New head coach at Athlon

Allen out as CEO of sports publisher, replaced by former Alpha Media chief

Chuck Allen has been replaced from his post as CEO of Athlon, the Nashville-based publisher of various sports titles and Web sites, a month before the company’s launch of a national magazine that will reach 7 million people. One other senior executive and a number of staffers from various departments also have been laid off.

Taking over at the helm is Stephen Duggan, who bought into the business this spring less than a year after leaving Alpha Media, the publisher of Maxim and other magazines. Allen, who owns a stake in Athlon, will remain a member of its board of directors.

Duggan confirmed to that the personnel moves also include the departure of Executive VP and General Manager of Operations Kathy Kinkeade and a handful of people from the company’s communications, editorial and interactive departments. Kinkeade’s quasi-COO role will not be filled.

Duggan said the cuts are part of a broader shuffle that has included a ramping up of New York-based and national sales efforts for the launch of Athlon Sports. On a net basis, he added, Athlon is adding to its employee base, which numbers about 60.

“Everybody needs to allocate resources more efficiently and we’re no different,” Duggan said of broader shifts in the media landscape. “We’ve been thinking for some time about how to transition and some of these ideas were in place before I got on board.”

Duggan declined to disclose Athlon’s revenues but said the launch of his magazine will double the company’s top line in 2011. At the same time, he’s looking for various digital initiatives to help drive growth. The main Athlon site will be relaunched soon and the company will market more sports-based games while also looking to acquire other sports Web sites.