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William Reilly, Founder of Primedia and Summit, Passes Away


New York, NY – Bill Reilly, who teamed with private equity firms to found Primedia and later Summit Business Media, died October 17 at the age of 70 after a year-long battle with cancer. A funeral mass will be held Wednesday, October 22 at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in New York City.

Reilly spent more than 30 years in publishing, culminating in the launch of Summit Business Media in 2006. He stepped down as CEO last year but remained chairman of the board.

“We got to know him as much more than just one of the most successful media executives of all time,” said Summit President and CEO Andrew Goodenough. “He was a Renaissance man…and an all-around great guy.”

Summit currently maintains a conference portfolio in 14 different vertical markets, primarily in the financial services sector.

Reilly set the stage for the creation of Summit with his successful launch of Primedia in 1989. Primedia was one of the first business media ventures to be undertaken with a private equity firm. With the backing of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Primedia grew into a $1.7 billion company.

Reilly left Primedia in 1999. Two years later, he joined up with Providence Equity Partners to form Aurelian Communications, which acquired F+W Publications the following year.  In 2006, he teamed up with Wind Point Partners to launch Summit, which went on to quickly acquire Pfingsten Publishing, Highline Media and five other companies.

Reilly was a member of the board of trustees for Notre Dame University and Harvard Business School.

Reach Andrew Goodenough at (212) 752-2710 or

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