To find its new president, Hearst Magazines went fishing in the talent pool of its archrival, Conde Nast -- and the catch it reeled in is a big one. David Carey, the group president in charge of Wired and Golf Digest, will succeed Cathie Black, who has been promoted for chairman after 15 years as president of Hearst's magazine arm, the company announced Monday.
At Conde Nast, Carey was widely seen as a candidate -- perhaps the leading candidate, to succeed CEO Chuck Townsend, who has held that job since 2004. Carey earned the eternal gratitude of the company's chairman, Si Newhouse, by pushing The New Yorker from loss to profitability during his tenure as its publisher. (In his most recent posting, Carey had "dotted line" responsibility for The New Yorker, meaning he oversaw it informally.)
That accomplishment convinced Newhouse to entrust Carey with the launch of Portfolio, the company's first business magazine. But that launch suffered from terrible timing and underdeveloped editorial vision, and ultimately Conde Nast shut down the project after investing three years and more than $100 million into it. (I worked at Portfolio for two years.)
Black, at 66, is nearing retirement age, although her boss, Hearst Corp. Chairman Frank Bennack Jr., is 77. In her decade-and-a-half running the magazine arm, she's had some successes, most notably the launch of O, The Oprah Magazine. (I recently looked into the backstory behind how that came to pass.) Its most recent start-up, Food Network Magazine, is also looking like a hit. But she's also had to shut down a lot of titles, among them Lifetime, CosmoGirl and Shop Etc.
Correction: This post originally included Mademoiselle among the magazines Hearst folded. It was actually published by Conde Nast.
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