NEW YORK – John Veronis, a successful magazine publisher who built a leading media merchant bank, died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93. The son of Greek immigrants, Veronis co- founded Psychology Today magazine in 1967 with a young PhD student, Nick Charney. They believed there was growing social interest in human behavior and neuroscience, and the magazine took off. Known for his high energy and magnetic personality, he developed relationships throughout the industry and earned a reputation for advising other publishers. In 1981, he saw an opportunity to create an investment bank focused on media at a time when Wall Street bankers were generally industry agnostic. His basic premise was that a firm run by experienced operating professionals who understood the publishing business and could speak to clients as peers could compete with the big banks. He was proved right as Veronis Suhler & Associates led some of the most noteworthy transactions in the media industry, including the $3 billion sale of Triangle Publications to News Corp in 1988. Two years later, Veronis engineered the merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting, which were engaged in a high stakes battle in the UK market. Veronis and his business partner, John Suhler, launched a private equity fund in 1987 and the firm went on to manage over $3 billion, investing across the media landscape, including yellow pages, trade publications, and cable.
Veronis often remarked that his wife Lauren was his most valuable partner in both life and business. The two were rarely apart and loved traveling together, from jumping into the Ord River in Australia to attending the Salzburg Music Festival in Austria, along with many visits to China, India, and Africa. They also organized many family trips, including to Crete, where his parents grew up before immigrating to America in 1920. Veronis recalled that despite having limited means, he and his five siblings had a happy childhood growing up in Easton, PA. Always looking for ways to contribute, he worked after school from the age of 10 and became known throughout his community for his engaging sense of humor, particularly when a sale was involved. He put himself through Lafayette College as a day student by convincing the local bus company to let him sell ads on their buses. After college, he landed a job in New York with the Curtis Publishing Company where he rose to President.
Veronis developed a great love for opera, beginning when he listened to it on the radio as a child, and was very active with the Metropolitan Opera, where he served as an Advisory Director. He was also an avid, lifelong tennis player and enjoyed swimming in the ocean. He received honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from both Lafayette College and Franklin Pierce University. He also served on the board of governors at Technion University in Israel, and was proud to have contributed to the creation of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in Manhattan. Education was greatly important to Veronis, who established a scholarship fund at Lafayette. He was also a trustee of Carnegie Hall. In addition to his loving wife Lauren, Veronis is survived by his three children from his first marriage to Sarah Shepard; his daughter Jane Veronis, his son John James Veronis, and son Nicholas Veronis and his wife Sophie. Veronis is also survived by his stepdaughter Perri and husband Eric Ruttenberg, his stepdaughter Alexandra Peltz Gelb, and step-son Harlan Peltz. Between his six children, he is lovingly remembered by fourteen grandchildren: Madeleine, Catherine, Nicholas, Angelica, Santiago John, Anna, John James, Jacob, Noah, Ethan, Jonathan, Aaron, Jordan, and Tobias. He is also survived by his older sister, Mary Thompson, and younger brother Alexander. He is predeceased by his brothers, Peter and George, and sister Eleanor. The family requests no flowers, in lieu of which a donation may be made in his name to the Metropolitan Opera Association Education Fund, the American Technion Society, or the John J. Veronis Scholarship Fund at Lafayette College.
Note: This obituary was printed in the NYT, provided to TNH by the Family.