Annan named IT World Canada president

A 15-year veteran of IT World Canada has been named president and group publisher of the information technology news and event organization.

Fawn Annan was named to the post this week by company chairman Michael Atkins.

“Fawn has been an innovator throughout her business career and will bring the same entrepreneurial flare to her new position as she has to her previous endeavours,” Atkins said in a statement.

Annan had been vice-president of operations and chief strategist.

In her new role she takes over responsibility for six English and French-language IT print and online publications, an IT events organization and a staff of 63 in Toronto, Montreal and Brighton, Ont. Some 120,000 information technology professionals subscribe to the news services.

Annan said in an interview that she looks forward to creating new opportunities for readers and advertisers.

“We’re constantly expanding our product set,” she said. “We’re developing a very robust channel directory, we just launched Visability [a corporate marketing assistance service], which is a brand-new direction for us, and in the fall we’ll launch an e-learning platform.”

Her goals are to keep the company healthy and profitable, manage growth, create innovative products and make sure there’s a happy work environment.

Annan is a board member of the Ontario branch of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and vice-president of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance’s Women in Technology (CATA WIT) Forum.

A graduate of York University with a communications degree, she worked as a writer for a firm that produced audio-visual presentations for corporations and for a company that made documentaries before setting up an animation studio.

Her introduction to IT came when a friend asked her to join him in running a trade show on an emerging technology, desktop publishing. “If it’s about computers I’m the wrong person,” she recalled telling him. She ended up an enthusiast about the industry. “I thought it was the most exciting thing I’d seen in years.”

That led to the creation of a company that ran IT trade shows for several years in Toronto and Vancouver. After selling her share of the company, she was offered a one-year contract at the publishing group that became IT World Canada to develop educational events for C-level executives. When that contract ended Annan was hired to be general manager of executive events, then director of marketing, publisher of the government division, group publisher of the enterprise division and then vice-president and chief strategist.

Married with an adult son, Annan takes to yoga when she wants to relax. Comfortable with technology — though not an early adopter — she says her BlackBerry is the device she can’t do without, but she’s thinking of adding an Apple iPad.

Annan admits it’s a challenging time to be in the publishing business. “But when you have a tough time in an industry you have a great opportunity. I think we have a great opportunity to change the face of what we do as a media house.”

Atkins also announced other management changes this week. Laurie Chasse has been appointed vice-president of operations; David Spindler has been named vice-president of sales and marketing; Brad McBride has been appointed publisher of Computer Dealer News; Sionne Roberts is now general manager for IT World Canada’s Visability division; Donna Butts has been named director of the project management office; and Steve Kawalit is now audience acquisition marketing manager.

The news group comprises the online news services IT World Canada and ITBusiness Canada, as well as Computerworld Canada, NetworkWorld Canada, CIO Canada, Computer Dealer News and the French language Direction Informatique.

In addition to the publications, IT World Canada produces a number of IT-related events including the CIO Canada Frankly Speaking Breakfast Series, the Computerworld Canada IT Leadership Awards and the CDN Channel Elite Awards.

IT World Canada is a unit of Laurentian Media Group of Toronto.



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