Brownridge has already retired from the business once. In 2005, he left Wenner Media, the publisher of Rolling Stone, after 36 years with the company--but came to regret the decision. He came out of retirement last year to lead Quadrangle's acquisition of young men's mags Maxim and Blender from Dennis Publishing.Brownridge was vague about his reasons for leaving Alpha, citing age and the tiring schedule in several interviews. Also, in January, he married Alexandra Carlin, the head of publicity for Hearst, and may want to focus on his family.
In a statement, Brownridge evinced a sense of accomplishment: "I joined Alpha Media Group with the intention of assembling a world-class executive team able to build upon the company's great brands. With Stephen and Glenn now on board, we have the right team in place to accomplish those goals, and it is time for me to step back from day-to-day operations."
His decision to step down will doubtless have tongues wagging in the magazine world. The slowing economy and secular downturn in the industry has affected Alpha's titles, although not as much as some. Maxim's ad pages are down 2.9% through August, while Blender's fell 19.4%, according to the most recent figures from MIN Online.