Tim Williamson, CEO and co-founder of the entrepreneur nonprofit The Idea Village
, will become president of NOLA Media Group
(NMG), the umbrella company that oversees NOLA.com
| The Times-Picayune, NMG announced today
Williamson, a native of New Orleans, worked with Cox Interactive Media in Pittsburgh before returning home and launching the now-defunct website InsideNewOrleans.com in 1998. He will take over at NMG Aug. 15, according to a letter from The Idea Village's board of directors, while remaining on the Idea Village's board. Emily Madero, chief operating officer of The Idea Village, will become acting CEO Aug. 1.
In 1999, Williamson told Fast Company, "
"The new economy in New Orleans will be driven by a new group of New Orleanians who are really focused on the technology industry. There's a tension between this group and traditional business circles in New Orleans because these tech-minded individuals are doing business a little different. It's extremely exciting." Gambit
named him to the paper's "40 Under 40"
list in 2004.
Williamson co-founded The Idea Village in 2000, which launched in 2009 what would become known as New Orleans Entrepreneur Week
. The Idea Village's stated goal for 2018
— the city's tricentennial — is to ensure "New Orleans is ranked as a top 10 entrepreneurial ecosystem."
In 2012, Williamson was a signatory to a letter written by dozens of New Orleans business leaders to the management of The Times-Picayune
, urging the paper's owners not to go to three-day-a-week publication — an effort that ultimately was unsuccessful:
The group’s purpose is to ensure the continuation of the delivery of a high quality, seven-day-a-week newspaper, with access to the entire community. The group intends to open discussions with the current owners as well as other interested parties to achieve its purpose.
Just before Entrepreneur Week 2016, Williamson gave an interview
to Launch Pad Founder & CEO Chris Schultz in which he said of the New Orleans entrepreneurial scene, "Now we have an emerging group of leaders, they can’t be assholes. They need to pay it forward."
Williamson replaces Ricky Mathews, who was brought in to oversee The Times-Picayune
's "digital revolution" in 2012, a move which eventually involved the firing of hundreds of staffers, a three-day-a-week print schedule and a rebranding as NOLA Media Group. Mathews, the company said in announcing the change, would "help lead new initiatives with Advance Local, a group of affiliated websites and newspapers of which NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune
In April, Forbes.com's Adriana Lopez praised Williamson in an online story
, saying he "can make anything — even the most unbelievable of things — sound exciting. He’s quite convincing, turning the most cynical into believers. If you’ve met him, you’ve drank the Kool-Aid. It tastes like whisky and entrepreneurship in New Orleans, and he has spent the past 15 years perfecting his elevator pitch."