Mag Bag: The June Purge

The June Purge

Magazine publishers seem to feel that June is a good time for people to resign or get the axe. This week saw another round of executive exits, not all voluntary or amicable. The shakeups may point to some deeper problems in the industry; they certainly hint at boardroom dramas at individual companies.

The executive turnover began last week with the departure of CEO Susan Lyne from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. While Lyne and the company were circumspect about the reasons for her departure, industry observers had been predicting it for a year--ever since former Yahoo executive Wenda Harris Millard was hired as MSLO's president of media in June 2007.

According to one rumor, Lyne was dissatisfied with her salary and severance package; according to another, her departure was timed to free up the leadership role for Martha Stewart herself, who will be ready to take up direct management again after a five-year moratorium stemming from her conviction on a charge of misleading Federal investigators in March 2004.

Then, this week, Jack Kliger resigned as CEO of Hachette Filipacchi, making way for Alain Lemarchand. Kliger will remain with Hachette as chairman. Judging by his tenure at Lagardere Active, which owns Hachette, Lemarchand will probably be expected to streamline Hachette--a process that will include building up its digital business, but possibly also cutting staff and even closing less profitable print publications. In his previous role in 2007, Lemarchand helped cut 700 to 1,000 positions at Paris headquarters--representing about 7% to 10% of the French work force.

Also this week, it was announced the Victor F. Ganzi is stepping down as president and CEO of the Hearst Corp. due to "irreconcilable policy differences with the Board of Trustees about the future direction of the company." Hearst, a privately held corporation, did not specify where Ganzi disagreed with the directors. Hearst's consumer magazines saw moderate declines in ad pages during the first quarter of 2008, with Cosmopolitan down 4.5%, Good Housekeeping 1.7%, Esquire 8.2%, Marie Claire 5.2%, Redbook 4%, and Seventeen4.1%.

Also, this week, Mike LaFavore quit his post as editorial director at Meredith Corp., saying he was dissatisfied with the quality of life in this new, more stressful position, which he took up in October 2005, according to Mediaweek. Perhaps not coincidentally, LaFavore just finished helping management pick 120 jobs to be phased out in publishing and broadcast.

Also this week, it was revealed that Mark Jarecke, the creative director of CondeNet, is leaving. No reason was given. Jarecke began his tenure with Conde Nast in 2000 as the art director for Style.com, before being promoted to creative director of CondeNet in 2003. In that role, he helped lead the redesign of Epicurious and the creation of Men.style.com.

Alpha Media Names Stephen Duggan CFO, COO

Stephen Duggan has been named the chief financial and operation officer for Alpha Media Group, the publisher of Maxim, CEO Kent Brownridge announced this week. Duggan comes to Alpha from Publishing Group of America, which publishes newspaper-distributed magazines American Profile and Relish. In his new role at Alpha, Duggan will oversee corporate finance, legal affairs, production, international licensing, human resources, administration, and IT.

Rodale Names Tami Mohney VP, Operations

Rodale has named Tami Mohney its vice president for operations, the company announced earlier this week--an appointment effective June 23. Previously, Mohney worked for Bookspan/Yes Solutions/Bertelsmann Direct North America, most recently as vice president of customer relations.

Atlantic Names New Circulation and Marketing Directors

The Atlantic has named David Bergeman its new circulation director, and Zazie Lucke its new marketing director. Prior to joining the Atlantic, Bergeman was circulation marketing director for Western Interiors and Design; Lucke was previously integrated marketing director for Wenner Media, where she oversaw all marketing programs, partnerships, and event marketing. She also served as marketing director for The Week.

Penton Names Jean Clifton Executive VP and CFO

Penton Media has named Jean B. Clifton its executive vice president and CFO. Until March, Clifton held the title of senior vice president and CFO for the Reader's Digest Association. Since then, she has been a consultant with Platinum Strategic Partners, a media advisory service and investment company.

Singular Launches This Fall

Singular Communications is launching a new magazine, Singular, and a Web site, SingularCity.com, dedicated to the proposition that being single is an exciting, viable lifestyle. The LA-based publication and Web site will target adults over the age of 30 with household incomes in excess of $100,000.

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