SWAPPING SEATS: Another staffer is leaving Joanne Lipman right before the latest Portfolio is ready to hit newsstands. Senior writer Katrina Brooker, who joined last year from Fortune, is returning to her old stomping grounds. Brooker left Fortune in June 2006 while Eric Pooley was managing editor, but had a close relationship with Andy Serwer, Fortune’s current managing editor, and John Huey, former managing editor and now Time Inc.’s editor in chief. A Fortune spokeswoman confirmed Brooker’s return to the magazine, but details on when she will start or what her title will be are still unconfirmed.
Before joining Portfolio, Brooker worked at Fortune for eight years and was considered one of the magazine’s stars; the talented reporter even received perks such as enjoying additional time off during the summer to spend with her family. When Lipman searched for high-profile names to help launch Portfolio, Brooker was an early target.
At Portfolio, Brooker wrote a much-noted piece for the September issue on imprisoned Tyco executive Mark Swartz, and a profile in the premier issue this past spring of art dealer Marianne Boesky, the daughter of Ivan Boesky. Sources close to Portfolio said Brooker was close to former Portfolio deputy editor Jim Impoco, whom Lipman fired last month.
Meanwhile, Brooker may not be the only Portfolio staffer who Fortune is trying to court back. Sources say Portfolio senior writer Daniel Roth also has been approached by Serwer and Huey to return. Roth could not be reached for comment.
Portfolio’s third issue arrives on newsstands next week, and sources close to the magazine contend it is almost as good as the second one. However, things might not be as solid for the fourth issue of the new monthly. While one source claimed, “It’s a train wreck,” a Portfolio spokeswoman said there are plenty of stories in the works, including several potential cover options.
— Stephanie D. Smith
STAFFING UP: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has hired Vicky Lowry to work on its development project, said to be a test for a magazine for older women. Lowry left her position as features editor at Elle Decor early last month, and has since been replaced by Jennifer Bush, formerly lifestyle director at the now-defunct Child magazine. Lowry is working in conjunction with MSLO chief creative officer Gael Towey. A spokeswoman confirmed the hire and Lowry’s editorial development role, but declined to comment further.
— Irin Carmon
BACK AGAIN: Just over a year after resigning as publisher of Travel + Leisure (to, as American Express Publishing chief executive officer Ed Kelly put it at the time, “add a little more leisure to her travel”), Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio is back on the magazine publishing scene, this time as president of brands at LTB Media. She told WWD she plans to assemble a corporate team of as many as eight publishers, with the intent to facilitate group buys across the titles, particularly for nonendemic advertising. Culture & Travel’s new editor, Kate Sekules, herself an American Express Publishing veteran, reached out to Asmodeo-Giglio, who was originally going to consult.
“I had no interest in going back into media,” said Asmodeo-Giglio, who had taken time off and was consulting for some luxury hotel companies. But when she met with Louise MacBain, the controversial head of LTB Media, she changed her mind. “I fell in love with Louise’s vision,” Asmodeo-Giglio said, adding she missed the entrepreneurial spirit of her early days at Travel + Leisure. She spent 17 years at the company.
Early last month, Tim Robson, whose title by the end of a round of executive upheaval was head of corporate sales and publisher of Culture & Travel and Museums magazines, left to serve as managing director of the Fine and Decorative Arts Division at the Heritage Galleries. The October issue of Culture & Travel, with a redesigned logo, has just begun to be mailed to subscribers. Food writer Melissa Clark has been added as a contributing editor, as well as Travel + Leisure veteran Heather Smith MacIsaac. — I.C.
THE FASHIONABLE FEW: Us Weekly celebrated “the 25 most stylish New Yorkers” Monday night at Arena and, while it wasn’t a surprise to see Elle editor in chief Robbie Myers, Tracy Reese and Charlotte Ronson at the party, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s inclusion on the list raised a few eyebrows — especially since he’s admitted he’s fashion-challenged. “Is that really Bloomberg? Why is he here?” one attendee wondered.
Meanwhile, Natalie Morales, a national correspondent on the “Today” show, told WWD that she doesn’t have a stylist and always wears her own clothes. She added she hasn’t been able to make too many fashion week events, since she’s been busy planning for the new fourth hour of “Today,” which began Monday.
Dylan Lauren, wearing Ralph Lauren in black and white “for a change,” said she’s about to take on a third floor at Dylan’s Candy Bar (tentatively set to open in April). She said it will include a cafe, fondue bar and spa section. — Amy Wicks