It’s a fresh start for Canada’s two leading urban weekly papers. That’s because the company that owns Vancouver’s Georgia Straight and Toronto’s NOW Magazine has a new board of directors—and CEO Brian Kalish has resigned.
Toronto-area businessmen Manos Pavlakis and David Daniels and securities and corporate lawyer Jay Vieira replaced four incumbent directors, including Kalish, on November 19.
Speaking on behalf of the new board, Pavlakis told the Straight that he and the other directors look forward to an online town-hall meeting with staff. That’s where they plan to field the staff’s questions and outline their vision for the future.
“What we have to say isn’t rocket science,” Pavlakis told the Straight. “It’s teamwork. It’s innovation. It’s bringing in new products.”
One of the new directors’ goals is to enhance shareholder value. But Pavlakis emphasized that they’re also keen to improve staff morale and strengthen bonds with readers and clients of the Georgia Straight and NOW. Both publications operate popular websites in their respective cities.
In addition to the Georgia Straight and NOW, Media Central owns CannCentral.com and ECentralSports.com, which focus on cannabis and esports, respectively.
Pavlakis said that he has experience owning various businesses—including real estate and mortgage companies and restaurants. That has given him deep insights into how to add value to organizations.
He’s also president and CEO of Noble Precision, a global leader in addressing complex precision manufacturing needs.
Another director, Daniels, is president and CEO of Etlin Daniels, which imports and distributes industrial lighting products. And Pavlakis said that more money will be invested in the media company to help bring it back to profitability.
“We’re not a little voice playing games,” Pavlakis declared. “There isn’t an investment yet that we didn’t have success on.”
He said that a key to business success is remaining relevant in a world that’s going increasingly digital. It’s one reason why he’s enthusiastic about the potential for ecommerce.
Pavlakis also has a deep attachment to NOW Magazine, having grown up reading the Toronto urban weekly paper.
“It’s kind of like a Toronto symbol,” Pavlakis said. “Everybody knows NOW Magazine.”
He recalled that NOW led him to spend a great deal of time visiting music and comedy clubs, bars, and theatres in his younger days. He spoke fondly of trips to Second City, where he would see NOW magazine ads on the wall featuring stars like John Candy.
“Who would have ever known, years ago when I was walking by as a teenager, that we would actually be directly involved with NOW Magazine?” Pavlakis said with a touch of satisfaction in his voice.