Venture Capitalist Josh Kopelman Replaces Gerry Lenfest as PMN Chairman
The Philadelphia Media Network announced Tuesday that Josh Kopelman, a venture capitalist, has been named chair of its board, which operates the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com.
Kopelman is a 45-year-old Wharton alumnus best known for creating Half.com, a used book, movie and music website that was acquired by eBay in 2000. He’ll lead the day-to-day operations of the company as it navigates recent changes in ownership and seeks new streams of revenue.
“Anyone who pays attention to Josh Kopelman is probably used to being surprised. He is a true innovator with amazing instincts,” PMN Publisher and CEO Terry Egger said in a press release. “I’m very eager to work with Josh as he leads PMN’s strategic planning initiative. His entrepreneurial and innovative spirit is precisely what we need as we chart our path forward in this exciting time for digital media.”
Kopelman succeeds H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, the former sole owner of PMN, who in December donated the biggest news operation in the city to his nonprofit, the Institute for Journalism in New Media, which is under the auspices of the Philadelphia Foundation.
Lenfest will continue to serve on PMN’s board and to chair the board of managers for the IJNM.
“I am grateful Josh agreed to serve as [PMN board] chairman,” Lenfest said in a statement. “He is one of the most respected investors, directors and advisors in a variety of technology and Internet businesses, and his chairmanship is the latest chapter in the innovative restructuring of PMN that began with the recent creation of the Institute.”
As a nonprofit, the IJNM can accept outside donations and grants — part of Lenfest’s effort to preserve quality journalism in the long term.
Current PMN board member Lisa Kabnick, a senior adviser for Reed Smith L.L.P., will become vice chair of the board. Kabnick, who attended the University of Pennsylvania, has spent 35 years as a banking and finance lawyer and adviser to professional and community boards.
Kopelman, who joined the PMN board in 2015 and lives on the Main Line, has invested in more than 300 technology start-ups since co-founding his firm, First Round Capital, in 2004. Many of them leveraged the power of the Internet to disrupt older firms.
“I now look forward to sitting on the other side of the table — and am excited at the prospect of ensuring that more people than ever can access the fine work created by PMN, [and] at the same time creating new models for sustainability, not just in Philadelphia, but throughout the country,” Kopelman said in a press release.
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