The Lad Bible’s chief operating officer Adam Clyne has become the latest in a string of staff to depart the publisher, just months after the youth publisher lost its marketing chief and commercial director.
The publisher today (12 December) confirmed Clyne’s departure from the brand, with chief executive and founder Solly Solomou adding that the role of chief operating officer has now been made defunct.
Clyne, was hired in June this year to steer the publishers “next stage of evolution”, said Solomou at the time.
However, Clyne's arrival was followed shortly by the departure of its commercial director James Wigley to rival publisher Joe Media, and more recently its marketing director Mimi Turner to Vice Media, where she is senior vice president of strategy.
“Following Adam Clyne’s departure, we have decided not to replace the role of chief operating officer on our management team. Adam is a talented executive, and we thank him for his contributions and wish him well for the future.”
He added: “We have seen a record period of growth for the company over the last year, including our first £1m revenue month and a massive Q4, with exciting plans in the UK and overseas for 2017."
In recent months the lad brand has announced a string of high-profile partnerships with Discovery, Amazon and National Geographic, and has moved to redefine what ‘lad’ means by investing in more serious content and undergoing a "big rebrand". To back support this, the publisher has unveiled socially-conscious initiatives such as ‘UOKM8 - a three-month campaign to raise awareness of male mental health issues in collaboration with CALM, Samaritans, Movember and the Mental Health Foundation.
Yet despite its best efforts, these changes have not been enough to convince its senior team to remain. Media observers have expressed concerns about the brand’s over-reliance on Facebook, leaving it exposed should the social network decide to change its algorithm. According to data on SimilarWeb, the Lad Bible site gets 94% of its traffic from social referrals; 98% of which comes from Facebook.
It’s a concern realised in full by online news platform Elite Daily, which spearheaded its growth on Facebook and yet now faces a bleak future. Last January, the Daily Mail and General Trust acquired the social-friendly brand for $40m to $50m. Now the Daily Mail owner has written down all of its investments in the company, taking a $31 million loss in the process, according to reports on Recode.
Meanwhile new entrants to the market like Joe Media have stolen staff from the lad brand and risen the ranks in the male media space as it distances itself from lads to men, using the tagline 'men deserve better'.