Coles, who has served as editor in chief of Hearst’s Cosmopolitan since 2012, as well as editorial director of Seventeen, has grabbed the role of chief content officer of the company. She essentially replaced Ellen Levine, who retired from the role of editorial director last week, and remains as a consultant at parent company Hearst.
Ever so slowly, Coles has emerged as the face of Hearst Magazines, with numerous spots on TV programs such as “Morning Joe,” “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Project Runway,” where she served as a judge and mentor.
This year, the editor joined the board of Snapchat and developed two television shows, a reality show based on Cosmopolitan for E!, and a scripted series on Freeform called “Issues” about working at a magazine.
In her new job, Coles will continue to report to David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines. Michele Promaulayko has been named editor in chief of Cosmopolitan.
“Joanna is a powerhouse modern editor — she has strengthened the thought-leadership of Cosmopolitan and established deep relationships with major players in advertising, technology, entertainment and government,” Carey said. “She has a creative, curious mind and her boundless energy will be an integral part of all we do, as we forge an even closer connection between our U.S. and international media businesses.”
Coles, who started her career at Hearst 10 years ago as editor in chief of Marie Claire, will work closely with the company’s various magazine editors in the U.S. and globally. She will lead new magazine development activities, and spearhead efforts to extend Hearst brands into television, live events and other new businesses. Coles will continue to collaborate with the digital media division, which is headed up by Troy Young, and with the publishing side on the creation of new advertising products. She will also join forces with Hearst Magazines-owned digital marketing agency iCrossing on its branded content and marketing innovation initiatives, and oversee consumer research, books and the centralized team in New York supporting Hearst’s international editions, Hearst said.
“This is a truly dynamic moment for magazine media, and the opportunities are endless,” Coles said in a statement.
The editor, who is also working on a book with HarperCollins on relationships, helped develop Cosmopolitan’s annual conference, “Fun, Fearless Life,” as well as its spin-off “Fun, Fearless Money.”
Prior to Hearst, Coles worked as articles editor of New York Magazine, executive editor of More, the New York bureau chief for the Guardian and as a columnist for The Times of London.
Just after grabbing the role of editor in chief of Cosmopolitan, the outspoken, often cheeky Coles, accepted an award at the New York Women in Communications’ Matrix Awards luncheon, in which she spoke about the four stages of an editor in chief.
“Years ago someone clued me in on the four stages of every magazine editor’s career,” she said. “Those are: One: Who is Joanna Coles? Two: Get me Joanna Coles! Three: Get me the new Joanna Coles. And four: who the f–k is Joanna Coles?”
At the time, she told the audience they were witnessing the passage from stage one to stage two. Well, it appears stage two is still in full effect — for the time being, at least.