SEEKING A CHIEF: Rodale remains on the hunt for a new editor in chief for Women’s Health, one of its biggest titles, following the departure of Michele Promaulayko, who will head up Yahoo Health. Promaulayko told her bosses at Rodale on Aug. 12 of her plans to leave for Yahoo two weeks later, news that sources in the company called “surprising.”
Shortly after her announcement, higher-ups at Rodale appointed Promaulayko’s protégée and Women’s Health’s co-executive editor Amy Keller Laird acting editor in chief.
This story first appeared in the August 25, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While some see Laird as a natural fit for the position, Rodale is considering other candidates, too, a source told WWD.
Another leading candidate is Meaghan Murphy, the executive editor of Hearst Magazines’ Good Housekeeping. Although Murphy just scored that job in April, sources pointed to the editor’s prior experience working at Self. Murphy, another Promaulayko protégée, worked closely with the editor at Cosmopolitan and Teen People.
If it wanted to stay within the family, Women’s Health could pull talent from one of its 25 global editions, or look to former executive editor at Rodale Books Alexandra Postman, who served as editor in chief at Whole Living. But there is one caveat: Postman just left Rodale to join Condé Nast’s Self as site director and deputy editor this month.
A more remote, yet still viable, possibility could be Self executive editor Suzanne D’Amato, who until this past spring held the same title at Time Inc.’s People StyleWatch.
Although Parents’ executive editor Chandra Turner is said to have designs on throwing her hat into the ring, sources told WWD that her hire would be unlikely.
Women’s Health could look to well-known New York Times health and wellness editor and writer Tara Parker-Pope, which would be thinking outside of the box in some respect. Or, it could turn to rival Shape, which has been without an editor in chief since Tara Kraft departed for London earlier this year to follow her fiancé. Since then, Shape has been run by its three deputy editors and its executive editor Elizabeth Goodman Artis, who, it is rumored, will finally be promoted to editor in chief shortly.
Hiring a Shape editor is “not going to happen,” an insider noted.
With Promaulayko’s departure from the magazine on Friday, sources said Rodale is at the beginning of its search. Still, the consensus is that the company won’t draw out the process too long, but whomever gets the top job will have their work cut out for them.
Promaulayko served as editor in chief for nearly six years and during her tenure, she helped the title grow in circulation. While most women’s magazines dipped in single-copy sales in the first half of the year, Women’s Health saw an uptick of 3.3 percent, to 310,768 copies, according to figures from the Alliance for Audited Media, which put Women’s Health’s total paid circulation at 1,537,140. When the editor started at the title in 2009, the magazine had better newsstand sales — 327,294 — but its total paid and verified circulation was lower, totaling 1,466,405.