‘The New York Observer’ gets a new president (and endorses Romney for real president)

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Elizabeth Spiers and Jared Kushner. ()
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The New York Observer has named a new president to replace Christopher Barnes, who resigned from the paper back in August along with former editor Elizabeth Spiers.

Jared Kushner, the real estate scion who has owned the paper since 2006, informed the staff last night that he had hired Mike Albanese for the role. Albanese was the publisher of Spin for six years, until its recent acquisition by BuzzMedia. (The New York Post's Keith Kelly first reported his hiring late last night.)

"Mike has an innovative approach and desire to experiment and press hard to find new and creative strategies to grow businesses," Kushner wrote in a memo obtained by Capital. "That is what we have done at the Observer Media Group over the past 6 years and is why we have continued to grow in a challenging media environment."

Kushner also said that the company, which in addition to the Observer and its affiliated web brands publishes several glossy lifestyle titles and a trade paper about commercial real estate, is "on pace to achieve over 25% revenue growth for 2012, which will again be a record year for our company."

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The memo did not say whether the increased revenue has closed the gap in the company's finances; the company has lost money most years since its founding by Arthur Carter back in 1987, and is approaching its 25th anniversary.

Albanese will work alongside Aaron Gell, who succeeded Elizabeth Spiers as editor and has slowly been setting up shop with new contributors.

The Observer made headlines today for its endorsement of Mitt Romney in this week's edition. Kushner is married to Ivanka Trump, whose father is a Romney supporter. The paper has traditionally leaned toward Democratic endorsements (and Kushner's father has been a prominent donor to Democrats in New Jersey), but wrote of President Obama in an editorial: "America supported that candidate (as did this newspaper), but his presidency, so filled with promise and potential, has failed to deliver the change America needs."

Kushner's full memo about Albanese is below:

Dear Observer Media Group,

I am excited to announce the hiring of Mike Albanese as President of the New York Observer.

Mike was the Publisher of Spin magazine before its acquisition by BuzzMedia, where he grew digital and print revenue and did a great job transitioning an old line publishing brand to the 21st century.

Mike has an innovative approach and desire to experiment and press hard to find new and creative strategies to grow businesses. That is what we have done at the Observer Media Group over the past 6 years and is why we have continued to grow in a challenging media environment.

I want to thank Christopher Barnes again for all that he has done for our company - he is leaving on a high as we are on pace to achieve over 25% revenue growth for 2012, which will again be a record year for our company. We thank him for his leadership and look forward to making better wine buying decisions by using the website he has been working on.

Change has led to growth and it is important to continue to embrace change and keep pushing forward with the mentality of a startup more than a newspaper company. Our strength has been in our ability to try new things – and being able to recognize what makes sense as part of our future and what needs to be left in the past.

While we have accomplished a lot - we still have tremendous opportunity for further growth which I am committed to pursuing. We continue to attract first-class talent and last month posted our second highest traffic month ever across our Internet properties. Let's keep up the good work and keep having fun!

Yours,
Jared