Stephen Stoneburn, the founder and chief executive officer of Quadrant Media and a former senior vice president of Fairchild Publications, the parent of WWD, died Monday at a hospital in his hometown of New York City. He was 77.
His wife, Michelle Stoneburn, said the cause of death was esophageal cancer.
Stoneburn was born in New York and graduated from New York University. He worked for Fairchild for 20 years, starting his career as a reporter before being relocated to Paris as bureau chief. He was then brought back to the company’s headquarters in New York as an SVP to oversee Daily News Record, its men’s wear publication, as well as Fairchild News Service, the then-global network of business journalists. During that time he was credited with starting Sportstyle, which focused on the sporting goods business. He was then sent back to Paris to launch W in Europe. W magazine was owned by Fairchild at that time.
His wife said he didn’t want to remain in Paris so returned to New York and joined Miller Freeman, a publisher of trade magazines. From there, he moved on to Cowles Media before creating Quadrant in 1996, according to his LinkedIn page. That company is now called Frontline Medical Communications and Stoneburn is listed as its chairman, a position he had held since 2013.
HIs wife said he was “very committed to the theater and arts,” and had lately discovered hiking, which became another passion of his, bringing him to the far reaches of the world for “adventures.” In addition, he was an avid reader and was “very smart and very engaged in life. He lived his life with both hands.” She said he was also a retired director of Prudential.
“Steve was a quietly brilliant executive and editor, with a sense of urgency and fair play,” said former WWD editor in chief Edward Nardoza. “He had an uncanny eye for talent and style and empowered his staffers to follow their instincts, whatever the story, whatever the controversy.”
“He was a great executive, especially for the journalists in his charge: demanding, creative and fair-minded.”
In addition to his wife of 27 years, Stoneburn is survived by a stepdaughter, Lauren Silver. A private service is planned and there are no plans for a public memorial, according to Michelle Stoneburn.