New York, NY — The trade show industry is grieving over the sudden loss of one of its pre-eminent leaders. Nielsen Business Media President and CEO Robert L. Krakoff died March 23 of an apparent heart attack. Earlier in the afternoon, Krakoff attended the Jesse H. Neal Awards luncheon sponsored by the American Business Media (ABM) at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. He was 71.
TSE has written a special report in its May issue as a Tribute to Bob Krakoff
Krakoff was a powerhouse in the trade show industry. During his three-decade long career, he headed up the nation’s three largest B-to-B media/exhibition companies including Reed Business, Advanstar Communications and Nielsen. He remained a friend and mentor to a loyal cadre of employees who worked for him before themselves rising to top-level positions within the industry. One of those was Skip Farber, CEO of WSA Global Holdings LLC. “Bob was larger than life. He is going to be missed by many but not forgotten – ever.”
Krakoff enjoyed a long career in the trade show and business media world, including 23 years at Reed Elsevier where he retired as vice chairman of Reed Elsevier Inc., director of Reed Elsevier plc, and chairman and CEO of Reed Business. His retirement was short-lived as he joined Advanstar, Inc., parent company of Advanstar Communications, as chairman and CEO from 1996 to 2004. Under his leadership, Advanstar acquired more than 40 businesses in key markets. Krakoff then set out on his own and founded investment firm Blantyre Partners, Inc. In August 2006, Krakoff became President and CEO of Nielsen Business Media, formerly VNU Business Media where one of his first actions was to change the orientation of the company into a market-focused business rather than one structured by media or geographic region.
He was a past chairman and director of the Association of American Business Media (ABM), and the 2002 recipient of the ABM’s McAllister Top Management Fellowship.
“A publishing industry veteran, Bob was a consummate professional, a valued advisor and a wonderful friend,” Nielsen Chairman and CEO David Calhoun said in a brief announcement. “Since joining Nielsen late last year, Bob has made a strong impact on our organization, both personally and professionally.”
Krakoff is survived by his wife, Sandy; sons Reed and Roger, and daughter Hope.