John C. “Jack” Thomas, who founded Adweek magazine with Ken Fadner (founder and publisher of MediaPost) and W. Pendleton Tudor in 1978, died July 9 of complications from pneumonia. He was 87.
Thomas, a longtime magazine industry sales executive, partnered with Fadner and Tudor to shake up the relatively staid ad industry publishing business dominated at the time by Advertising Age and The New York Times ad column. They acquired three regional trade magazines (ANNY, SAM and MAC) and relaunched them as Adweek, with the help of top designers Milton Glaser and Walter Bernard and legendary magazine editor Clay Felker, who introduced a smart, irreverent approach to trade journalism that transformed trade reporting, gave rise to advertising criticism and was on the cutting edge of the hyper-fragmentation of the media marketplace.
“Thomas, whom former Adweek advertising critic Barbara Lippert described as "an original Mad Man," remained involved with Adweek long after his partners left,” Adweek’s Michael Burgi wrote in the publication’s obituary of Thomas, “retaining a corner office into the 1990s. Impeccably dressed and formal without being stuffy, Thomas was a mentor to dozens of Adweek leaders on both the editorial and ad-sales sides.”