Lawsuit Halted

Clean Slate

Contracts Awarded

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the April 6, 2005

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

Executive searchers can be among the most persuasive people on the

planet. They have to talk their way into offices of contented

executives, who have no thought of changing jobs, and persuade them

that they want to uproot their families and sally forth with a new job

in a new company. Michael Zinn, who does retainer-based executive

search, has had more than 25 years in the business and has his pitch

honed to perfection.

He says, up front, "We were retained to do a confidential search, and

my first assumption is that you are very happy where you are but also

that, if it were the right opportunity, if it were made very

attractive, and it were very good fit, and we could handle it very

very confidentially, you might be open minded about learning more

about it."

Zinn has a method for weeding out the people who will turn the search

process into a way to negotiate a salary raise at their old jobs. "I

make them go through a series of Yes/No decisions to invest a nominal

amount of time." First he and the candidate spend 45 minutes on the

phone, then he invites the candidate to a 90-minute sit-down meeting.

It may not be totally convenient to set aside that time. "The guy or

gal who is ‘not real’ will not commit to that, and I tell them to give

me a call back if they can make that commitment."

Zinn has just moved from 301 Ewing Street to 993 Lenox Drive. The son

of a dentist and an interior decorator, Zinn grew up in Binghamton,

New York, and went to Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania, graduating

from Ithaca College in 1975, and has an MBA from St. John’s. After

briefly working for an insurance company, he moved to the 10th largest

executive search firm, where he was the "right hand man" of the

founder. The firm sold for $29 million and Zinn started his own

company in 1988.

At one point he had a dozen people working for him and did $1 million

a year, but now he has a three-person firm and does all the searches

himself, saying, "I found there are certain skills you just can’t

teach. I found I am much more comfortable doing 12 to 15 searches a

year rather than trying to do volume work and relying on others. I am

much more comfortable being much more focused and more hands on. I can

still make a lot of money with this model and the clients are happier


Saying that he competes with the big firms, like Korn Ferry and

Hedrick & Struggles, Zinn prides himself on being able to get to the

candidate that other search firms can’t. "There is a reason why

clients have been with me for 15 years," Zinn says. "I have the

experience to relate to senior level people and understand what their

needs are. I have more experience in getting the candidate to say, ‘I

might be interested if it’s done the right way.’

Be persistent. Talk to enough people in the organization. If one

person doesn’t give you a straight answer, somebody else will.

Be private. Zinn always asks the person who answers the phone, "Are

you his (or her) personal secretary?" If the answer is no, he asks to

go into voice mail. "Or you call back at another time until you get

somebody you can trust."

Be candid. "Candor is so welcome," says Zinn. "At the senior level,

it’s a game that is understood. Executives get these calls all the


"There’s an art to this," says Zinn. "When I had a lot of staff, I was

making a lot of money, but I was never totally confident that they

were doing it to the level that I could do. Now I am making a very

good living, and I can be more selective about the searches I am

willing to take and the deals I am willing to accept. Everybody out

there is trying to cut deals."

Michael D. Zinn & Associates, 993 Lenox Drive, Suite 200,

Lawrenceville 08648. Michael D. Zinn, president. 609-921-8755. Home


Top Of Page
Lawsuit Halted

Last week Kos Pharmaceuticals and Barr Labs halted their legal

proceedings and agreed to settlement talks on Niaspan patent disputes.

The immediate result was that the Kos stock went up 28 percent to more

than $42 and has stayed there.

As stated last week’s article on Kos (U.S. 1, March 30), Kos has been

objecting for three years to Barr’s selling generic copies of Niaspan.

Efforts to pursue the case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern

District of New York have been stopped to allow time to negotiate a


The company made some statistical corrections to the U.S. 1 article:

Kos has 150 people working in Edison, and it occupies 90,000 square

feet, not 9,000 feet in Cranbury.

Kos Pharmaceuticals (KOSP), 1 Cedar Brook Drive, Cedar

Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512. Adrian Adams, president and

CEO. 609-495-0500; fax, 609-495-0920.

Top Of Page
Clean Slate

Medical World Communications (MWC) has a new name, Ascend Media, and

after several years of turmoil it can now start off with a clean

slate. The small headquarters office on Center Drive will close, but

most employees have retained their jobs, and the Forsgate Drive

office, with 115 employees, is staying open.

John J. "Jack" Hennessy had founded MWC 20 years ago but began having

legal problems when his former COO, Peter F. Sprague, filed a whistle

blower suit claiming that 11 of 20 magazines had filed false

circulation figures, and that MWC owed $2 million in postage. (Under

bulk rate rules, more than half of the recipients must request a

publication, and Sprague charged that the request figures had been

fudged.) MWC settled the case for $3.7 million.

In a letter on the website to 350 employees, Hennessy told how the

firm grew from $3 million to $100 million in annual sales in 10 years.

"All MWC employees should feel proud," said Hennessy.

Hennessy’s majority shareholder, Great Hill Partners, has cashed out

its investment; Great Hill had owned the controlling shares since

1993. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The buyer, Kansas-based Ascend Media, was founded by three men who

left publishing giant Primedia after two decades. Cameron Bishop, Dan

Altman, and Ron Wall were working in Primedia’s Intertec Publishing

and Event unit when Bishop was replaced as CEO of Intertec by Tim

Andrews. (Andrews is remembered in Princeton as the Dow Jones

executive who was the founding CEO of Factiva and left to start up

Industry Click for Primedia. Then Industry Click was subsumed into

another of Primedia’s companies. Andrews is now president of

Advertising Specialty Institute.)

At Ascend, Media Bishop is president and CEO, Altman is executive vice

president and CFO, and Wall is executive vice president for sales and

marketing. Their financing was from J.P. Morgan and merchant banker

Veronis Suhler Stevenson, and they made their first acquisition in

2003. "This is their first foray into the health industry," says

Darren Sextro, spokesperson.

MWC (now Ascend) firm publishes 50 magazines and journals in the

medical and healthcare field on such topics as primary care, pharmacy,

dentistry, imaging, cardiology, respiratory therapy, physical therapy,

esthetics, hearing and clinical. Among the most prominent are Pharmacy

Times (first published in 1897), Physician’s Money Digest, Cardiology

Review, Family Practice Recertification, Rehab Management, Medical

Imaging, and Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry.

The company also publishes magazines in the food and beverage

processing, retailing and packaging industries and has a healthcare

marketing agency, Practice Builders.

"Medical World is an impressive company in a dynamic industry. We saw

that firsthand when we met with their senior managers during the

acquisition process. They were experts in their fields who

demonstrated a true passion for this business. We’re looking forward

to working with the great team that Jack Hennessy assembled," said

Bishop in a press release. Bishop says his firm is now a

business-to-business media company with $150 million in revenue. "We

have the capability to serve our customers in a uniquely comprehensive

manner unlike any other medical publisher."

Ascend Media (Medical World Communications), 241 Forsgate

Drive, Jamesburg 08831. 732-656-0200; fax, 732-656-0818.

Top Of Page
Contracts Awarded

WorldWater & Power Corp. (WWAT), 55 Route 31 South,

Pennington Business Park, Building B, Pennington 08534. Quentin T.

Kelly, chairman and CEO. 609-818-0700; fax, 609-818-0720. Home page:

WorldWater & Power Corp often works in third world countries but it

just won a $3.25 million contract close to home – in Atlantic County.

It will build a solar electric system sith a joint venture partner,

Conti Corp., at a wastewater treatment plant near Atlantic City.

WorldWater & Power will supply all solar-related equipment,

engineering and design services, and Conti will provide construction

services and construction project management. The project is slated to

be finished by October.

Corrections or additions?

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