John Battelle Returns As CEO At Federated Media, Deanna Brown Steps Down

Online advertising company Federated Media just announced that current CEO Deanna Brown is stepping down, while founder and former CEO John Battelle will be taking on the role again.

The company says that Battelle and Brown will be working together during March “to ensure a seamless transition.” Brown joined Federated in 2009 as president and chief operating officer, and replaced Battelle as CEO a little more than a year later.

Brown said in the press release that she’ll be announcing a new venture in a couple of weeks.

In a post on his own blog, Battelle offers more details on the decision. He says that Brown told him earlier this year that she wanted to work on “something smaller and more directly related to content creation,” and they discussed possible replacements:

And then it hit me – quite literally in mid-sentence while on a Board call. Why the hell don’t I simply step back in? I love this company, I am passionate about the Independent Web, and to be honest, I see a huge opportunity in front of us. What am I, nuts? Why didn’t I think of it the moment Deanna told me of her decision?

Battelle notes that he stepped back from a day-to-day role at FM (he was still involved as chairman) to focus writing a book and running conferences like the Web 2.0 Summit. He’s still going to work on those outside projects, but he says he’s going to bringing on a co-author for the book and hiring someone to work full-time on the conferences.

Federated Media started out as an ad network for blogs (in fact, it was TechCrunch’s main ad partner during the site’s early years), and while it still runs standard ads on the network, over time it has placed a bigger emphasis on custom campaigns and “conversational marketing.” As for where FM goes from here, Battelle says it’s still his “first love” and “at the height of its running narrative”:

I am utterly convinced that the media company of tomorrow will have both a technology-driven programmatic foundation, as well as the ability to execute bespoke, beautiful ideas on behalf of the entire media ecosystem – creators, marketers, and communities. When you bring the scale and precision of data-driven platforms to the brilliance of great media executions, magic will happen. Delivering on that vision for the Independent Web is the mission of Federated Media Publishing.