As sexy workplaces go, Forbes ranks somewhere far below Vogue, the (fictionalized) setting of The Devil Wears Prada. But the venerable business title is the subject of a tell-all currently being written by one (or more) of the many staffers whose jobs it has eliminated over the past two years, according to Gawker. And here at DailyFinance, we have a hunch we know who the author might be.
Asked about the book, various Forbes insiders, past and present, pointed fingers at former managing editor Stewart Pinkerton, who departed the magazine in March after nearly 20 years there. While Pinkerton's far from the only long-serving editor to depart in recent waves of downsizing, he's one of very few in a position to know details of a feud among the Forbes brothers, said to be the book's subject. "To write a book about the family, you'd have to be someone of Stewart's stature," says one source. "Without having that level of access, it'd be pretty superficial."
Pinkerton also has sufficient motivation for doing something that will surely be seen as an act of disloyalty toward his former employers. While his exit was cast as a retirement, former colleagues say it wasn't a voluntary one. "He wasn't too happy about being laid off," says one. (Not that that kind of motivation is in short supply at Forbes these days, or anywhere else in the publishing world.) And, unlike those who were let go in October's heavy bloodletting, Pinkerton has been out long enough that any nondisclosure/nondisparagement agreement he signed as part of his severance package either has expired or will have by the time he's done writing.
Asked whether he is indeed the mystery author, Pinkerton said only, "I've been working on a book project for the last year, but I'm not at liberty to discuss what it's about."
Other ex-Forbes types whose names were put forth as candidates include Peter Newcomb, who for years ran the magazine's Forbes 400 list franchise; Nina Munk, who wrote Fools Rush In about the AOL-Time Warner merger; and Kate Bohner, who co-authored Trump: The Art of the Comeback. From the business side, there have been two departures in the past two years who surely know where all the bodies are buried: Jim Spanfeller, who (as DailyFinance was first to report) stepped down as CEO of Forbes.com in July, and former president/publisher Jim Berrien. Munk and Berrien denied any involvement with or knowledge of the book; Spanfeller, Newcomb and Bohner didn't respond to inquiries.
Who's writing the Forbes tell-all?