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What does a media company do when the guy that it’s named after isn’t running the show anymore? The business newsletter writers/event organizers at Washington’s Bisnow are about to find out, with CEO and co-founder Mark Bisnow announcing in an email to employees today that he’s stepping down from the top spot.

“I will be assuming the less frenetic role of Chairman, aka First Banana Emeritus,” writes Bisnow. Current COO Ryan Begelman will take Bisnow’s CEO spot, while son and extreme sports conference organizer Elliott Bisnow is becoming the company’s vice-chairman.

Bisnow’s name was an appropriate one for a company that sells business news, and it also inspired the pictured sign at the company’s office.

Bisnow’s full memo:

Esteemed colleagues:

As we enjoy a warming and budding April, 2013, I couldn’t be more excited about where we are.

Our revenues continued to grow rapidly in 2012 on not much more headcount than the previous year. We are recruiting top personnel. We continue opening new cities. We publish 50 newsletters a week. We’ve developed a substantial office presence in New York, putting us at the heart of the real estate and publishing industries.

Our brand—fun, informative, timely information and interaction—is strong across the United States. 60,000 executives a year attend our events in 23 major American metros. Hundreds of thousands read us. Equally striking, we are poised with incredible new products like Escape, multi-day events, and nationally-oriented editions, to expand our reach and continue our remarkable growth.

Most of all, we are tangibly achieving the idealistic mission we set out on: changing the way business does business. Through our publications and events, we believe we are bringing business communities closer together, making business news and professional development easier and livelier, and helping more business get done.

But instead of resting on our laurels, we seek new challenges. We have so much more to offer, and to achieve—for our company’s success, for your fulfillment, and to benefit the world of business.

This seems like precisely the time to show my confidence in the next generation of leadership.

(Forgive me if this is sounding like a State of the Union—I used to write for politicians.)


So I’m delighted to tell you that, effective today, I’m naming Ryan as CEO and Elliott as Vice Chairman. Doug will continue as President.

These are my way cooler (and somewhat younger) colleagues, so enormously smart, visionary, and passionate, who will take Bisnow Media to a dramatic new level.

Ryan has worked tirelessly and brilliantly for over four years as COO to re-invent and expand our company. There is not a nook or cranny he does not want to explore and improve, or a jumble he does not want to organize into a beautiful system. He has recruited many of you, and patiently imparted or polished your skills. (In some exceptional cases, he has even succeeded in having you briefly clean your workspace.)

Elliott not only helped create our original templates, brand, and momentum, but has remained a regular advisor on strategy, even has as he has helped forge an astonishing new organization, Summit, that is helping celebrate and channel the energy, intelligence, and idealism of 21st century entrepreneurs. Together, Ryan and Elliott have been cooking up so many new ideas for us, I have already forgotten most of them.

Doug and Aram have been our institutional memory and spectacular front-line commanders ever since they started as the first (non-family) employees of the company; Doug will focus his efforts on national events, growing our DC footprint, and overall business strategy. And a shout-out to Mounir, who has also been on board from nearly the beginning keeping our tech engine humming. Plus we have a breathtaking cadre of other battle-tested vets, some of whom are as old as 29. (Okay, Joni, Jax, and Sibley might be 30. And Mazz will soon be 16.)

For my part, thankfully after nine years of working 25 hour days at this, I will be assuming the less frenetic role of Chairman, aka First Banana Emeritus. I will still be on duty full-time, and hope to keep seeing you all as I keep running around to events, representing us to the world, but also going back to my roots to work more on editorial, new products, relationships, and strategy.

Thank you for your wondrous work and spirit. With your help, we are on a path to becoming a national model for creative young companies.

All a way of saying: As far as we’ve come, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. And you will all be an integral part.


Photo by Jessica Sidman