William Baldwin, one of the highest-ranking editorial staffers on the Forbes masthead, who’s basically been editing the magazine since 1999 (Steve Forbes has the title of editor-in-chief), announced today that he’s, well, transitioning to a new role.In a memo to staff, Baldwin wrote:
“After 11 years editing the magazine I am moving to a new position at Forbes, as a writer, with the title investment strategies editor. I’ll be writing a monthly column, blog commentary and the occasional feature.”
Sounds kind of like a huge demotion, no?
It also raises the question of who exactly is in charge of editing the magazine. When Lewis D’Vorkin came on board as chief product officer in charge of “all editorial areas” as part of Forbes’ acquisition of D’Vorkin’s freelance blogging website True/Slant, he was installed above Baldwin.
Does that mean he’ll now also be the one vetting stories and shaping the magazine’s content day to day?
CNBC’s Dennis Kneale, Forbes’ former managing editor, is weighing in on Twitter:
“forbes without bill baldwin–11 years its top editor, 20-plus years at the mag–will present a challenge: what’s it really about?”
Also: “i don’t blame baldwin for stepping down to write: his former #2 before i got there–lew dvorkin–was just named baldwin’s boss. ouch.”
We have an email out to Baldwin and a call out to Forbes and will update as we hear more.
UPDATE 2:15 p.m. – Steve Forbes just issued a statement. Via Romenesko:
This morning Bill Baldwin told his editorial colleagues that he was stepping down as Editor of Forbes magazine, a post that he has held since 1999. In his new role, effective September 1, Bill will be a contributor, columnist and blogger, with the title Investment Strategies Editor. His story subjects will be the ones to which he has recently devoted his Sidelines column: taxes, asset allocation, money managers and investment products.
With a handful of other individuals such as Jim Michaels, Bill Baldwin played a critical part in making Forbes a unique, formidable force in American journalism. He has been a superb editor of Forbes: readership of our magazine is at an all-time high. He has an insightful knack for spotting talent and he has been a restless innovator. For example he was an early and constant advocate of Forbes going online and pouring in the resources that have made the website the premium destination for business people. He also has an incredible eye for detail, which didn’t always make him popular with subjects of Forbes articles. Financial institutions, for instance, hated it when the magazine exposed products that hurt investors with too-high, oft-hidden fees. Thanks to Bill’s advocacy for our statistical department, Forbes has data analysis skills our competition lacks.
In his new role Bill will continue to be appear on Forbes on Fox and other television shows and will be a participant at conferences and other events.
My siblings, our colleagues here at Forbes and I are deeply grateful for the extraordinary devotion and outstanding service Bill has given to Forbes and more fundamentally to Forbes Media audiences.
And we are delighted he will continue to enrich the Forbes editorial product.
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