The Venetoulis Institute Expands C-Suite With Executive Hires

October 28, 2021

Chief Marketing Officer, Head of Technology, Chief Product Officer and Head of People, Culture and Diversity to focus on mission of bringing locally owned journalism to the Baltimore region

BALTIMORE, MD (October 28, 2021) – The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, a Baltimore based nonprofit organization focused on delivering high-quality local journalism to the Baltimore metro, recently announced the appointment of four industry veterans: Chief Marketing Officer Klas Uden, Chief Product Officer Shameel Arafin, Head of Technology Earl Cokley, and Andre Jones as Head of People, Culture and Diversity. These executives, along with Chief Executive Officer Imtiaz Patel, have extensive backgrounds in marketing, platform development, people, and subscription growth, and they play a critical role in The Institute’s mission to bring locally owned journalism to the region.

Klas Uden
Earl Cockley
Shameel Arafin
Andre Jones

As Chief Marketing Officer, Klas Uden will lead marketing strategy and digital subscription growth at The Institute. Uden brings over 15 years of consumer marketing leadership, including eight years with Dow Jones where he oversaw digital subscription growth for Uden will be responsible for directing and executing strategies across all platforms, including The Baltimore Banner when it launches next year, to create connections with readers in the greater Baltimore area.

As Chief Product Officer, Shameel Arafin will lead product strategy and operations across all products and platforms. Most recently, Arafin served as Vice President of Product at Fortune Media where he oversaw editorial, conference, video, and subscription products, and launched the new verticals Fortune Connect and Fortune Education. Earlier in his career, Arafin held engineering leadership roles at Time Inc. and Meredith Corp.

As Head of Technology, Earl Cokley will lead strategy for technology platforms and manage the implementation of technology systems and processes. Cokley brings experience from Scripps Network where he led software development, business intelligence, and project management. While at, Cokley led the development of a subscription-based e-commerce platform.

As Head of People, Culture and Diversity, Andre Jones will lead workplace culture strategies with a focus on talent development and inclusive culture processes. Jones brings experience from Jellyfish where he led diversity and learning initiatives, and J.J. Haines where Jones was responsible for human resources and talent development strategies.

“Klas, Shameel, Earl, and Andre bring a wealth of experience and the expertise necessary to build the kind of diverse news organization that the Baltimore community needs and wants,” says Imtiaz Patel, CEO at The Venetoulis Institute. “We are building an organization with media and tech talent from diverse backgrounds, and we are looking for people who have a passion for our mission, and who value personal growth and a sense of community.”

The Venetoulis Institute is currently hiring for several business and newsroom positions in Baltimore. To learn more about open positions, visit


About The Venetoulis Institute: A nonprofit local news organization dedicated to strengthening, uniting, and inspiring the greater Baltimore community.

Rick Abbruzzese

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