Jim Bankoff

James Philip Bankoff is an American businessman who serves as chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Vox Media, and its predecessor SB Nation. Prior to joining SB Nation/Vox in 2011, he worked for AOL.

Jim Bankoff
Bankoff in July 2018
James Philip Bankoff
OccupationChairman and CEO of Vox Media
EmployerVox Media
Diane Elson (m. 2003)
  • Marvin Bankoff (father)
  • Adrienne Bankoff (mother)

Early life and education

James Philip Bankoff was born to Marvin and Adrienne Bankoff,[1] and raised in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.[2][3] His father owned a jewelry business and his mother worked as an editor.[3] Bankoff developed an interest in media at an early age.[4][5]

Bankoff earned his bachelor's degree in international studies from Emory University.[2] During his senior year, he interned at CNN.[6] Bankoff earned his Master of Business Administration degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania[7] and studied media proprietors like Rupert Murdoch, Steve Ross, and Ted Turner.[6]


Early in his career, Bankoff worked as a production assistant for the WETA-TV series Washington Week, and covered the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination.[5] He also worked at Ruder Finn's Global Public Affairs group,[8] where he became an account supervisor in 1991.[9] After graduating from Wharton, he declined job offers from The New York Times and The Walt Disney Company.[5]


Bankoff joined AOL in 1995, hired by Ted Leonsis.[6] He held various roles and worked on a variety of brands and products during his tenure,[5][6] including AIM (AOL Instant Messenger),[10] AOL.com,[11] AOL Music, FanHouse,[4] MapQuest, Moviefone, and Netscape.[3][7] He focused on the company's digital content business,[12] and helped the company acquire Engadget.[3][7][13] He is also a co-founder of the celebrity news website TMZ.[14][15]

Bankoff became director of business development for AOL Greenhouse in 1996.[9] He was named vice-president of strategy and operations for the AOL brand in 1998,[9] and oversaw business strategy, category management, and content acquisition. He also directed AOL Music and AOL Plus.[8] After AOL and Netscape merged, Bankoff worked to merge the two companies, and created strategic plans for Netscape. He became president of Netscape in 2001,[16] and was responsible for business operations and the growth of Netscape.com and Netbusiness.[8][17] He then served as president of AOL Web Properties,[18][19] managing various AOL brands, including AIM, CompuServe, ICQ, MapQuest, Moviefone, and Netscape.[9][20]

Bankoff held the role of executive vice-president of programming and products starting in 2002.[9][12][21] In 2006, he earned the first Emmy Award for his Achievement in Video Content for Non-traditional Delivery Platforms,[22] for serving as a co-executive producer of "Live 8 on AOL", a webcast of the 2005 Live 8 concerts.[6][14]

Bankoff left AOL in late 2006,[3][7] and began working as a consultant. Among his clients were The Huffington Post and the sports news website SB Nation, starting in 2008.[12]

SB Nation and Vox Media

After advising and serving as an angel investor for SB Nation, Bankoff led the company through its first round of financing. He became chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) in January 2009.[7][12] He expanded SB Nation's network and number of writers.[23]

SB Nation was rebranded as Vox Media in 2011.[24] Bankoff has been credited with growing the company by acquiring and launching brands.[13] In his role as chairman and CEO, Bankoff oversees the company's eight brands, including Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Racked, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge, and Vox, and other businesses.[2][25]

In 2015, Bankoff was included in Washingtonian's list of the "100 Top Tech Leaders" in Washington, D.C.,[26] and ranked number 18 on Business Insider's "Silicon Alley 100" list of the "coolest, most inspiring people in the New York tech industry".[27] He was also included in The Hollywood Reporter's list of "The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media" in 2016.[28] Bankoff is a co-executive producer of a cuisine and travel television series developed by Vox Media, called No Passport Required. The series was ordered by PBS in October 2017, and is scheduled to premiere in 2018.[29][30] In December, Bankoff ranked number 67 on Mediaite's list of the most influential figures in media during 2017.[31]

Personal life

Bankoff and Diane Elson, who founded the rug design company Elson&Company in 1998, married on April 26, 2003.[1]

Bankoff is a longtime New York Yankees fan, and has a LeRoy Neiman print depicting Thurman Munson in his office, as of 2014. The print is autographed by Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, and Willie Randolph.[3] He is also a fan of the New York Jets, the Washington Capitals, and the Washington Wizards.[32]


  1. "Weddings/Celebrations; Diane Elson, James Bankoff". The New York Times. April 27, 2003. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  2. Martin, Rachel; Levine, Cecilia (December 23, 2016). "Happy Birthday to Upper Saddle River's Jim Bankoff". Northern Highlands Daily Voice. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  3. Heath, Thomas (December 7, 2014). "As investments roll in, Vox Media's Bankoff tries to keep creativity alive". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  4. Solomon, Brian (December 6, 2012). "Meet Vox Media: The Digital Upstart That Wants to Be Conde Nast 2.0". Forbes. ISSN 0015-6914. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  5. Farhi, Paul (April 7, 2014). "Vox Media ventures into general news and news analysis with Vox.com". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  6. Krueger, Alyson (June 23, 2015). "Bankoff's Time". The Pennsylvania Gazette. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  7. Bond, Shannon (October 22, 2017). "Jim Bankoff, Vox Media CEO, on moving into TV". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  8. Barnes, Cecily (January 18, 2001). "Bankoff named Netscape president". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  9. Garrity, Brian (November 6, 2004). "AOL Is Increasingly Seen as a Launch Pad for Original Content". Billboard. 116 (45). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  10. Sloane, Garett (October 6, 2017). "Twitter Eulogizes AIM as App Sounds Death Knell". Advertising Age. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  11. "Jim Bankoff's Vox Media nears $40 million funding target". Reuters. October 15, 2013. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  12. Lincoln, Kevin (January 9, 2012). "The Raid on AOL: How Vox Pillaged Engadget and Founded an Empire". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  13. "PubTech Connect: Meet Internet Visionary Jim Bankoff, CEO of Vox Media and Keynote Speaker". Publishers Weekly. February 8, 2017. ISSN 0000-0019. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  14. Eldon, Eric (April 25, 2013). "Vox Media's Jim Bankoff to Talk the Business of High-Quality Media at Disrupt NY". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  15. Shontell, Alyson (March 13, 2014). "VOX CEO: Here's How We're Able To Get Tons Of Traffic Without Gaming Facebook". Business Insider. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  16. Pain, Steve (June 12, 2001). "E-Business: Netscape Media Hub Makeover". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror. ISSN 0963-7915. Archived from the original on August 22, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018 via HighBeam Research.
  17. "Housing Starts Fall for Year". The Washington Post. January 19, 2001. Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018 via HighBeam Research.
  18. Klein, Alec (August 22, 2001). "Netscape's New Mission; Web Pioneer Promotes Parent AOL Time Warner's Products". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 22, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018 via HighBeam Research.
  19. Pain, Steve (August 23, 2001). "AOL to axe 1,2000 after Internet ad slowdown". Birmingham Post. Archived from the original on August 22, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018 via HighBeam Research.
  20. Klein, Alec; Joyce, Amy (August 22, 2001). "AOL to Lay Off 1,700 More Workers; About 425 Jobs in Va. Affected; Internet Unit To Trim Workforce 10%". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018 via HighBeam Research.
  21. Steigrad, Alexandra (October 17, 2015). "Media People: Vox Media's Jim Bankoff". Women's Wear Daily. ISSN 0043-7581. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  22. Repstad, Laura (April 23, 2006). "'Street' leads PBS to Emmy's high road". Variety. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  23. Kramer, Staci D. (April 4, 2011). "SB Nation Wins Tech Publishing Fantasy Draft; Signs Engadget Team". Gigaom. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  24. "Consumer groups fight database lawsuit". The Washington Post. November 1, 2011. Archived from the original on August 22, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018 via HighBeam Research.
  25. Braiker, Brian (September 30, 2017). "Introducing Ad Lib, a New Podcast from Ad Age. First Up: Vox Media's Jim Bankoff". Advertising Age. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  26. Gaynor, Michael J. (May 4, 2015). "Washington's 100 Top Tech Leaders". Washingtonian. ISSN 0043-0897. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  27. Stanger, Melissa; Martin, Emmie; Kosoff, Maya (October 8, 2015). "Silicon Alley 100: 1–100". Business Insider. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  28. "The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media". The Hollywood Reporter. April 6, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  29. Jarvey, Natalie (October 21, 2017). "PBS Orders Food Series 'No Passport Required' from Vox Media". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  30. Spangler, Todd (October 31, 2017). "PBS Picks Up Marcus Samuelsson Food and Culture Docu-Series From Vox Media's Eater". Variety. ISSN 0042-2738. OCLC 810134503. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  31. "Most Influential in Media 2017". Mediaite. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  32. Dubois, Lou (August 20, 2010). "The Evolution of Sports Blog Nation". Inc. ISSN 0162-8968. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
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