BLENDED FAMILY: Meredith’s deal to purchase all of Gruner + Jahr USA’s women’s titles — Family Circle, Parents, Child, Fitness and Ser Padres — doesn’t officially close until Friday, but the two companies already have begun merging their corporate families. According to a spokesman for Meredith, 315 G+J employees received offers to join Meredith on Wednesday, which means that — for now, at least — the sales, marketing and editorial staffs of the five titles will remain virtually intact. The only major shake-ups came at Family Circle, where longtime editor in chief Susan Ungaro was replaced by acting editor in chief Linda Fears. Before the acquisition, Fears had been working on a new low-cost start-up for G+J as editor in chief of new business development. Also Wednesday, James Carr was named publisher of Family Circle, taking the place of Peg Farrell. Carr had been the publisher of Meredith’s Midwest Living. That slot will be filled by Peter Gross, who was formerly director of travel advertising for Meredith.
As for the remaining 150 or so G+J USA employees, 75 of them were offered extended employment for a period of one to six months to help with the transition of titles over to Meredith. After six months, all of those jobs will move to Des Moines, without the G+J employees. The remaining 75 or so G+J staffers received pink slips Wednesday. Jobs lost were mostly in accounting, human resources, public relations and production — back-office operations that will now be handled by Meredith’s infrastructure.
Despite the damper of partings and layoffs, Meredith held a gathering Wednesday night at the members-only Club 101 at 101 Park Avenue to welcome its 300-plus new employees. Presumably, it was as festive as any awkward meal with a new stepparent. No word on where the 75-plus who got pink slips headed to drown their sorrows.
— Sara James