- Santa Monica, Calif.- based Leaf Group, a subsidiary of Graham Holdings and operator of both digital and ecommerce brands including LIVESTRONG.com and Society6, appointed Ross Landsbaum as its new CFO, effective Nov. 1, according to a company spokesperson in a statement sent to CFO Dive.
- Landsbaum, previously CFO of Therabody, maker of the Theragun muscle massage equipment that is popular with athletes, is taking a seat at Leaf that has been vacant for some time. Leaf’s previous finance chief, Brian Gephart, stepped down from the CFO position in June 2021 after Graham Holdings acquired Leaf Group.
- Backed by Graham Holdings, the former owner of The Washington Post, Leaf Group has ambitious plans for growth in the near future, according to a statement from Landsbaum sent to CFO Dive. “As we look at acquisition opportunities, I’m hopeful that my experience in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and post-merger integration will also add value to the business,” he said.
Landsbaum has 20-plus years of financial executive experience. As CFO of Therabody, Landsbaum handled its planning, finance and accounting functions supporting its global operations and acquisitions, according to the company statement.
“I’ve served as CFO at a number of companies in the media and eCommerce space that were growth oriented and focused on scaling their businesses. Leaf Group has a perfect mix from my perspective: A great team and culture, a mix of best in class media properties and commerce brands and a growth culture that I can contribute to,” Landsbaum stated.
Prior to Therabody, Landsbaum served as CFO of McLarens — a global insurance services provider — from November 2017 until April 2021. His other CFO roles included those at ReachLocal, a USA Today network, and Panavision Inc., a former global manufacturer of film and digital cameras, as well as other former entertainment companies like Miramax Films and Spelling Entertainment Group, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Landsbaum is confident his experience will benefit Leaf Group as he takes on the financial helm. Besides obvious roles that accounting and finance teams have like processing transactions, paying bills, collecting receivables and closing the books timely and efficiently, there also needs to be careful thought to ensure scalable growth, according to Landsbaum. “I know these are both areas where I can help Leaf Group,” he said.
“The most important role of the finance and accounting organization of a growth business like Leaf Group is to provide insight and views to help drive strategic thinking,” explained Landsbaum, this includes partnering with technology teams as well to provide transparency, he said. This role is “especially important during times of economic volatility.”
Graham Holdings reported revenue of $1.0 billion in the third quarter, up 25% from $809.4 million in the year-earlier period, according to a Nov. 2 earnings release.
“There is uncertainty in the broader economy right now that requires careful navigation. Leaf Group is a fiscally responsible company and we plan to keep operating that way as we move into the future,” said Landsbaum, “In Graham we have an owner who looks to build strong businesses over the long haul. Challenging business cycles are just part of doing business,” he said.