When Essence was sold by Time Inc. earlier this year, it again became an independent black-owned media enterprise poised for growth. A new round of C-Suite promotions and newly created positions signals the next phase in the company’s expansion strategy post-acquisition.
Current president Michelle Ebanks has been named CEO, while and GM Joy Profet has been promoted to COO.
Ebanks has been president of Essence since 2001 and has turned the Essence Festival into one of the highest attended annual consumer events in the country, with more than 500,000 people gathering annually.
Profet, who joined Essence in 2008 as general manager, directly manages the festival and the company’s Live Events and Experiential division. She also handles strategy, financial planning and administration.
Helming two newly created roles are Moana Luu, who joins Essence as Chief Content and Creative Officer, and Darline Jean who is the company’s Chief Digital Officer.
"When Essence announced our new ownership at the beginning of this year, we declared our independence — free to evolve with the diverse and growing needs of the women we serve and to stay ahead of a rapidly changing marketplace," stated Ebanks.
Ebanks notes the company realized the expansion of the C-suite team was necessary to allow it to “meaningfully invest in the areas most critical to our future across content, creative, digital, commerce and technology." The goal is to "create a space where black women can have opportunity and see themselves at the highest levels of business.”
Luu will be responsible for a team creating and publishing content across all Essence platforms, including the magazine, website, social media, apps, experiential, video and film and television. She will also be behind a new creative vision of Essence, properly executed across all platforms, while building new opportunities for audience and revenue growth.
Jean will expand the brand’s digital offerings while promoting its identity in the marketplace. She will also build an ad tech network and data and insights strategy, and solidify Essence’s place in a mobile-first environment.
Jean will also work closely with the company’s sales and marketing divisions to mine new sources of revenue across digital revenue operations, audience development strategy and ecommerce.