Tom Ott, who has served as acting chief executive officer of Smithsonian Enterprises since August 2007, has been named president of Smithsonian Enterprises following a national search. His appointment is effective immediately.
Since last year, Ott has overseen the reorganization of Smithsonian Enterprises, formerly known as Smithsonian Business Ventures. The organization now has three primary business divisions: media, retail and business development and licensing, along with accounting and finance and human resources. Ott will continue to lead the media division, which includes Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines and their online products, Smithsonian Books, goSmithsonian, a brochure and online guide for visitors, and will also oversee the Smithsonian’s television venture, the Smithsonian Channel.
In September, the Smithsonian Channel was awarded its first Emmy in cinematography for a nature documentary. The three-year-old channel is the youngest to have won an Emmy award.
Smithsonian Enterprises also includes museum and airport retail stores, the Smithsonian Catalogue, Imax Theaters, food concessions, adult and student travel programs and consumer product licensing.
“During a time of transition and challenge, Tom Ott has exhibited the leadership skills we are seeking—focused and disciplined management combined with innovative and strategic thinking,” said Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough.
Ott was president of Smithsonian Publishing from October 2005 through 2007, and responsible for managing and directing overall operations and strategy for Smithsonian magazine, Air & Space magazine and goSmithsonian, as well as the respective Web sites of each brand. Ott’s accomplishments in the publishing area included editorial redesign, the launch of online business units and the implementation of a new cost-management structure.
Before joining the Smithsonian three years ago, Ott, 49, spent his entire career in the publishing industry with the majority of his business career at Time Inc. His roles there included that of publisher of Time/Canada, associate publisher of Time/U.S. and group publisher of “Time4 Outdoors.” Before
that, Ott was president and publisher of Time Inc.’s “This Old House,” one of the most successful magazines of the 1990s. Ott started his career with Hearst magazines in New York and was general manager of the Home & Garden Group at Reader’s Digest before joining the Smithsonian in 2005.
Ott earned his bachelor’s degree from Providence College in Rhode Island in 1981 and had worked and lived previously in the publishing markets of New York and Los Angeles.
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