Washington Business Journal’s publisher stepping down but staying with company


Alex Orfinger, right, attended Regional Economic Forum in 2013. (Jeffrey MacMillan)

The Washington Business Journal is looking for a new publisher.

Alex Orfinger, the local business publication’s publisher for nearly two decades, has stepped down to take an executive position with the paper’s parent company, American City Business Journals. In his new role as executive vice president, Orfinger will help oversee half of the company’s 43 business journals across the country. He will continue to work out of Rosslyn.

American City Business Journals chief executive Whitney Shaw made the announcement in a memo distributed on Tuesday. Shaw also elevated Mike Olivieri, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company’s chief revenue officer, to a similar vice president position, responsible for the other half of the company’s media portfolio.

“I think our company has a great future in front of it, and I’m really proud, excited and super nervous about leading that effort,” Orfinger said in a video interview posted online. “The media industry is a treacherous zone, and we as an industry have a lot of challenges about how to be a reporting entity — a growing reporting entity — and make money doing it.”

Orfinger arrived in Washington in 1996 after serving as publisher of the Dallas Business Journal, and, before that, as associate publisher of the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Orfinger, who has a master’s in foreign affairs from Georgetown University, was once chairman of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

In his new role, he said he hopes “to take many of our lessons from the Washington Business Journal around the country.”

The news comes just hours after The Washington Post announced that Katharine Weymouth will step down as its publisher at the end of the month, bringing to an end the Graham family’s nearly 80-year run with the paper. Former Politico president and CEO Frederick Ryan has been named her successor.

jd.harrison@washpost.com

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.
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