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Fast Company Appoints John Byrne as Editor in Chief

From: Dan Rubin, Executive Vice President, G+J USA
Sent: Friday, April 4, 2003 11:59 AM
To: ALL G+J EMPLOYEES
Subject: G+J USA Announcement

I'm pleased to announce the appointment of John A. Byrne to the position of editor in chief of Fast Company magazine. Byrne, a well-respected journalist and author, was most recently a senior writer at Business Week in New York. He is the author of 57 cover stories at the magazine and eight books on business, leadership and management. Byrne will begin April 28 and report directly to Gruner + Jahr USA's President and CEO, Daniel B. Brewster, Jr.

John truly understands the DNA of Fast Company and is the perfect person for the job. In fact, he was approached by co-founding editors Alan Webber and William Taylor to be part of the team that developed the original prototype. John understands the history of this magazine and its entire reason for being. He'll be able to take a fresh look at Fast Company with the perspective of a great business journalist.

As Byrne has stated: "I'm delighted and honored to take on this terrific challenge. Alan and Bill created a unique magazine that is deeply engaged with its readers. That's why Fast Company is the fastest growing business magazine ever and why it earned a pair of National Magazine Awards. I want to build on that remarkable achievement and make the magazine absolutely indispensable to a new generation of business leaders."

Comments founding editor Alan Webber: "John is no stranger to Fast Company's journey. Nearly 10 years ago, when we were just starting out, John was literally the first person we asked to join our team. We knew that he was a natural fit for this magazine and the ideas it stands for. It may have taken us nearly a decade, but we finally got our man. Fast Company is truly in good hands with John as the editor in chief."

Says founding editor William Taylor, "John Byrne is the ideal person to lead Fast Company into its next stage of growth and prosperity. He's got unsurpassed credentials when it comes to identifying and explaining important business ideas. He believes in what Fast Company stands for-and he has the experience and vision to take it to a whole new level."

During his tenure at Business Week, Byrne's articles have explored the fairness of executive pay, the folly of management fads and the governance of major corporations. Byrne also is the creator of Business Week's ranking of the best business schools (which was launched in 1988), the best and worst boards of directors in America (which first appeared in 1996) and its listing of the nation's most generous philanthropists (which first appeared in 2002). He is a frequent commentator on television, having appeared on CNN's Moneyline and CNBC's Squawk Box and Business Center.

Byrne's last book, published Sept. 11, 2001, by Warner Books, is Jack: Straight from the Gut, the highly anticipated collaboration with former General Electric Co. Chairman and CEO Jack Welch. The book debuted at the very top of The New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for 26 consecutive weeks. It has sold more than 1.5 million copies in hardcover worldwide. Byrne has written or co-authored seven other books, including Chainsaw (HarperCollins, 1999), the behind-the-scenes story of Al Dunlap's rise and fall as a business celebrity. The book received widespread acclaim. Publishers Weekly called the book a "blistering saga" and a "sizzling tale." The Street.com said Chainsaw "should be required reading in all business and accounting schools."

Byrne's other books include: Informed Consent (McGraw-Hill, 1995); The Headhunters (MacMillan, 1986); Odyssey (Harper & Row, 1987), the business biography of former Apple Computer chairman John Sculley; and The Whiz Kids (Currency/Doubleday, 1993), which explored the life and times of 10 Army Air Force officers who helped to remake the Ford Motor Co. in the post-war period. Management guru Tom Peters called the book "an important milestone in American management analysis." Warren Bennis has said the book is "the best history of American business from World War II to the present." Byrne also wrote Business Week's Guide to the Best Business Schools (McGraw-Hill, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, and 1997) and co-wrote Business Week's Guide to the Best Executive Education Programs (McGraw-Hill, 1992).

Byrne joined Business Week in 1985 from Forbes magazine where he served as an associate editor and staff writer for four years. He previously worked as a correspondent for Fairchild Publications in London and in Washington. Byrne has a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri and an undergraduate degree in English and political science from William Paterson College.

Please join me in wishing him great success in his new position.