Steven Kotok to leave Dennis U.S.

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Steven Kotok. (Wall Street Journal)
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Nicole Levy

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Dennis U.S. chief executive Steven Kotok will be leaving the company, he announced today in a memo to staff. Dennis publishes The Week and Mental Floss, among other publications.

Kotok, 44, worked for more than 18 years for businesses owned by the idiosyncratic British billionaire Felix Dennis, who died in June.

"I’ve grown up here – or at least tried to," wrote Kotok, who has held a number of senior-level positions at Dennis Publishing, including runs as president of The Week, and later C.E.O. of Mental Flossaccording to his LinkedIn profile.  

Kotok wrote in his email to staffers that he would not have made the decision to leave if the company was "in anything but a very strong position to continue to grow and thrive." Both the U.S. and U.K. arms of Dennis Publishing have had double-digit margin profits for a number of years, he told Capital in July.

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"I am, of course, most grateful to Felix Dennis," Kotok wrote of his longtime boss and mentor, whose legacy is a nonprofit devoted to preserving a large native forest in England's Midlands. "I could plant a million trees and still not repay him for the profound impact he has had on my life."

But Kotok has in some ways already demonstrated his gratitude: as Dennis fought with cancer for the last few years of his life, Kotok delivered on a promise he had made his employer. "I did make a commitment to Felix to see the company through his illnesses," Kotok told Capital in an email.

Read the full memo he sent to staff at Dennis, below:

Greetings all,

After seven years leading The Week -- three of them with Mental Floss, too -- and over 18 years working for Felix’s businesses, I have made the big, and very difficult, decision to move on.

I could not be prouder of what everyone here has accomplished in growing The Week and Mental Floss. In the past year each brand has achieved record success: financially, in the quality of our editorial products, and in the size of the audiences we attract, both in print and online.

I would not and could not make this decision if I felt the company was in anything but a very strong position to continue to grow and thrive.

I started working for Felix’s businesses when I was 25, and as Joy so helpfully emailed everyone yesterday, I just turned 44. I’ve grown up here – or at least tried to. And I treasure the experiences and opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to have as a result of my time working for Felix. Most of all, I’m thankful for the extremely talented people I was able to work with, and the valued friends I have made here.

I am, of course, most grateful to Felix Dennis. I could plant a million trees and still not repay him for the profound impact he has had on my life.

With deepest gratitude and best wishes to each of you,

--Steven