolutely. But to call it a blow suggests that you’re knocked down, and we don’t look at it that way.
“And this is an organization that bears Eugene’s DNA. I don’t think he would have taken the position if he thought it would damage indieWIRE.”
Hernandez, Allen added, will be involved in the search for a successor during his final month on the job – and will remain in touch with the company he founded 15 years ago even after he moves uptown.
“What ends is his being the editor-in-chief of indieWIRE,” said Allen. “But I expect he’s going to be a counselor, a friend, an ally and a partner in his new job.”