HEF’S NEW PLAYMATE: Give Hugh Hefner credit for not making the same mistake twice. The Playboy founder named a new editorial director Wednesday, handing the job to executive editor Chris Napolitano. WWD reported last month that Napolitano was likely to get the nod despite an external search conducted by Howard Sloan Koller. A longtime Playboy hand, Napolitano has spent 16 years climbing the ladder there and absorbing the corporate culture. That background should come in handy. Former editorial director James Kaminsky, who came to Playboy from Maxim, had no experience up-managing Hefner, and consequently overestimated the degree of rapid change his boss would tolerate, according to insiders, leading to his being kicked upstairs in April. That won’t be an issue this time around, Napolitano said Wednesday. “My relationship with Hef is an excellent one,” he said. “Because I’ve known him for so long, there’s nothing we can’t say to each other.” Napolitano added that his immediate goals are a redesign of the magazine’s “Man Track” section (which recommends manly products to buy) and an upgrade of the fashion and lifestyle pages. — Jeff Bercovici

This story first appeared in the July 29, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.