SOURCE: Crain’s New York Business
David Carey, Hearst Magazines’ president and a former New Yorker publisher, is stepping down
David Carey, who has run Hearst Magazines since 2010, announced today that he will be retiring from his position as president in the coming months and will become chairman once his successor is named.
In an interview, Carey said he will remain chairman only through next year—while also attending school as a fellow in Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative. The six-month program prepares “experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector,” according to its website.
“We’ve had eight good years, but a job like this is demanding and not something one should do forever,” Carey said. “I decided a year ago this is what I wanted to do,” he added, referring to the Harvard program. “I just had to get admitted.”
Carey has had notable magazine-publishing successes to strengthen his application. He started out at Hearst, helping to found the business publication Smart Money, and then jumped to Condé Nast in the mid-1990s. He became publisher of The New Yorker and brought the storied title to profitability for the first time in nearly two decades. He also launched Condé Nast Portfolio, a lavish business title that had the bad timing to debut in 2007, shortly before the financial crisis.
Carey is leaving at a time of upheaval and consolidation in the once-mighty industry—some of which has benefited the publisher. In January Hearst completed its acquisition of Rodale, adding Men’s Health and Runner’s World to a stable that includes Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Good Housekeeping.
Carey also spearheaded print launches including The Pioneer Woman Magazine, in partnership with the Food Network. He said its total circulation is approaching 500,000 copies after just one year.
“It shows you the opportunities in the magazine business,” he said.
Company profits were down by “low single-digits” in 2017 after four years of earnings growth, he said, a dip he attributed to “issues largely outside the U.S.”
“He’s been instrumental in keeping Hearst in the top tier of magazine companies at a time when we saw companies like Time Inc. fading away,” said Reed Phillips, managing partner at media-investment bank Oaklins DeSilva & Phillips.
Citing his humble origins as the son of a grocery-store cashier clerk, Carey said he looked forward to “creating something that would lift outcomes” for people who haven’t been as lucky as he has been.
“I have some ideas of what I would like to do, and I’ll spend the year doing research against that and understanding the landscape of social impact,” he said.