Deborah Fine has been named president and CEO of Direct Brands, succeeding Stuart Goldfarb who had been leading the direct marketer since it was formed in July 2008 when Najafi Companies bought Bookspan and Columbia House from Bertelsmann. Fine joins the company after serving as the president of iVillage Properties, a division of NBC Universal Digital Media. She will report to Jahm Najafi, CEO of Najafi Companies.
Najafi said Fine has the "perfect background" to help build the Direct Brands business, citing her experience in turning around companies and using the Internet to market to women. "I've dedicated my career developing brands for women," Fine said, adding that direct marketing channel for books, music and movies "is far from maximized." (Figures from PubTrack Consumer show 65% of book club customers are women). Najafi and Fine both see Direct Brands adding more online channels and possibly more products to its existing mix. While Fine said she intends to respect the current business, she noted that the direct marketing channel "is a business prime for reinvention," Fine said. Najafi said he is "more convinced today than when we bought the business" about the opportunity to expand, noting Direct Brands' access to content and 6.5 million customers. Najafi said he will to continue to invest in the company as Fine rolls out her plans in the coming weeks.
Fine joined NBC Universal in 2006 as President, iVillage Properties, where she was responsible for leading one of the world’s first and largest online communities for women. With 27 million members globally, the iVillage portfolio of businesses includes iVillage.com, Your Total Health.com, Gardenweb.com, iVillageUK.com and Astrology.com.