Matt Rowley becomes CEO of Pedestrian as founders Chris Wirasinha and Oscar Martin exit

The founders of Pedestrian Group, Chris Wirasinha and Oscar Martin, are leaving the business.

With the exit of its founders, Pedestrian – now a part of Nine – will be led by Nine’s director of sales for publishing, Matt Rowley, who comes on board as CEO.

Rowley was chief revenue officer of Fairfax before the business was bought by Nine

Wirasinha and Martin will take on advisory roles for Pedestrian as they “explore new ventures”.

Pedestrian was founded by Wirasinha and Martin in 2005. In 2014, the duo sold a 60% stake in the business to Nine for a rumoured $10m.

Last year, it was revealed Nine paid $39.3m for the remaining 40%, effectively valuing the digital publishing business at just under $100m.

With Nine also purchasing Fairfax last year, more of Australia’s publishing assets were folded into the Pedestrian Group. Fairfax’s Allure Media – which included titles such as Popsugar, Gizmodo and Business Insider – all merged into the Pedestrian business. 

Rowley, then chief revenue officer of Fairfax, became director of sales for publishing at Nine as part of the merger.

Now, he takes the helm of Pedestrian as Wirasinha and Martin “explore new ventures”.

Rowley’s lead publishing sales role will be taken up by Chris Nardi, who for the past 18 months has been leading the business and government vertical for Nine’s major mastheads.

With the raft of movements, Nine’s managing director of publishing, Chris Janz, said the business is confident the right leadership is in place.

“Pedestrian has gone from strength to strength since it was founded 14 years ago and now is the next step in its growth story with Matt Rowley coming on board as CEO,” he said. “We’re confident we have the right leadership in place to continue the growth of Pedestrian and its amazing portfolio of digital properties.”

Janz also paid tribute to the men behind Pedestrian.

“I want to acknowledge the role of both Oscar and Chris in building Pedestrian from scratch to the powerhouse it is today. I am please that they will be advising the business, and we will continue to draw on their expertise as we build more creative ways for advertisers to tap into the youth market and broader group.”

Wirasinha said it was the right time to move on, after the “once-in-a-lifetime” adventure of launching and growing the business.

“The last 14 years has been such a fun ride, the direct result of being able to share it with the phenomenal team of superstars who’ve been part of the story,” he said.

“We always wanted Pedestrian to leave a lasting legacy long beyond Oscar and myself, and now is the right time to hand the reins over to Matt and the team so that Pedestrian can continue to grow over the coming decades.”

Martin too said it had been a wild ride.

“The last 14 years at Pedestrian and the journey from ‘plastizine’ (plastic DVD magazine) to Nine acquisition has been remarkable,” he said. “I’m most proud of the incredibly talented, ambitious and hardworking Pedestrian staff past and present who have made Pedestrian the magical company it is today.

“It’s the end of a life-changing era, but the start of an exciting next chapter for Pedestrian Group.”

Rowley commences his new role on 15 April.


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