William B. Ziff Jr. was the visionary leader who developed Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, which his father co-founded in 1927, into a highly successful niche media empire. When Ziff assumed control of the company in 1955 after his father’s death, its major publications were Modern Bride, Popular Photography, and Popular Electronics. Over the next several years, Ziff’s active leadership helped revitalize existing titles and launch new ones, focusing mainly on the hobbyist audience. By 1970, several of the company’s special-interest publications were leaders in paid circulation, advertising pages, and advertising revenue; the company’s tactics were considered major influences in the publishing industry. . But Ziff chose to retain a small division of computer titles, including PC Magazine. Once it was clear that computers and information technology were revolutionizing the world, that decision helped foster the company’s growth to become the largest publisher of computer magazines with annual revenue of $1 billion. In recognition of his astounding contributions to the publishing industry, peers presented him with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award in 1991, and in 1992 he was named executive of the year by Magazine Publishers of America. Ziff retired as chairman of Ziff Communications in 1993 and sold the company, including the publishing division, in 1994. He died in 2006.
William B. Ziff Jr.
Rutgers College 1955
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of